While Obama might claim success early on, given the vague mission of protecting civilians, we should not be fooled into thinking that an ongoing civil war represents a victory for American arms.Indeed, a prolonged stalemate would be a disaster. Wounded, vengeful, but undefeated, Qaddafi would pose a greater danger than ever. He could resume his practice of terrorist attacks on Western targets, working perhaps through jihadi elements such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, hundreds of whose members he has released from prison.
A protracted civil war in Libya could have effects beyond its borders. It could lead competing outside powers -- France, Turkey, or even China -- to back different Libyan factions. U.S. forces and resources would be tied down even as the United States seeks to wind down in Iraq and defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. On the other hand, a premature exit would undermine American credibility in a region that already doubts Obama's steadfastness. Just as the administration's mishandling of last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico revealed its ineptitude in domestic matters, its mismanagement of the Libya intervention may become emblematic of its haplessness in foreign affairs.
The Obama administration's most glaring mistake in its approach to Libya is the central weight it has given to the United Nations. Hanging America's hat on U.N. approval has caused a mismatch between Obama's stated policy goal -- that Qaddafi must "go" -- and the limited means provided by U.N. approval for economic sanctions and civilian protections. Even at this early stage of the conflict, Obama's policy has created a large gap between U.S. strategic ends and U.N.-authorized means
The one positive in all this? If Libya at least brings about a rude awakening for the Obama administration on the follies of multilateralism and leads to the emergence of a new international security system, it will have done far more good than simply dragging the United States into a civil war.
March 30, 2011
this article—it is high time to replace the U.N. Charter (and its obsolete procedures), in whose eyes North Korea, the most brutal totalitarian government in the world, is the equal of the United States, which has done more than any country in the postwar period to protect freedom and democracy, with international rules that encourage countries to end human rights abuses, fix failed states, and oppose rogue nations and terrorist groups, etc. But it’s worth reading anyway, in my opinion. In any case just let me know and we’ll fix it…
|Photo courtesy of radiovaticana.org|
|Photo courtesy of cathnewsusa.com|
With the promotion of the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” Benedict XVI created “a new starting point for dialogue between believers and nonbelievers,” the Vatican spokesman said. And I think we can believe him. So here are a couple of reading suggestions for those who want to learn more about the whole thing:
- The full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s video message to participants at the meeting.
- An initial assessment of the initiative, on the part of Cardinal Ravasi, and a conversation with a French intellectual of Bulgarian origin, Julia Kristeva, who has been one of the most dedicated participants in the meeting. Both of the interviews were published in Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Episcopal conference.
And here is a video introduction to the initiative from Rome Reports:
~ First written for The Metaphysical Peregrine ~