Author Topic: US Foreign Policy & Geopolitics  (Read 404010 times)


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #100 on: March 06, 2011, 07:16:15 PM »
"Given the Natural Rights basis for our Constitution, how do we articulate that in a way that can fly on the international stage, especially viz the Muslim world?"

"The concept of natural rights is utterly incompatible with islamic theology."

How you win that argument in the Middle East is what they call above my pay grade, what I am saying is that, win or lose, you start making that argument, like Williams did, clearly, loudly and consistently - to everyone that will listen.

If the leader of the free world believed in the American principles - it would start there.  It should come from the Vice President too, it should come from the Secretary of State.  It should come in a Cairo-2 speech and it should come from the leader of the opposition party in the United States / next President of the United States - whoever wants to step forward and take on that role.  It should come from the General Secretary of the United Nations and from every member of the Security Council.  Communist China like Obama may have a problem with hypocrisy, but give it a try - let's proclaim some principles larger than the false choice of mob-rule or dictatorship.

Crafty wrote 'natural rights' rather than God-given rights. Call them common sense or human rights if we want, we don't need to know or agree on the origin (IMO). Use logic for persuasion.  Freedom to be Muslim inside your being and to associate with like minded and to not have to hide your beliefs comes from the same freedom of religion that an atheist, a Jew and a Christian also need to be free. Either you have that freedom or you don't. You don't take a majority vote religion and then force what can't be forced on all, you allow it's free expression in all its forms - universally, in order to secure your own.   Someone should make these arguments, we used to call that role 'leader of the free world' - cf. "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!"

I wrote previously about Egypt that we had a team that helped draft a constitution in other difficult places, Iraq and in Afghanistan, with some success and I'm sure some failure and some lessons learned.  We could be offering expertise to all sides behind scenes while laying out the broad principles publicly.

Maybe we lose these argument and all hell breaks loose.  That is different than not trying. 


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Economic Warfare
« Reply #101 on: March 07, 2011, 06:32:17 AM »


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History being rewritten on "Bush doctrine"
« Reply #102 on: March 08, 2011, 11:46:33 AM »
Will history look back at W as being a foreign policy giant??

"A strange moral inversion, considering that Hussein's evil was an order of magnitude beyond Gaddafi's."

Exactly! It wasn't about morality it was about politics.

***From Baghdad to Benghazi

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, March 4, 2011

Voices around the world, from Europe to America to Libya, are calling for U.S. intervention to help bring down Moammar Gaddafi. Yet for bringing down Saddam Hussein, the United States has been denounced variously for aggression, deception, arrogance and imperialism.

From Baghdad to Benghazi

A strange moral inversion, considering that Hussein's evil was an order of magnitude beyond Gaddafi's. Gaddafi is a capricious killer; Hussein was systematic. Gaddafi was too unstable and crazy to begin to match the Baathist apparatus: a comprehensive national system of terror, torture and mass murder, gassing entire villages to create what author Kanan Makiya called a "Republic of Fear."

Moreover, that systemized brutality made Hussein immovable in a way that Gaddafi is not. Barely armed Libyans have already seized half the country on their own. Yet in Iraq, there was no chance of putting an end to the regime without the terrible swift sword (it took all of three weeks) of the United States.

No matter the hypocritical double standard. Now that revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and everyone is a convert to George W. Bush's freedom agenda, it's not just Iraq that has slid into the memory hole. Also forgotten is the once proudly proclaimed "realism" of Years One and Two of President Obama's foreign policy - the "smart power" antidote to Bush's alleged misty-eyed idealism.

It began on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first Asia trip, when she publicly played down human rights concerns in China. The administration also cut aid for democracy promotion in Egypt by 50 percent. And cut civil society funds - money for precisely the organizations we now need to help Egyptian democracy - by 70 percent.

This new realism reached its apogee with Obama's reticence and tardiness in saying anything in support of the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran. On the contrary, Obama made clear that nuclear negotiations with the discredited and murderous regime (talks that a child could see would go nowhere) took precedence over the democratic revolutionaries in the street - to the point where demonstrators in Tehran chanted, "Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them."

Now that revolution has spread from Tunisia to Oman, however, the administration is rushing to keep up with the new dispensation, repeating the fundamental tenet of the Bush Doctrine that Arabs are no exception to the universal thirst for dignity and freedom.

Iraq, of course, required a sustained U.S. military engagement to push back totalitarian forces trying to extinguish the new Iraq. But is this not what we are being asked to do with a no-fly zone over Libya? In conditions of active civil war, taking command of Libyan airspace requires a sustained military engagement.

Now, it can be argued that the price in blood and treasure that America paid to establish Iraq's democracy was too high. But whatever side you take on that question, what's unmistakable is that to the Middle Easterner, Iraq today is the only functioning Arab democracy, with multiparty elections and the freest press. Its democracy is fragile and imperfect - last week, security forces cracked down on demonstrators demanding better services - but were Egypt to be as politically developed in, say, a year as is Iraq today, we would think it a great success.

For Libyans, the effect of the Iraq war is even more concrete. However much bloodshed they face, they have been spared the threat of genocide. Gaddafi was so terrified by what we did to Saddam & Sons that he plea-bargained away his weapons of mass destruction. For a rebel in Benghazi, that is no small matter.

Yet we have been told incessantly how Iraq poisoned the Arab mind against America. Really? Where is the rampant anti-Americanism in any of these revolutions? In fact, notes Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, the United States has been "conspicuously absent from the sloganeering."

It's Yemen's president and the delusional Gaddafi who are railing against American conspiracies to rule and enslave. The demonstrators in the streets of Egypt, Iran and Libya have been straining their eyes for America to help. They are not chanting the antiwar slogans - remember "No blood for oil"? - of the American left. Why would they? America is leaving Iraq having taken no oil, having established no permanent bases, having left behind not a puppet regime but a functioning democracy. This, after Iraq's purple-fingered exercises in free elections seen on television everywhere set an example for the entire region.

Facebook and Twitter have surely mediated this pan-Arab (and Iranian) reach for dignity and freedom. But the Bush Doctrine set the premise.


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Two from the WSJ: Who are these people?
« Reply #103 on: March 09, 2011, 07:24:46 PM »
"America is always talking about democracy and we want democracy to come to Bahrain. . . . We want them to practice what they preach, that's all."

–Mohammed Ansari, Bahraini

Sometimes it's a heavy load, being America.

And it won't stop unless some day the United States finds a reason to unburden itself of the heavy lift posed by the world's aspiring peoples. With the Middle East protests, we may be there.

Less than a week into the massive Cairo street demonstrations, a prominent U.S. foreign policy expert pushed back against supporting them: "No one really knows a great deal about the protesters."

When all at once the people of Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Algeria and even Iran (a Feb. 20 protest by tens of thousands was barely noticed) summoned the courage to take to the streets for greater freedom, the U.S. foreign-policy establishment seemed like stunned deer staring into the incandescent images on television and wondering, Who are these people?

The U.S. needs to produce more than rhetoric on behalf of 10 active democracy protests in the Middle East.

Writing on behalf of de minimis support for the Libyans in these pages Tuesday, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said: "It is one thing to acknowledge Moammar Gadhafi as a ruthless despot, which he has demonstrated himself to be. But doing so does not establish the democratic bona fides of those who oppose him." A little digging surely would find something similar said in 1770 about the Massachusetts rabble.

The we-have-no-clue-who-they-are excuse is utterly lame. Scholars at places like the American Enterprise Institute, the Carnegie Middle East Center and elsewhere have been writing in detail for years about these people, pleading with the policy establishment to recognize how volatile the "stability" status quo had become.

It's clear, however, from the tortured, unfocused U.S. reaction to these events that policy toward these nations below the level of kings had become a second-level priority. How did so many people become an afterthought?

The reason, in a phrase, is the Arab-Israeli peace process. It sucked the oxygen out of thinking about the Middle East. With every secretary of state dutifully saddling up to solve the endless riddle, the "peace process" reduced everything and everyone in the region to spear-carriers for this obsession. The populations of unemployed youth building and festering across the region became an inconsequential blur, an Arab lumpenproletariat. "We don't know who they are." And whoever they were had to wait until some U.S. president harvested another Nobel Prize by "solving" the Palestinian problem.

Well, they didn't wait. They exploded in January 2011.

None of this is to gainsay the interests of the world economy in the region. But America's leaders should not let that become an excuse to forget who they are and where they came from. Soviet-era dissidents have said and written that among the things that sustained them was that their heads were filled with the ideas drawn from America's freedoms.

What a mess the Founding Fathers and Continental Army made for the grinders at the State Department, this week producing exquisite calibrations of America's interests. We now read in news analyses and opinion columns long lists of reasons why helping the Libyan rebels would backfire. What this means is that U.S. intervention won't come until, as in Srebrenica or Kosovo, Gadhafi's killings escalate from mere slaughter to mass murder. Europe acquiesced in the Balkan genocide, but the U.S. could not, an important distinction of global status.
What is happening here is not just another crisis to work through the bureaucracies until the storm passes. The stakes for the U.S. in how these uprisings are resolved extend beyond the Middle East. They've put on the table the core arguments the U.S. will need to mount in its defense against the competitive challenge of China's market authoritarianism. If U.S. timidity is seen as U.S. acquiescence to a system of "reformed" Middle East autocracies, the debate between the American and Chinese models is over. The world's people will see, rightly, that the Chinese are winning the argument, and the U.S. will spend the next 50 years watching other nations back away from its system.

"Defining moment" may be an overworked phrase, but this one qualifies. With these protests, the trains of history have left the station. The U.S. needs to issue a more public, unequivocal statement of support for authentic representative government. And find an active policy to go with it.

Only a U.S. president can lead this fight. But he has to (truly) believe in it. There is a school of thought, popular around the Obama foreign-policy team, that the world would be better off without the myth of American exceptionalism and burdens like these that come with it. If this government can't summon more than rhetoric or a U.N. resolution on behalf of 10 up-and-running democratic movements in the Middle East, that exceptionalism will wither. I'm guessing the world won't be better for it.


America's response to the Libyan crisis is stuck in repeat mode. The Obama Administration keeps insisting that a "full spectrum of possible responses" are in play to stop Moammar Gadhafi's war on his people. And in virtually the next breath, it rules out one credible option after another.

An egregious example concerns the possible supply of military assistance to Libyan rebels. White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that "providing weapons" to the opposition was among a "range of options." The next day State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley shot this option down.

"It would be illegal for the United States to do that," Mr. Crowley said, citing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970, which sanctions the Gadhafi regime and only passed with U.S. support on February 26. "It's quite simple. In [the resolution] there is an arms embargo that affects Libya, which means it's a violation for any country to provide arms to anyone in Libya."

One question is how the State Department allowed such a resolution to pass in the first place. President Obama has said he wants Gadhafi to leave, yet his own diplomats negotiate and approve a U.N. embargo that reduces his options in achieving that goal. Why are we still paying Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in particular should understand that arms embargoes always benefit the better armed side in a conflict. This had terrible consequences in Bosnia during her husband's Presidency in the 1990s, when the Muslims couldn't fight back against Serb militias stocked with weapons from Belgrade. Likewise in Libya, opposition forces seem to be outgunned on the ground and vulnerable from the air. Multiple air strikes were reported yesterday in Ras Lanuf, an oil port in eastern Libya, and Gadhafi's tanks have been leveling the western city of Zawiya.

Security Council resolutions are open to interpretation, so it's also revealing that Mrs. Clinton's spokesman chose to accept an especially broad reading of the Libyan embargo. The relevant paragraph of Resolution 1970 bans "the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libya Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals . . . of aircraft, arms and related material of all types." The resolution also forbids "technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance, related to military activities."

By Mr. Crowley's reading, the resolution covers any military support whatsoever by America or anyone else to the forces of the provisional opposition council set up in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi. In other words, America's hands are tied by the U.N.

But another reasonable reading would distinguish between the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, another name for the Gadhafi regime, and the territory of Libya. The rebels don't recognize the regime. Nor does the U.S. now that it has called for Gadhafi to leave power. The resolution doesn't explicitly say the "territory of Libya." This would leave the door open for Washington and its allies to supply the opposition with arms and still abide by the letter of the Security Council.

The next paragraph of Resolution 1970 offers another out for the U.S. It permits "supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, and related technical assistance or training." Protection can be defined in various ways to cover the needs of the rebel forces and the civilian population.

We don't think the U.S. should ever let the U.N. control its actions, but we suggest these loopholes because the Obama Administration puts so much stock in the U.N.'s legal imprimatur. The White House may finally have retained some new lawyers, because yesterday Mr. Carney tried to split the difference with State: "We believe that the arms embargo contains within it the flexibility to allow for a decision to arm the opposition, if that decision were made."

Once the lawyers have been satisfied, maybe the Administration will even make a decision.


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MaureenDowd:enough is enough
« Reply #104 on: March 16, 2011, 12:04:37 PM »
In Search of Monsters
Published: March 12, 2011
The Iraq war hawks urging intervention in Libya are confident that there’s no way Libya could ever be another Iraq.

Of course, they never thought Iraq would be Iraq, either.

All President Obama needs to do, Paul Wolfowitz asserts, is man up, arm the Libyan rebels, support setting up a no-fly zone and wait for instant democracy.

It’s a cakewalk.

Didn’t we arm the rebels in Afghanistan in the ’80s? And didn’t many become Taliban and end up turning our own weapons on us? And didn’t one mujahadeen from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden, go on to lead Al Qaeda?

So that worked out well.

Even now, with our deficit and military groaning from two wars in Muslim countries, interventionists on the left and the right insist it’s our duty to join the battle in a third Muslim country.

“It is both morally right and in America’s strategic interest to enable the Libyans to fight for themselves,” Wolfowitz wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.

You would think that a major architect of the disastrous wars and interminable occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq would have the good manners to shut up and take up horticulture. But the neo-con naif has no shame.

After all, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates told West Point cadets last month, “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”

Gates boldly batted back the Cakewalk Brigade — which includes John McCain, Joe Lieberman and John Kerry — bluntly telling Congress last week: “Let’s just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. That’s the way you do a no-fly zone. And then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that’s the way it starts.”

Wolfowitz, Rummy’s No. 2 in W.’s War Department, pushed to divert attention from Afghanistan and move on to Iraq; he pressed the canards that Saddam and Osama were linked and that we were in danger from Saddam’s phantom W.M.D.s; he promised that the Iraq invasion would end quickly and gleefully; he slapped back Gen. Eric Shinseki when he said securing Iraq would require several hundred thousand troops; and he claimed that rebuilding Iraq would be paid for with Iraqi oil revenues.

How wrong, deceptive and deadly can you be and still get to lecture President Obama on his moral obligations?

Wolfowitz was driven to invade Iraq and proselytize for the Libyan rebels partly because of his guilt over how the Bush I administration coldly deserted the Shiites and Kurds who were urged to rise up against Saddam at the end of the 1991 gulf war. Saddam sent out helicopters to slaughter thousands. (A NATO no-fly zone did not stop that.)

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is also monstrous, slaughtering civilians and hiring mercenaries to kill rebels.

It’s hard to know how to proceed, but in his rush, Wolfowitz never even seems to have a good understanding of the tribal thickets he wants America to wade into. In Foreign Affairs, Frederic Wehrey notes that “for four decades Libya has been largely terra incognita ... ‘like throwing darts at balloons in a dark room,’ as one senior Western diplomat put it to me.”

Leslie Gelb warns in The Daily Beast that no doubt some rebels are noble fighters, but some “could turn out to be thugs, thieves, and would-be new dictators. Surely, some will be Islamic extremists. One or more might turn into another Col. Qaddafi after gaining power. Indeed, when the good colonel led the Libyan coup in 1969, many right-thinking Westerners thought him to be a modernizing democrat.”

Reformed interventionist David Rieff, who wrote the book “At the Point of a Gun,” which criticizes “the messianic dream of remaking the world in either the image of American democracy or of the legal utopias of international human rights law,” told me that after Iraq: “America doesn’t have the credibility to make war in the Arab world. Our touch in this is actually counterproductive.”

He continued: “Qaddafi is a terrible man, but I don’t think it’s the business of the United States to overthrow him. Those who want America to support democratic movements and insurrections by force if necessary wherever there’s a chance of them succeeding are committing the United States to endless wars of altruism. And that’s folly.”

He quotes John Quincy Adams about America: “Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy ... she is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

As for Wolfowitz, Rieff notes drily, “He should have stayed a mathematician.”


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #105 on: March 16, 2011, 12:10:14 PM »
Just as there are long term, potentially negative consequences for acting, there can be the same for failing to act. Power vacuums never go unfilled.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #106 on: March 16, 2011, 03:25:28 PM »
NFZ is/was? but one option.  Simply supplying food, water, ammo? is/was? another-- the larger point is whether the US would help or not against a nasty dictator when the people were genuinely rising up. 

Answering that question needs to be seen in the background context of the US's geo-political situation in the mid-east and the war with Islamic Fascism. 

If we do not stand for democracy, freedom, and "the people" against a murderous thug like Kaddaffy (who has murdered hundreds of our people by the way- think Lockerbie and other attacks) what meaning then for an Arab world deciding whether to see the struggle as Islam vs the Infidels or Civilization vs. Barbarism?

Anyway, it looks like Baraq has answered that question.  I suspect we (and the civilized world) are going to profoundly regret the trajectory of his approach to Iraq, Afpakia, Israel, Iran, Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #107 on: March 16, 2011, 03:30:36 PM »
Yup. I'm sure the left and MSM will insist it's all Bush's fault.


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“Where are the Americans?”A tale of two tsunamis
« Reply #108 on: March 17, 2011, 07:11:43 AM »

“Where are the Americans?”A tale of two tsunamis
March 17, 2011 - 4:49 am - by Roger Kimball

On December 26, 2004, an undersea megathrust earthquake precipitated one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it was the third largest quake ever recorded. The resulting tsunamis, moving walls of water up to 100 feet high, slammed ashore in some 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean killing some 230,000 people. By December 29, President George W. Bush had outlined a huge relief effort.  He said it was an “international coalition,” but the vital center of the coalition was the United States Navy.

    “The U.S. military responded quickly, sending ships, planes, and relief supplies to the region.  Coordinated by Joint Task Force 536, established at Utapao, Thailand, the Navy and the Marine Corps shifted assets from the Navy’s Pacific Command within days.  The rapid response once again illustrated the flexibility of naval forces when forward deployed.

    The Navy deployed four Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 P-3 Orion patrol aircraft from Kadena, Japan, to Utapao to fly reconnaissance flights in the region and five VP-8 P-3s began flying missions out of Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory.  The Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group [including Shoup (DDG 86), Shiloh (CG 67), Benfold (DDG 65) and USNS Ranier (T AOE 7)] and the Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group [including Duluth (LPD 6), Milius (DDG 69), Rushmore (LSD 47), Thach (FFG 43), Pasadena (SSN 752) and USCG Munro (WHEC 724)] steamed to Indonesia from the Pacific Ocean.  Marine Corps disaster relief assessment teams from Okinawa, Japan, flew in to Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and were later joined by U.S. Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Units from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Lastly, a total of eleven ships under the Military Sealift Command (MSC) proceeded to the region from Guam and Diego Garcia.”

At the U.N., meanwhile, Kofi Annan interrupted his holiday to go to New York where he held a “media availability” on the crisis. Annan, who frequently registered his “horror” and sadness at the event, appealed to the “international community” for aid. Annan talked.  The United States Navy said little but carried out scores of rescue operations and aid deliveries.

On March 11, 2010, an undersea megathrust earthquake  erupted off the East coast of Tohoku, Japan. With a magnitude of about 9, it was the worst earthquake ever to hit Japan. It triggered a tsunami some 30 feet high which devastated coastal areas. As of this writing,  10,000 are reported dead (some reports estimate the final figure will climb to 100,000) and 500,000 have been displaced. Property damage is enormous. The disaster severely damaged several nuclear power stations in the prefecture of Fukushima. To date, engineers have been only partially successful in cooling the nuclear fuel and containing radiation. Within hours of the disaster, President Barack Hussein Obama . . .  went golfing. Later, he had dinner with admirers from the liberal media.  The next day, he outlined his predictions about who would win this year’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

At Powerline, John Hinderaker, citing a story from the Daily Mail, quotes an associate professor at Chiba University:

    “I think the death toll is going to be closer to 100,000 than 10,000. Where is the sense of urgency? We need somebody to take charge. We’ve had an earthquake followed by fire, then a tsunami, then radiation, and now snow. It’s everything. There is nothing left. The world needs to step in. Where are the Americans? The Japanese are too proud to ask, but we need help and we need it now.”

“Where the Americans?” That’s the sixty-four-dollar question. Chaos in Egypt: “Where are the Americans?” Gadaffi in Libya: “Where are the Americans?” Devastation in Japan: “Where are the Americans?” I am in London for a few days. At a dinner party last night, that was once again the question: “Where are the Americans?” On Tuesday, U.S. debt jumped $72 billion — in one day. What are the Americans doing about it? President Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury insisted that Congress raise the debt limit so that the government could borrow more. “Where are the Americans?” President Obama has managed the impossible-seeming feat of making a President of France appear as decisive and effective.  Nicolas Sarkozy was the first Western leader to recognize the Libyan opposition. “Where are the Americans?”

Many months ago, I wondered in the space whether Obama’s behavior betoken incompetence or malevolence (noting, however, that the “or” need not be exclusive: he might e both incompetent and malevolent). On the domestic front, Obama’s activity is marked by arrogance, self-absorption, and policies that increase the power of government at the expense of local or individual initiative. In foreign affairs, his behavior is marked by contempt for America and moral paralysis  —

“Weakness, incoherence, drift, indecision,” observes John Hinderaker, are “the hallmarks of the Obama administration.” The community organizer and junior Senator is simply out of his depth.

Obama had not been in office long before comparisons with Jimmy “misery index” Carter began cropping up. We now know that a reprise of that disastrous administration would be, as Glenn Reynolds has frequently observed, the best-case scenario. “Where are the Americans?” Conrad Black had the best analogy: looking for Obama is like the children’s game “Where’s Waldo?”  The difference is that when your little one actually finds the dopey-looking fellow with the striped shirt, spectacles, and sock-like hat, he’s won the game. The philosopher Rudolph Canap used to make fun of Heidegger for treating the word “nothing” as a transitive verb: “das Nichts nichtet,”  “nothing noths,” he was fond of saying “nothing,” that is to say , begets vacancy.  Carnap thought it was nonsense.  Barack Obama shows that it is brute political reality.  Barack Obama: President Nothing.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #109 on: March 18, 2011, 10:18:37 AM »
"Just as there are long term, potentially negative consequences for acting, there can be the same for failing to act. Power vacuums never go unfilled."

Well, that is the problem.  Khaddafi, Qaddafi, Gaddafi, or however it is spelled, leaves and what replaces him?

Again we have a vaccuum and the US is in the middle.  I don't know.  I tend to agree with those who feel we have enough on our plate.  On this point I agree with Gates.

Or just kill the Ghaddafi and get it over with.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #110 on: March 18, 2011, 10:25:00 AM »
Or just kill the Ghaddafi and get it over with.



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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #111 on: March 18, 2011, 11:39:10 AM »
CCP: "Or just kill the Ghaddafi and get it over with."
GM: "Bingo!"

There was a nice, longer explanation by GM recently to ya about how we don't just do the hit and run, scorched earth type of hit.  True, that was the thinking behind Iraq and Afghanistan.  It started with or was articulated by Powell.  If we break it, we have to fix it.  But IraQ and Afghanistan were certainly already broken.  I believe we had a right to act with either a hit and run or the full 10 years and running plan.

With Ghadafy, no one seemed to question Reagan much for an attempted assassination of a foreign leader - who executed the Lockerbie mass murder.  We missed and still accomplished the mission - scaring the #*@& out of him.  From my point of view, if we are right in our information, that these people like Saddam, Moammar are murderous thugs, it is okay with me to take them out without full followup.  The concept in law and morality is that innocent people are facing imminent death, a concept with equal standing to self defense, if I understand correctly. 

Regarding no-fly zone, I believe it was presumed candidate of no substance Palin who called for exactly that on Feb. 23, how many innocent deaths ago?


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #112 on: March 18, 2011, 12:48:33 PM »
I don't think there is anyone that wants us to buy into going neck deep into Libya, but there is plenty reason to whack Ka-daffy. He's earned an airstrike.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #113 on: March 18, 2011, 01:40:19 PM »
"no one seemed to question Reagan much for an attempted assassination of a foreign leader"

Good point.  Except for some hypocrite-Hollywood types I believe the sense was Reagan finally did the common sense thing.

I don't recall people sitting around ringing their hands wondering who would have replaced him if the attempt had succeeded.

We have a murderer slaughtering his own people.  If the "Colonel" (why not "general" or "admiral" anyway?) and his son got executed their regime would collapse.

Could it actually be any worse?


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #114 on: March 18, 2011, 01:45:19 PM »
Well, it could always be worse, but I'm willing to take the risk.


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WSJ: War by Committee
« Reply #115 on: March 21, 2011, 10:46:28 AM »

America's founders gave the powers of Commander in Chief to the President because they knew that war had to be prosecuted with determination, discipline and the national interest foremost in mind. By marked contrast, the use of force against Libya looks like the first war by global committee, with all the limitations and greater risk that entails.

We support the military action, even if it is much belated, and the good news is that the first allied salvos from the air seem to have achieved initial success. They have knocked Gadhafi's air force out of the battle and stopped his ground forces from advancing further into the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Allied planes have also hit Gadhafi's armor and troop columns, which ought to give his mercenaries in particular reason to ask if the pay is worth the risk.

But the war's early prosecution also raises concern about its leadership, its limited means and strategic goals. On none of these have coalition members been clear or unified, starting with President Obama.

It isn't even clear who is commanding operation Odyssey Dawn. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, wasn't able to provide a clear answer as he worked the Sunday news circuit. Mr. Obama said on Saturday the U.S. will "contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission"—presumably B-2 bombers and command and control—but he added that the no-fly zone "will be led by our international partners."

Will that be the French, who said yesterday they have a handful of planes flying over Libya? It won't be the Qatar air force, which is chipping in four fighters. It isn't even clear whether the NATO commander will be allowed to lead the mission, though the military alliance is equipped for precisely this kind of effort. The danger here is that if no one is in charge, then no one is accountable for success or failure.

It also isn't clear what the military and strategic goal of this operation really is. Reuters quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying on Friday that the goal was "Number one: Stop the violence, and number two: We do believe that a final result of any negotiations would have to be the decision by Colonel Gadhafi to leave."

Yet President Obama offered only the first aim in his statements on Friday and Saturday: "We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal—specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya." He even suggested that if Gadhafi honors the U.N. demand for a cease fire, then the allies would stop fighting short of ousting him from Tripoli. On Sunday French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe explicitly rejected the goal of ousting Gadhafi.

Gadhafi is weak enough, and Libya is a puny enough military power, that even a limited use of force might lead to his ouster. Perhaps the officers around him will mutiny, though they would also have to defeat the Gadhafi sons who control their own mercenary bands and could be prosecuted for war crimes if they leave Libya.

Certainly Gadhafi showed no sign of retreat Sunday, promising "a long war" and revenge against the U.S., France and the United Kingdom. He already knows, thanks to the limits of U.N. resolution 1973, that he needn't fear any foreign troops parachuting into Tripoli. He received further encouragement from Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who only a day into the allied bombing denounced civilian casualties and claimed this wasn't the kind of no-fly zone the Arabs had in mind. Mr. Moussa is running to be president of Egypt, but U.S. military action should never be hostage to such a fair-weather ally.

The danger for the region, and U.S. interests, will be if Gadhafi can exploit divisions on the global war committee and achieve a military stalemate. He could then remain in control of a rump part of Libya and still create mayhem.

Even Admiral Mullen conceded that the war could end in a stalemate with Gadhafi staying in power. "Certainly, I recognize that's a possibility," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "It's hard to know exactly how this turns out." When America's top uniformed officer says he doesn't know what the goal of a military engagement is, you know he's not getting clear direction from political figures in the U.S., or the global committee, or whoever is really in charge.

Mr. Obama's own chief terrorism adviser, John Brennan, warned late last week that Gadhafi "has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature," including the possible use of his stockpiles of mustard gas. If Gadhafi poses such a threat, as we agree he does, then it is essential that this war end with a new government in Tripoli.

That means not agreeing to a premature cease fire that treats the opposition as no different from Gadhafi's troops. It means aiding the rebels—with intelligence and other arms in addition to air cover—to rout Gadhafi's forces. At the very least, the U.S. ought to recognize the National Council in Benghazi as a provisional Libyan government, which will enhance its international standing and ability to arm itself. We also see nothing in U.N. Resolution 1973 that would bar the U.S. from assisting the rebels with advisers as we helped Afghans topple the Taliban in 2001.

The other problem with war by global committee is that it diminishes the role of the U.S. Congress. As he ran for President in 2008, Mr. Obama made much of his opposition, in contrast to Mrs. Clinton, to the 2002 Iraq war resolution in Congress. Yet so far regarding Libya he has been far more solicitous of the U.N., the Europeans and the Arab League than he has of domestic political consent.

We believe that, as Commander in Chief, Mr. Obama has the authority under the Constitution to order U.S. forces to act as he has in Libya. But as a simple prudential matter, a U.S. President needs to respect and bring along Congressional leaders in support of such action. All the more because members of his own party will be the first to revolt if a stalemate ensues or the TV pictures get ugly. Republicans tend to defer on principle to Presidential war decisions, but Mr. Obama also cannot afford to take them for granted.

The worst offense a Commander in Chief can make is to commit U.S. military force and the credibility that goes with it in half-hearted fashion. Now that he's taken the U.S. to war against Libya, Mr. Obama needs to make American interests his main priority, and that means ensuring that the result includes a rapid end to the long, brutal rule of Moammar Gadhafi.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #116 on: March 21, 2011, 10:54:46 AM »
If I'm Ka-daffy, I just play possum, suspend overt offensives while playing the arab/global media with innocent victim of western imperialism stories. Wait for the west to get tired and leave.


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Here is why Ka-daffy can wait us out
« Reply #117 on: March 21, 2011, 11:44:51 AM »

(Reuters) - Britain's military is capable of taking part in a swift campaign against Libya, but prolonged fighting could stretch its armed forces and raise pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to rethink deep defence cuts.

Despite its role in Afghanistan and severe financial pressures, senior British ministers and military chiefs say they can comfortably help to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya.

However, if the operation grows or drags on for months, it could strain areas such as the support crews that arm and refuel planes and perform airborne reconnaissance.

Britain's involvement in the first stage of the strikes against Libya appeared to be relatively limited, with planes flying from one UK airbase and one submarine firing Tomahawk missiles, analysts noted.

France eyes five billion euro defence cuts
14 June 2010, 13:05 CET

(PARIS) - France will trim about five billion euros (6.1 billion dollars) from its defence budget, Defence Minister Herve Morin said Monday.

The defence budget cuts over the next three years are part of overall belt-tightening measures in the wake of the Greek debt crisis.


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Re: Here is why Ka-daffy can wait us out
« Reply #118 on: March 21, 2011, 12:02:49 PM »
Look out Ka-daffy, France is sending this:


A little background on France's only aircraft carrier:

French aircraft carrier set to defend Britain breaks down
The flagship French aircraft carrier which is set to play a key role in defending Britain over the next decade has broken down.
French fighter jets could be stationed on Britain's new aircraft carrier as the two nations' navies become
French Rafale fighters prepare for take-off on the deck of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier Photo: AFP
By Peter Allen in Paris 7:00AM GMT 31 Oct 2010

As President Nicolas Sarkozy prepares to use a historic London summit to announce the use of RAF jets off the Charles de Gaulle, his naval chiefs have told him she is no longer seaworthy.

"She's meant to be heading to Afghanistan to support the war there but is instead in home port with a faulty propulsion system," said a French Navy source.

"This is a carrier which is meant to be defending not only France but also Britain over the next decade. As far as the London summit is concerned, her breaking down could not come at a worse time."

Following Britain's strategic defence review last week, it looks certain that the UK and France will each have just one operational aircraft carrier each towards the end of the decade.

But Britain will have to rely solely on the Charles de Gaulle until at least 2020 while the Queen Elizabeth, a new carrier, is being built.

This follows the announcement of the scrapping of the carrier Ark Royal and its Harrier Jump Jets.

In the meantime, the Charles de Gaulle will be reconfigured to carry British planes, including the new Joint Strike Fighter jets.

But the French carrier's captain, Hugues du Plessis d'Argentré, confirmed that the 16-year-old vessel was not as efficient as she used to be, despite a three year refit.

He said "common sense" had forced him to temporarily abandon his latest mission to Afghanistan.

His ship's nuclear reactor would have to be given time to "cool down" before vital repairs were carried out, said Captain Du Plessis d'Argentré.

He added: "We're looking at between three, four, five weeks," suggesting that it might even be Christmas before the carrier could resume its mission.

The French Navy has, like Britain's, been subjected to savage cuts, with Captain Du Plessis d'Argentré admitting that the cost of the Charles de Gaulle's repairs would be well into eight figures.

British and French TV crews were originally meant to broadcast from the carrier on Tuesday, when David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy meet at Lancaster Gate for their first bilateral summit.

But on Saturday a French Navy spokesman admitted: "Unfortunately the Charles de Gaulle is no longer available for broadcasters. This is of course embarrassing, but repairs will soon be under way."

The countries are set to embark on an unprecedented level of co-operation over the use of aircraft carriers and other military hardware.

Confirming the sharing of carriers, France's defence minister Hervé Morin said: "The idea is an exchange of capacity and an interdependence. It's a new approach."

Critics have slammed the plans, however, suggesting that Britain should not be partly placing its defence capability in the hands of the French, who do not share the same record for military efficiency.

Policy splits could also threaten British defences. When Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac last launched an Anglo-French defence initiative in St Malo in 1998 it came unstuck when France refused to back the invasion of Iraq.

Britain's defence review cut the Royal Navy's surface fleet to just 19 ships, with Mr Cameron now resigned to sharing equipment with the French.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said earlier this week: "The UK and France are facing the realities of the tough financial climate and it is in our best interests to work together to deliver the capabilities that both our nations need. Closer co-operation is in both our countries' interests."


French 'calamity' carrier heads for sea - again
By Julian Coman in Paris 12:00AM GMT 11 Mar 2001

ONE of the most embarrassing sagas in French maritime history took a further twist last week when France's most accident-prone warship began the countdown to another attempt to take to the high seas.

In the Ministry of Defence and on the quayside at Toulon, where the 40,000-ton aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle had been dry-docked, sceptical observers crossed their fingers and prayed for a fair wind.

The idea of France's first nuclear-powered carrier was dreamt up in 1986. It soon became a pet project of the then president, Francois Mitterrand. The ship that was built has proved, however, to be a humiliating and expensive naval failure. Fifteen years and £7 billion later, it has still to complete its first successful tour of service and has suffered a series of mishaps.

An attempt to go to sea in November ended characteristically in disaster somewhere in the Bermuda triangle. A substantial part of a 19-ton propeller broke off, obliging the carrier to limp back to southern France.

Since then, naval engineers have worked round the clock for three months in preparation for the next bid for seaworthiness. Last Tuesday, the vessel moved into the bay of Toulon proper. Its 1,950 crew are hoping for an April sailing, although no one was celebrating prematurely.
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Frustration with the carrier has become palpable. Some of the more mutinous sailors of the Charles de Gaulle have taken to calling it "the damned ship [le bateau maudit]". The French minister of defence, Alain Richard, has promised to take whoever was responsible for the latest propeller debacle to court. He has even admitted that the Charles de Gaulle has become a subject of "ridicule".

It is not hard to understand why. The propeller incident was only one of a growing list of examples of mishap, misjudgment and mismanagement of the ship that was intended to be a symbol of French military prestige in the 21st century. "If you look back on the history of this ship," said one senior naval official, "it has just been a catalogue of errors."

Even the ship's name caused trouble. In 1986, President Mitterrand decided to call it the Richelieu, after the cardinal. In 1989, however, the Gaullist Jacques Chirac became prime minister. Mr Chirac believed that such a potent symbol of national pride should be named after the general who inspired his own political beliefs.

After a ferocious row, Mr Chirac prevailed. While the arguments raged, however, construction was falling further behind schedule. As economic recession began to bite in the 1990s, the project was starved of funding. On four occasions, work on the ship was suspended altogether. It was clear that the 1996 deadline for active service was wildly unrealistic.

Mr Chirac, then president of France, made a virtue out of necessity and decided that the Charles de Gaulle should become a millennium project, ready for service in 2000. After years of neglect, technical work and development began to be conducted at breakneck speed. By the late 1990s, the carrier was ready for its first proper sea tests, at which point things began to go even more awry.

The ship's flight decks, it became clear, were too short to accommodate the American Hawkeye radar aircraft that France had bought for the vessel. In addition, the decks had been painted with a substance that eroded the arrest wires used to slow the aircraft as they landed.

The ship's electronics circuits were malfunctioning, while its personnel, it emerged, were being exposed to unacceptable levels of radiation. The ship was simply not fit to sail. After many months of repairs, the Charles de Gaulle was relaunched last year on a cruise to Guadaloupe. Then the propeller problems began.

The firm that made the propellers, Atlantic Industries, went bankrupt in 1999. When the ship sails next month, it will borrow two propellers from older carriers. This time, the voyage must be a success. "If repeated mishaps don't finish a ship off, ridicule does," said Mr Richard. The French navy's communications officer in Toulon, Pierre Olivier is issuing similarly warnings. "Nothing must be left to chance for this trip," he said. "Everything must be in order this time."


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Re: Here is why Ka-daffy can wait us out
« Reply #119 on: March 21, 2011, 12:16:50 PM »
NEW YORK – Oil prices climbed Monday as energy experts warned that Libya's oil exports could be off the world market longer than expected, and countries including the U.S. enforced a no-fly zone over Libya.

Traders also fretted about other uprisings in the Middle East and how much they could affect production from OPEC heavyweights, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Those two countries produce 12.4 million barrels of oil per day.

Benchmark West Texas crude for May delivery gained $1.24 to settle at $103.09 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The April contract, which ends Tuesday, rose $1.36 to $102.43 per barrel.

Prices climbed after another violent weekend in Libya. Moammar Gadhafi vowed a "long war" as allied forces smashed his air defenses. On Monday, a top French official said international intervention could last "a while."


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Coalition of the ailing
« Reply #120 on: March 21, 2011, 01:08:58 PM »
Forces not providing air support for rebels-general

WASHINGTON, March 21 | Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:25pm EDT

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) - U.S. and coalition military forces enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya are there to protect civilians and not to provide close-air support for opposition forces fighting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the head of U.S. Africa Command said on Monday.

U.S. Army General Carter Ham said the military mission in Libya was "very clear" and he was not concerned that the objectives would grow and change in the coming days. He said he had no orders to directly attack the Libyan leader.


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A rounding error for Obamacare
« Reply #121 on: March 21, 2011, 05:12:30 PM »
But still not cheap.

With U.N. coalition forces bombarding Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi from the sea and air, the United States’ part in the operation could ultimately hit several billion dollars -- and require the Pentagon to request emergency funding from Congress to pay for it.

The first day of Operation Odyssey Dawn had a price tag that was well over $100 million for the U.S. in missiles alone. And the U.S. military, which remains in the lead now in its third day, has pumped millions more into air- and sea-launched strikes targeting air-defense sites and ground-force positions along Libya’s coastline.

The ultimate total that the United States spends will hinge on the length and scope of the strikes as well as on the contributions of its coalition allies. But Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said on Monday that the U.S. costs could “easily pass the $1 billion mark on this operation, regardless of how well things go.”

The Pentagon has the money in its budget to cover unexpected contingencies and can also use fourth-quarter dollars to cover the costs of operations now. “They’re very used to doing this operation where they borrow from Peter to pay Paul,” said Gordon Adams, who served as the Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for national security during the Clinton administration.

However, there comes a point when there simply isn’t enough cash to pay for everything. The White House said on Monday it was not prepared to request emergency funding yet, but former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim estimated that the Defense Department would need to send a request for supplemental funding to Capitol Hill if the U.S. military’s share of Libya operations expenses tops $1 billion.

"The operation in Libya is being funded with existing resources at this point. We are not planning to request a supplemental at this time," said Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget.

Such a request would likely be met with mixed reactions in a Congress focused on deficit reduction. And while many key lawmakers have been agitating for action in Libya, others have been more reluctant and have urged the Obama administration to send them a declaration of war.


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Ceasefire Is Victory for Gaddafi
« Reply #122 on: March 21, 2011, 08:08:43 PM »

Ceasefire Is Victory for Gaddafi

Limiting our objective to a ceasefire allows a deranged Gaddafi to remain, does not protect the rebels, and requires a lengthy military obligation.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #123 on: March 22, 2011, 08:48:05 AM »
Maybe we should forget "doctrines".  Every situation is unique and to tie us down with doctrines doesn't really make sense.
Maybe we simply do what is best for the US period in each given situation.

I am of the opinion we should either go arrest the Colonel for war crimes (using new evidence he ordered Lockerbie), or simply assasinate him.

To go about these military/political rituals for this ONE guy is nuts.

That said I don't see how he can survive long unless we let him.  And letting him do that for political reasons just doesn't seem worth it.  Either kill the guy or attempt to arrest him.  IF necessary to appease the libs arrest the guy and have the mock war crimes trial drag on for years while the ACLU gives him all the lawyers he needs and go through the silly spectacle of giving him them the motions of a justice system and then hang him anyway.



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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #124 on: March 22, 2011, 08:53:47 AM »
Well, arresting him would probably be as easy as the arrest of Saddam was.

Killing him is a better option, especially given that he's pinned down in Tripoli. Oh wait, he isn't anymore, is he?

I guess we missed our chance.

So, who of the "Coalition of the Ailing" drops out first?


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From NFZ to "regime change"
« Reply #125 on: March 22, 2011, 11:24:28 AM »

The White House suggested Tuesday the mission in Libya is one of regime change, despite emphatic statements from President Obama and military brass that the goal is not to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power.

According to a White House readout of a Monday night call between Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders "underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people’s will."

The term "installing" suggests the goal of regime change.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for clarification.


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Re: From NFZ to "regime change"
« Reply #126 on: March 22, 2011, 11:53:18 AM »
Well, this should be quick, cheap and bloodless.

Anyone seen the “Mission Accomplished” banner? Barry wants it for a photo op.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #127 on: March 22, 2011, 12:01:58 PM »
"Maybe we should forget "doctrines".Every situation is unique..."- CCP

My doctrine is full of caveats.  In Iraq, I would say that if your neighbor's house is on fire, and you are standing there with a fire hose, then it might make sense to help out.  That assumes that by neighbor they share some form of positive humanity, by fire hose that means something that helps put out the fire, not makes the fire worse etc.  It doesn't mean that when you are done you also build them a new house.

I agree with the Lockerbie charge if we have evidence / access to witnesses.  Murder in our law does not have a statute of limitations.  This also was terror so he can sit for trial in Obama's Guantanamo if captured.

OTOH, the 'Rebels' stronghold is also the area of largest per capita recruitment for al Qaida to Iraq:   "A 2007 US Military Academy study of information on al-Qaida forces in Iraq indicate that by far, Eastern Libya made the largest per capita contribution to al-Qaida forces in Iraq.

Like Saddam in hiding and what GM wrote about catching him, if we were going to go in by executive order without consultation or declaration from congress, then we could have done that on Feb.23 when the resigned governor of Alaska suggested it, better yet before the uprising with an element of surprise, instead of with advance notice and 3 1/2 weeks to hide.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #128 on: March 22, 2011, 12:31:08 PM »
So, how soon do we go hat-in-hand to China for more money, so we can continue our military campaign in Libya, which is costing China money because of increased oil prices?


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #129 on: March 22, 2011, 02:31:32 PM »
And I thought we were only fighting for democracy and freedom....  And doing what's right...     :-o

Frankly, I just wish we would stay out of the entire mess...

By Dr. Kristin Diwan – Special to CNN
The international community is intervening to stop killing in Libya. But it is standing by as the Bahraini government - aided by the Saudis and broader Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - suppresses its own people with brutal force.
Bahraini opposition groups have petitioned the United Nations to intervene on their behalf.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his "deepest concern" at the use of "excessive and indiscriminate force ... against unarmed civilians.” Yet there are no plans for U.N.-sponsored action.
Why isn’t the world acting in Bahrain as it did in Libya?
The reasons are political.
Moammar Gadhafi alienated almost everyone in the region and had few international friends. In contrast, Bahrain’s ruling Al-Khalifa family has earned strong support in neighboring Gulf states, along with goodwill from the United States, which has its Fifth Fleet stationed in the country.
In addition, Bahrain's uprising, while cross-sectarian, would empower the Shia majority. Shia empowerment through democratization - which occurred in neighboring Iraq – is feared by the Sunni minority in Bahrain, even by some who would welcome political reforms to make the ruling family more accountable to its populace. Shia empowerment is certainly feared by Saudi Arabia, which is intervening to ensure Bahrain does not fall under Iranian influence.
The U.S. encourages Bahraini’s democratic aspirations and worries that if Bahrain brutally puts down the protests, the demonstrators would turn to Iran for support. The U.S. does not want to see revolution, but rather reform. Among other things, revolution in this region would disrupt oil supplies.
Meanwhile, the countries of the Gulf are eager to suppress the uprising in Bahrain. They would not provide cover for international intervention, as it did by voting for a no-fly zone in the Arab League.
This is because while the Libyan uprising earned sympathy from neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, Bahrain's uprising is feared by its neighbors. Any overthrow of a monarch - or even reform to a genuine constitutional monarchy - would be sure to increase democratic pressure among neighboring monarchs.
A final reason why the United States and the broader international community have been reluctant to even confront Bahrain and the Saudi troops is because the U.S. needs as much GCC support in Libya as possible.


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It gets even better
« Reply #130 on: March 22, 2011, 03:25:05 PM »

France proposes “political steering committee” to take over Libya mission


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And even better....
« Reply #131 on: March 22, 2011, 05:18:44 PM »
Who's in charge? Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:42 PM on 22nd March 2011

    * Tensions with Britain as Gates rebukes UK government over suggestion Gaddafi could be assassinated
    * French propose a new political 'committee' to oversee operations
    * Germany pulls equipment out of NATO coalition over disagreement over campaign's direction
    * Italians accuse French of backing NATO in exchange for oil contracts
    * No-fly zone called into question after first wave of strikes 'neutralises' Libyan military machine
    * U.K. ministers say war could last '30 years'
    * Italy to 'take back control' of bases used by allies unless NATO leadership put in charge of the mission
    * Russians tell U.S. to stop bombing in order to protect civilians - calls bombing a 'crusade'

Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.

A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.

The infighting comes as a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said.

Yesterday a war of words erupted between the U.S. and Britain after the U.K. government claimed Muammar Gaddafi is a legitimate target for assassination.

U.K. government officials said killing the Libyan leader would be legal if it prevented civilian deaths as laid out in a U.N. resolution.

But U.S. defence secretary Robert Gates hit back at the suggestion, saying it would be 'unwise' to target the Libyan leader adding cryptically that the bombing campaign should stick to the 'U.N. mandate'.

Read more:


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #132 on: March 22, 2011, 06:13:07 PM »
Our Community Organizer in Chief organizes the International Community.

What could go wrong?


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We have an exit strategy!
« Reply #135 on: March 23, 2011, 09:24:21 AM »

Obama exit strategy: sticking around

 posted at 12:15 pm on March 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama tried to convince Univision last night that the US has an exit strategy from the Libya conflict, and that strategy is to, er, stick around and fight.  Jake Tapper calls it a Lewis Carroll moment, while others might consider it more Orwellian:
In an interview with Univision Tuesday, President Obama re-defined the term “exit strategy,” and said our exit strategy in Libya would begin this week.
“The exit strategy will be executed this week,” President Obama said, “in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. We will still be in a support role. We will be supplying jamming, intelligence and other assets unique to us.”
Planes in the air? Ships in the Mediterranean? Intelligence being provided? Doesn’t sound like an exit strategy at all.
What it does recall is Lewis Carroll.
“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
Tapper goes on to heap more scorn on Obama’s sudden embrace of the non-exit exit strategy, so be sure to read it all.  And he’s right to do so: an exit strategy is just that: a strategy towards an exit.  What Obama is attempting to sell is a handoff of responsibility for military leadership to someone else, anyone else.
It’s not the only point of confusion about Obama’s aims, either.  Even before this conflict, people expressed puzzlement over what an Obama Doctrine that would explain his foreign policy would comprise.  That ambiguity, sold as “nuance” before the Libya attack, now looks more like a chaotic muddle:
But on Libya, Obama’s opacity is coming back to haunt him, as critics from both parties press him on his rationale for taking action and for a more specific articulation of his vision for American goals and aspirations in the Mideast and elsewhere.
Politico’s Glenn Thrush spins this heavily towards nuance, but calling an ambiguous plan for long-term involvement an “exit strategy” reveals that this President has no idea what he wants or how to get it.  Instead of having some semblance of a foreign policy plan, Obama and his team are playing it by ear — an obvious conclusion based on the no-we-won’t-oh-wait-yes-we-will vacillation on Libya that put American forces in position to start a mission whose window for success had already closed.
Update: Jazz Shaw writes today about the blatant hypocrisy at the heart of the UN “R2P” doctrine on which Obama relied.


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Symposium: The Mismanaged War Against Libya
« Reply #136 on: March 23, 2011, 10:43:32 AM »
- FrontPage Magazine - -

Symposium: The Mismanaged War Against Libya

Posted By Jamie Glazov On March 23, 2011 @ 12:40 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 4 Comments

In this special edition of Frontpage Symposium, we have gathered a distinguished panel to explore what American — and Western — interests are served by the coalition’s war against Libya. Our guests today are:

Michael Ledeen, a noted political analyst and a Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is the author of The Iranian Time Bomb, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership and Tocqueville on American Character, and he is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal. His latest book is Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West.

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. His first book, Red Horizons, was republished in 27 languages. In April 2010, Pacepa’s latest book, Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination, was prominently displayed at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians held in Washington D.C., as a “superb new paradigmatic work” and a “must read” for “everyone interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.”

Dr. Walid Phares, an expert on the Middle East who teaches Global Strategies in Washington DC. His most recent book is The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East.


Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad, Stealth Jihad and The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.

FP: Walid Phares, Mihai Pacepa, Michael Ledeen and Robert Spencer, welcome to Frontpage Symposium.

Robert Spencer, let us begin with you. What is your position on the coalition campaign, with U.S. involvement, against Gaddafi?

Spencer: As the U.S. fired over one hundred Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya Saturday, the objective seems clear. Barack Obama declared that “we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy.” He explained: “Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.” But he didn’t explain how acting forcibly to remove Muammar Gaddafi would indeed be in America’s interests. And that is a case that is not as easily made as it might appear to be.

How could removing Gaddafi not be in America’s interests? It is unlikely that he will be succeeded by Thomas Jefferson. The fact that Gaddafi is a reprehensible human being and no friend of the U.S. does not automatically turn his opponents into Thomas Paine.

Obama has affirmed his support for “the universal rights of the Libyan people,” including “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny,” but he has never specified who in Libya is working to uphold and defend those rights. He has praised “the peaceful transition to democracy” that he says is taking place across the Middle East, and yet the countries where uprisings have taken place have no democratic traditions or significant forces calling for the establishment of a secular, Western-style republics.

Eastern Libya, where the anti-Gaddafi forces are based, is a hotbed of anti-Americanism and jihadist sentiment. A report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center reveals that over the last few years, more jihadists per capita entered Iraq from Libya than from any other Muslim country – and most of them came from the region that is now spearheading the revolt against Gaddafi.

That may explain why Libyan protesters have defaced Gaddafi’s picture with the Star of David, the hated symbol of the Jews, whom the Koran designates as the “strongest in enmity” toward the Muslims. There has been a notable absence among the protesters of anything equivalent to “Don’t Tread On Me” flags or other signs that what the uprising is really all about is establishing the ballot box and the give-and-take of open-society politics. The Libyan protesters have chanted not “Give me liberty or give me death!,” but “No god but Allah!”

Abu Yahia al-Libi, a Libyan who heads up al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, has warmly praised the uprising in his homeland, calling on Libyans to murder the tyrant and crowing: “Now it is the turn of Gaddafi after he made the people of Libya suffer for more than 40 years.” He said that removing Gaddafi as well as other Middle Eastern autocrats was “a step to reach the goal of every Muslim, which is to make the word of Allah the highest” – that is, to establish a state ruled by Islamic law.

And America’s Tomahawk cruise missiles will have helped bring about such a state in Libya.

Pacepa: I fully agree with Robert Spencer.

There are few people on earth who want to see Gaddafi removed from power more than I do. I could write a book about my reasons, and maybe someday I will. Here I will just say that, after I was granted political asylum by President Carter (1978), Gaddafi set a $2 million bounty on my head because I had revealed his secret efforts to arm international terrorists with bacteriological and other weapons of mass destruction. But my personal animus against Gaddafi is my own policy, and it should not have anything to do with the policy of the U.S. Nor should the personal hatred for Gaddafi on the part of other Americans, such as those whose relatives he killed at the La Belle nightclub in West Berlin (1986), in the Pan Am Flight 103 at Lockerbie (1988) or elsewhere, be raised to the level of U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S., policy toward Libya—and any other country—should defend and promote only the interests of the United States. Unfortunately, the current events taking place in Libya show that our administration does not have any coherent foreign policy toward that country, and that U.S. foreign policy simply blows with the prevailing wind.

The name of the wind propelling the current U.S. policy toward Libya is Sarkozy. The president of France has no real policy toward Libya either, and he is also blowing with the wind—the wind of the 2012 presidential elections, where he is seriously threatened by the socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Rattling sabers has always helped French politicians in the short run–in spite of the fact that France has lost every war it ever started.

Just three years ago, President Sarkozy welcomed Gaddafi and his 400-person entourage on a five-day royal visit to Paris, allowing him to set up his Bedouin tent near the Elysée Palace. “Gaddafi is not perceived as a dictator in the Arab world,” Sarkozy explained at the time, adding as further justification: “He is the longest-serving head of state in the region.” Now this justification is Sarkozy’s reason to go to war against Gaddafi. “France has decided to play its part in history,” Sarkozy gravely announced from the steps of the Elysée Palace just before starting the war against Libya. “The Libyan people need our aid and support.”[ii] But he, and the rest of the Western World, still do not really know who those people are that he decided to protect.

All we know for certain about the “freedom fighters” opposing Gaddafi is that they fight with Kalashnikov in hand, and that Kalashnikovs have no history of promoting freedom. A recent article published in the prestigious Le Monde goes a step further, revealing that these “brave Libyan freedom fighters” are dominated by jihadists espousing the same complaints of “Westoxification,” accompanied by the Jew-hatred and broader infidel-hatred that permeates the Arab world.[iii]

President Obama has also praised Gaddafi in the past. According to press reports, last year, around the time Gaddafi called Obama “our son,” the U.S. president earmarked $400,000 for two of Gaddafi’s charities. The money was divided between the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, run by Gaddafi’s son Saif, and the Wa Attasimou, run by Gaddafi’s daughter Aicha.[iv]

Now President Obama is also facing elections, also in 2012, and he is having at least as much difficulty with the electorate as Sarkozi has. A new war would certainly help. Americans are patriots, and their support for our troops might occasion them to move to the back burner their discontent with Obamacare and with this administration’s disastrous spending habits.

The U.S. has made it abundantly clear to Gaddafi that he had better not try any more dirty tricks against us. He got the message and has so far been quiet toward us. There are plenty of evil dictators in the world who kill their own people, and whom we do not attack. The United States is not the police country of the world.

War is a matter of life and death. It should be never used as a way to win elections.



Ledeen: A week ago I wrote a little blog wondering what Obama might do to prevent everyone from concluding he’s a wimp. I confessed that this thought worried me quite a bit, as it had in the 1970s when Carter’s name became inseparably tied to “wimp.”  Every author falls in love with his own words, but I hope to be forgiven for saying that I was right to worry.

I quite agree with both Robert Spencer and General Pacepa, both of whom remind us of my grandmother’s famous bit of folk wisdom, “things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.”  Indeed, both of them raise the truly paradoxical and terrible possibility that we may “win” in Libya, only to find that we have made things worse: worse for American interests, worse for the Libyan people, worse for the whole region, which hardly needs to get even worse.

But that’s not my major concern.  What gets my juices flowing is the ongoing failure to see the Middle Eastern cauldron in full context, and that we are bringing American power to bear on Qadaffi, but not on the tyrants in Tehran.  As almost everyone with a keyboard has said, we don’t have a major national interest at stake in Libya, but Iran is our main enemy, and is killing Americans every day.  So if you want to act decisively in the Middle East, you should be working for regime change in Iran; Libya is a sideshow.

So it’s the wrong war in the wrong place.

That said, I have a lot of sympathy for the view (often attributed to Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton) that America should support citizens fighting for freedom against tyrants.  But that does not mean a suspension of strategic judgment, and a failure to recognize which of those fights is most important.

Bits and pieces:  I never liked the no-fly-zone idea, and in fact several weeks ago I said about Libya what I had said years before about Darfur:  bomb the airforce, destroy the planes of the regime.  That takes a few minutes.  Then, if you decide you want to support the rebels, or some of them, go ahead.  At least you’ve given them a respite from the slaughter.

More:  It’s not all bad, you know.  This gives hope to the “rebels” we should be supporting–the ones in Syria and Iran.  Maybe one of the three Administration Valkyries will call for political support for the dissidents in those two unhappy lands.  Obama’s video to the Iranians marks a significant change in rhetoric, he’s abandoned all that sweet talk about “outstretched hands” and told the young Iranians on the streets that “I’m with you.”  I don’t quite believe it, but he may now find it much more difficult to appease Tehran.  Time will tell.

As you see, I keep coming back to the big context, because that’s the one that really matters.  We’re in a big war, the Libya thing is a skirmish.

Phares: We all agree that Colonel Gaddafi is a dictator, that he supported terrorism against the U.S. and France, was responsible for the tragedy of PanAm 103, that he funded, armed and trained radicals in many African countries such as in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Haute Volta, and in a few Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon. We all are aware that his regime oppressed his people and tortured and jailed his opponents for four decades. I observed Gaddafi ruling Libya unchecked during and after the Cold War before and after 9/11 and he was received by liberal democracies as a respectable leader.

My first question is: Why has the West been silent so long and why is it so late in taking action against this dictator? Of course it had to do with oil. Western elites were morally and politically encouraging him by buying his oil and empowering him with endless cash as Libyan dissidents were dying in jails.

Now, as missiles are crushing Gaddafi’s air defense systems and tanks, Western governments should be invited for serious self-criticism for having enabled this regime to last that long. Squeezing or even defeating Gaddafi should prompt a comprehensive review of past decades of Western policies towards this regime and its abuses of human rights. The military operation should not end with the departure of Gaddafi from power. It must open the door for an examination of US and European policies that have aligned themselves with Petrodollars interests for over half a century. Such self-criticism was supposed to start with the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, but unfortunately, it hasn’t taken place yet, precisely because of the mega-influence inside the West and the United States by powerful lobbies representing the interests of OPEC, the Arab League and the OIC.

Besides, questions should be raised about the Arab League and OIC endorsement of an action against Gaddafi’s regime. Where were they for decades, when the Libyan dictator used to seize the microphone on their platforms and blast the very democracies they implored to act against him? These organizations catered to the interest of regimes they now are calling for sanctions against. Mr. Amr Moussa, the current secretary general of the Arab League, rises against Gaddafi after having supported him for years, while the latter was oppressing his own people.

In my book, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, I call all these regimes and organizations a “brotherhood against democracy.” They have supported each other against democratic movements and minorities everywhere in the region. From Sudan to Lebanon, from Iraq to Libya, the regional organizations were at the service of these regimes, not of the people. As these revolts are ongoing, these inter-regimes’ organizations must be criticized and eventually reformed. Last year, the Arab League and OIC were endorsing Libya’s role in the UN Council on Human Rights. Egypt, Tunisia and Libya’s representatives at the Geneva UN body were shutting up the voices of Libyan dissidents just a few months ago. Now that the uprisings have crumbled the regimes in Cairo and Tunisia, and Tripoli’s ruler is cornered, the negative impact these inter-regime organizations have on dissidents and human rights on international levels must be exposed and their future representation comprehensively reformed.

I do agree with Mr. Spencer that many jihadists have been recruited from Libya, and particularly from its eastern provinces. I also agree with General Pacepa that Western policies towards Gaddafi’s regime were incoherent. And I certainly agree with Dr. Ledeen that US policy should support true democratic forces and uprisings in the region from Iran to the Arab world.

In short I would have advised for a different set of US global strategies in the Middle East. We should have backed the Iranian Green Revolution in 2009, the Cedars Revolution as it struggles against Hezbollah, and Darfur in its liberation drive against the Jihadist regime in Khartoum. In Egypt, we should have clearly sided with the secular youth and Copts, as they asked for a new constitution. In Iraq, we should have been clear in supporting reformist and secular forces.

As far as Libya is concerned, removing Gaddafi is not the question. That should have been done years ago on the grounds of abuse of human rights. The question is who will come next? Clearly, the agenda of the Benghazi leadership is not clear. We know there is a layer of former bureaucrats, diplomats, intellectuals and military dissidents with whom partnership is possible and should be encouraged. But there is another layer below the surface which is made of Islamists, Salafists and in some cases Jihadists.

From a simple observation of the latter’s narrative on al Jazeera, one major component of the opposition is an Islamist force aiming at taking over in Tripoli. Hence, Washington must partner with the secular-democrats and warn that it won’t endorse replacing Gaddafi’s Jamahiriyya with a Jihadi emirate. Why aren’t the most liberal Libyan dissidents received in Washington and made visible? As Mr. Spencer said, the US and NATO military has been tasked to open the highways to Tripoli for the opposition, but we need to insure that on that highway we won’t see the democracy groups eliminated by the next authoritarians.

FP: Walid Phares, Mihai Pacepa, Michael Ledeen and Robert Spencer, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.


Joseph A. Harris, “Sarko’s War,” The American Spectator, March 21, 2011.

[ii] Idem.

[iii] Andrew G. Bostom, “Let Muslim Anti-Terrosit States Police Libya,” Human Events, March 21, 2011.

[iv] “Obama Gave $400,000 To Libyan Charities Run By Gaddafi’s Children,”, February 24, 2011.


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Gates: No exit
« Reply #137 on: March 23, 2011, 11:41:07 AM »

Gates: No timeline for end of Libyan mission
 posted at 2:15 pm on March 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has repeatedly insisted that the American role in the Libyan war will only last “days, not weeks,” although he has also said that US forces will remain engaged, and that the purpose of the operation is to “install a democratic system” while somehow not aiming at the removal of the dictator at the top.  Got all that?  Neither has Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who now insists that the Obama administration has “no timeline” for the end of operations in Libya, and he’s not sure how it will all end, either:


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WSJ: The Stability Dilema
« Reply #138 on: March 24, 2011, 05:34:37 AM »
'Stability" was the watchword of virtually all Middle East policy as far back as anyone can remember. Whether for purposes of avoiding war with Israel, protecting a primary source of world energy, or securing intelligence-sharing relationships to fight al Qaeda, stability had its reasons in the Middle East.

That model of stability ended its long run with the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor in December. It's not coming back.

The future holds three alternative models of stability: The first is Gadhafism, the stability of the fist; the second is the enforcements of Islam; and the last—and most desirable—is economic modernity.

Some in the anti-Gadhafi coalition from Europe and the U.S seem willing to accept an endgame in which Gadhafi retains power. Unrestrained Gadhafism will follow: The stability that the psychopathic colonel imposes after the coalition goes home will make previous repressions look like kindergarten exercises.

This may be an acceptable price to some realists in the Pentagon and Europe and to reluctant soldiers in the White House. The problem is that variants of Gadhafist stability, without the evil clown, are likely to be the new norm among the Middle East's surviving autocrats. This degree of repression is already standard in Iran, which hangs opponents with metronomic regularity.

This week, protests of almost unbelievable pluck and courage emerged in Syria of all places. But the Assad family, back to the Hama massacre of 1982, has a dishonorable tradition of stability through murder and imprisonment. With Saudi assistance, Bahrain's opposition is getting hammered hard.

One might even argue that Mubarak blinked. If Mubarak had known how tough it would be for the West to oppose Gadhafi's bombing of his own people, he might have loosed his army on the Cairo protesters and survived, once past a spate of pro-forma international denunciation. Yemen's President Saleh won't blink.

If Gadhafism survives and spreads, with the West's assent, its tens of millions of victims will have a more rational reason than "oil" to blame the West for their condition. They may go looking for targets.

Pre-modern Islam is eager to impose another form of stability. The snap referendum on constitutional amendments in Egypt showed that the Muslim Brotherhood is building a modus vivendi with the military. Egypt's brass are uncomfortable with the youth movement, whose complaints are mostly economic and thereby a threat to the military's cash flow from crony capitalism.

Associated Press
Moammar Gadhafi
.Some say that the Islamic nations of southeast Asia or even Turkey prove Middle Eastern Islam can co-exist with the world economy. But there is scant evidence. Read the translated sermons of the Brotherhood's current chairman, Mohammed Badie (at for a sense of his millennial obsessions.

Gadhafism or ascendant Islam make it likely that the U.S. military will have to return to the region on a large scale—either after another massively homicidal terrorist attack on a Western urban center or a bad miscalculation over Israel. Or when the next street vendor reignites the region.

For reasons of self-protection and self-respect, we need an alternative to the fake stability of Gadhafism or militant Islam. Why not economic modernity?

The protests in these nations are political and economic, but I think they are mostly economic. In a column last month, "Is Egypt Hopeless?" I argued that the autocrats' decades-old model of using public-sector jobs to placate their populations' economic aspirations was falling apart. More recently for National Review, Daniel Doron wrote a more complete summary (which our Pentagon brass should read) of how these nations have stumbled through Cold War socialism, nationalizations, the corruption of their elites, and the destruction of their middle classes to arrive at this year's multi-nation eruption of refusal.

The latest nerve-wracking basket-case is Yemen. Its unemployment rate the past 10 years has been about 35%. For Yemenis under 26, the current rate is 53%. Yemen produces about 300,000 mostly unemployable college graduates annually. No wonder the American-born Anwar al- Awlaki headed to Yemen to recruit.

The outside world has a self-interest in pushing the Middle East's economies toward the 21st century. Without economic upgrades, the underemployment bomb will tick and re-explode—there or here.

Rebuilding from economic failure isn't easy, but it isn't rocket science. One good, achievable idea suggested recently has been a free trade agreement between Egypt and the U.S. and Europe. But if the Obama team won't complete a free trade deal with Colombia, a friend and ally, then Egypt and the rest really are hopeless. Barack Obama's union base is looking like a national security issue.

Many people in U.S. public life don't want to get involved with this Middle East tangle. Alas, the gods do not ordain a timeline for crises. These insurrections—now spread across 11 separate nations—are a big, historic moment, similar in some ways to what happened around Eastern Europe before the Berlin Wall fell. The U.S. didn't blow that one. What's needed now is an equivalent level of leadership and strategic thinking to ensure we don't fall on the wrong side of this one.

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From Statfor, Pt. 1
« Reply #139 on: March 24, 2011, 12:39:39 PM »
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a four-part series
publishing in the next few days that will examine the motives and mindset
behind current European intervention in Libya. We begin with an overview and
will follow with an examination of the positions put forth by the United
Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Russia.

Distinct interests sparked the European involvement in Libya. The United
Kingdom and France have issued vociferous calls for intervention in Libya
for the past month, ultimately managing to convince the rest of Europe —
with some notable exceptions — to join in military action, the Arab League
to offer its initial support, and global powers China and Russia to abstain
from voting at the U.N. Security Council.

U.S. President Barack Obama said March 21 that the leadership of the
U.S.-European coalition against Libya would be transitioned to the European
allies “in a matter of days.” While the United States would retain the lead
during Operation Odyssey Dawn — intended to incapacitate Tripoli’s command
and control, stationary air defenses and airfields — Obama explained that
Odyssey Dawn would create the “conditions for our European allies and Arab
partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council
resolution.” While Obama pointed out that the U.S.-European intervention in
Libya is very much Europe’s war, French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
Charles de Gaulle (R91) and Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi
(551) arrived in waters near Libya, giving Europeans a valuable asset from
which to increase European air sortie generation rates and time on station.

Before analyzing the disparate interests of European nations in Libya, one
must first take stock of this coalition in terms of its stated military and
political goals.

The Military Response to the ‘Arab Spring’

The intervention in Libya thus far has been restricted to the enforcement of
a no-fly zone and to limited attacks against ground troops loyal to Libyan
leader Moammar Gadhafi in the open. However, the often-understated but
implied political goal seems to be the end of the Gadhafi regime. (Some
French and British leaders certainly have not shied from stressing that

Europeans are not united in their perceptions of the operation’s goals — or
on how to wage the operation. The one thing the Europeans share is a seeming
lack of an exit strategy from a struggle originally marketed as a no-fly
zone akin to that imposed on Iraq in 1997 to a struggle that is actually
being waged as an airstrike campaign along the lines of the 1999 campaign
against Serbia, with the goal of regime change mirroring that of the 2001
Afghan and 2003 Iraq campaigns.

Underlying Europeans’ willingness to pursue military action in Libya are two
perceptions. The first is that Europeans did not adequately support the
initial pro-democratic protests across the Arab world, a charge frequently
coupled with accusations that many European governments failed to respond
because they actively supported the regimes being challenged. The second
perception is that the Arab world is in fact seeing a groundswell of
pro-democratic sentiment.

The first charge particularly applies to France — the country now most
committed to the Libyan intervention — where Former French Foreign Minister
Michele Alliot-Marie vacationed in Tunisia a few weeks before the
revolution, using the private jet owned by a businessman close to the
regime, and offered then-Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali the
services of French security forces to suppress the rebellion. Though an
extreme example, the French case highlights the close business, energy and
often personal relationships Europeans had with Middle Eastern leaders.

(click here to enlarge image)

In fact, EU states have sold Gadhafi 1.1 billion euros ($1.56 billion) worth
of arms between 2004, when they lifted their arms embargo, and 2011, and
were looking forward to much more in the future. Paris and Rome, which had
lobbied hardest for an end to the embargo, were particularly active in this
trade. As recently as 2010, France was in talks with Libya for the sale of
14 Dassault Mirage fighter jets and the modernization of some of Tripoli’s
aircraft. Rome, on the other hand, was in the middle of negotiating a
further 1 billion euros worth of deals prior to the unrest. British media
meanwhile had charged the previous British government with kowtowing to
Gadhafi by releasing Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan held for the Pan
Am Flight 103 bombing. According to widespread reports, the United Kingdom’s
Labour government released al-Megrahi so that British energy supermajor BP
would receive favorable energy concessions in Libya.

The second perception is the now-established narrative in the West that the
ongoing protests in the Middle East are truly an outburst of pro-democratic
sentiment in the Western sense. From this, there arises a public perception
in Europe that Arab regimes must be put on notice that severe crackdowns
will not be tolerated since the protests are the beginning of a new era of
democracy in the region.

(click here to enlarge image)

These two perceptions have created a context under which Gadhafi’s crackdown
against protesters is simply unacceptable to Paris and London and
unacceptable to domestic public opinion in Europe. Not only would tolerating
Tripoli’s crackdown confirm European leaderships’ multi-decade
fraternization with unsavory Arab regimes, but the eastern Libyan rebels’
fight against Gadhafi has been grafted on to the narrative of Arab
pro-democracy movements seeking to overthrow brutal regimes — even though it
is unclear who the eastern rebels are or what their intentions are for a
post-Gadhafi Libya.

The Coalition

According to U.N. Security Council resolution 1973, the military objective
of the intervention is to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and to protect
civilians from harm across all of Libya. The problem is that the first goal
in no way achieves the second. A no-fly zone does little to stop Gadhafi’s
troops on the ground. In the first salvo of the campaign — even before
suppression of enemy air defenses operations — French aircraft attacked
Libyan ground troops around Benghazi. The attack — which was not coordinated
with the rest of the coalition, according to some reports — was meant to
signal two things: that the French were in the lead and that the
intervention would seek to protect civilians in a broader mandate than just
establishing a no-fly zone.

(click here to enlarge image)

Going beyond the enforcement of the no-fly zone, however, has created rifts
in Europe, with both NATO and the European Union failing to back the
intervention politically. Germany, which broke with its European allies and
voted to abstain from resolution 1973, has argued that mission creep could
force the coalition to get involved in a drawn-out war. Central and Eastern
Europeans, led by Poland, have been cautious in providing support because it
yet again draws NATO further from its core mission of European territorial
defense and the theater they are mostly concerned about: the Russian sphere
of influence. Meanwhile, the Arab League, which initially offered its
support for a no-fly zone, seemed to renege as it became clear that Libya in
2011 was far more like Serbia 1999 than Iraq in 1997 — airstrikes against
ground troops and installations, not just a no-fly zone. Italy, a critical
country because of its air bases close to the Libyan theater, has even
suggested that if some consensus is not found regarding NATO’s involvement
it would withdraw its offer of air bases so that “someone else’s action did
not rebound on us,” according Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. In
reality, Rome is concerned that the Franco-British alliance is going to
either reduce Italy’s interests in a post-Ghadafi Libya or fail to finish
the operation, leaving Italy to deal with chaos a few hundred miles across
the Mediterranean.


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Stratfor, Pt. 2
« Reply #140 on: March 24, 2011, 12:41:00 PM »
Ultimately, enforcing a humanitarian mandate across the whole of Libya via
air power alone will be impossible. It is unclear how Gadhafi would be
dislodged from power from 15,000 feet in the sky. And while Europeans have
largely toed the line in the last couple of days that regime change is not
the explicit goal of the intervention, French and British leaders continue
to caveat that “there is no decent future for Libya with Gadhafi in power,”
as British Prime Minister David Cameron stated March 21, virtually mirroring
a statement by Obama. But wishing Gadhafi gone will not make it so.

Endgame Scenarios

With the precise mission of the intervention unclear and exact command and
control structures yet to be decided (though the intervention itself is
already begun, a summit in London on March 29 will supposedly hash out the
details) it is no surprise that Europeans seem to lack a consensus as to
what the exit strategies are. Ultimately some sort of NATO command structure
will be enacted, even if it is possible that NATO never gives its political
consent to the intervention and is merely “subcontracted” by the coalition
to make coordination between different air forces possible.

U.S. military officials, on the other hand, have signaled that a divided
Libya between the Gadhafi-controlled west and the rebel-controlled east is
palatable if attacks against civilians stop. Resolution 1973 certainly does
not preclude such an end to the intervention. But politically, it is unclear
if either the United States or Europe could accept that scenario. Aside from
the normative issues the European public may have with a resolution that
leaves a now-thoroughly vilified Gadhafi in power, European governments
would have to wonder whether Gadhafi would be content ruling Tripolitania, a
pared-down version of Libya, given that the bulk of the country’s oil fields
and export facilities are located in the east.

Gadhafi could seek non-European allies for arms and support and/or plot a
reconquest of the east. Either way, such a scenario could necessitate a
drawn-out enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya — testing already
war-weary European publics’ patience, not to mention government pocketbooks.
It would also require continuous maritime patrols to prevent Gadhafi from
unleashing migrants en masse, a possibility that is of great concern for
Rome. Now that Europe has launched a war against Gadhafi, it has raised the
costs of allowing a Gadhafi regime to remain lodged in North Africa. That
the costs are not the same for all participating European countries —
especially for Italy, which has the most to lose if Gadhafi retains power —
is the biggest problem for creating European unity.

The problem, however, is that an alternative endgame scenario where Gadhafi
is removed would necessitate a commitment of ground troops. It is unclear
that the eastern rebels could play the role of the Afghan Northern Alliance,
whose forces had considerable combat experience such that only modest
special operations forces and air support were needed to dislodge the
Taliban (or, rather, force them to retreat) in late 2001 through early 2002.
Thus, Europe would have to provide the troops — highly unlikely, unless
Gadhafi becomes thoroughly suicidal and unleashes asymmetrical terrorist
attacks against Europe — or enlist the support of an Arab state, such as
Egypt, to conduct ground operations in its stead. The latter scenario seems
far-fetched as well, in part because Libyans historically have as much
animosity toward Egyptians as they do toward Europeans.

What ultimately will transpire in Libya probably lies somewhere in between
the extreme scenarios. A temporary truce is likely once Gadhafi has been
sufficiently neutralized from the air, giving the West and Egypt sufficient
time to arm, train and support the rebels for their long march to Tripoli
(though it is far from clear that they are capable of this, even with
considerable support in terms of airpower, basic training, organization and
military competencies). The idea that Gadhafi, his sons and inner circle
would simply wait to be rolled over by a rebel force is unlikely. After all,
Gadhafi has not ruled Libya for 42 years because he has accepted his fate
with resignation — a notion that should worry Europe’s governments now
looking to end his rule.


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One question
« Reply #141 on: March 25, 2011, 09:52:59 AM »
Has anyone EVER heard someone from any Muslim country get on a "news" network and explicitly THANK the US for investing lives, limb and money to free THEM?

I have yet to hear ONE SINGLE Muslim thank us.

Perhaps they did I just missed it.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #142 on: March 25, 2011, 10:02:01 AM »
No, I too have never heard "Thank you".

Therefore I wonder why we spend billions upon billions of dollars (going into debt) and lose thousands of American lives
to supposedly "free" them when they don't even know what they want and definitely are not grateful.

I say forget Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Let's worry about our own problems at home.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #143 on: March 25, 2011, 10:31:28 AM »
"Therefore I wonder why..."


We keep making the same mistake over and over again that if we try to do humanitarian things the world will love us.

I say enough stupidity and naivity.

The world want our money.  That is it.

We should kill Khaddafy and put the world on notice you murder our citizens (LOckerbie) than *you* are next.  Otherwise get the hell out of Libya.  Now we are in Iraq/Afghanistan we need to finish the job.

I have no doubt that most Americans have elected a President to look out for our interests not the rest of the thankless planet.


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Feel the love!
« Reply #144 on: March 25, 2011, 11:24:16 AM »

Remember how we had to elect Obama to rebuild our relationships with the world?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 12:48:17 PM by G M »


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Reagan and Grenada
« Reply #145 on: March 25, 2011, 12:31:53 PM »
Hat tip to GM for this one:

A congressional study group concluded, after a three-day trip to Grenada, that Reagan's move had been justified. The 14 members of Congress, headed by Democrat Thomas Foley of Washington State, reported to House Speaker Tip O'Neill that most of them felt that the students had been possible targets for a Tehran-type taking of hostages. This caused O'Neill, who had denounced Reagan's decision, to reverse himself. Noting that "a potentially life-threatening situation existed on the island," the Speaker said that the invasion "was justified under these particular circumstances."

Read more:,9171,926318-2,00.html


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Peggy Noonan: The Speech Obama hasn't given
« Reply #146 on: March 26, 2011, 07:48:13 AM »
It all seems rather mad, doesn't it? The decision to become involved militarily in the Libyan civil war couldn't take place within a less hospitable context. The U.S. is reeling from spending and deficits, we're already in two wars, our military has been stretched to the limit, we're restive at home, and no one, really, sees President Obama as the kind of leader you'd follow over the top. "This way, men!" "No, I think I'll stay in my trench." People didn't hire him to start battles but to end them. They didn't expect him to open new fronts. Did he not know this?

He has no happy experience as a rallier of public opinion and a leader of great endeavors; the central initiative of his presidency, the one that gave shape to his leadership, health care, is still unpopular and the cause of continued agitation. When he devoted his entire first year to it, he seemed off point and out of touch.

This was followed by the BP oil spill, which made him look snakebit. Now he seems incompetent and out of his depth in foreign and military affairs. He is more observed than followed, or perhaps I should say you follow him with your eyes and not your heart. So it's funny he'd feel free to launch and lead a war, which is what this confused and uncertain military action may become.

What was he thinking? What is he thinking?

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Barbara Kelley
 .Which gets me to Mr. Obama's speech, the one he hasn't given. I cannot for the life of me see how an American president can launch a serious military action without a full and formal national address in which he explains to the American people why he is doing what he is doing, why it is right, and why it is very much in the national interest. He referred to his aims in parts of speeches and appearances when he was in South America, but now he's home. More is needed, more is warranted, and more is deserved. He has to sit at that big desk and explain his thinking, put forward the facts as he sees them, and try to garner public support. He has to make a case for his own actions. It's what presidents do! And this is particularly important now, because there are reasons to fear the current involvement will either escalate and produce a lengthy conflict or collapse and produce humiliation.

Without a formal and extended statement, the air of weirdness, uncertainty and confusion that surrounds this endeavor will only deepen.

The questions that must be answered actually start with the essentials. What, exactly, are we doing? Why are we doing it? At what point, or after what arguments, did the president decide U.S. military involvement was warranted? Is our objective practical and doable? What is America's overriding strategic interest? In what way are the actions taken, and to be taken, seeing to those interests?

 Matthew Kaminski of the editorial board explains America's role in the Libyan campaign.
.From those questions flow many others. We know who we're against—Moammar Gadhafi, a bad man who's done very wicked things. But do we know who we're for? That is, what does the U.S. government know or think it knows about the composition and motives of the rebel forces we're attempting to assist? For 42 years, Gadhafi controlled his nation's tribes, sects and groups through brute force, bribes and blandishments. What will happen when they are no longer kept down? What will happen when they are no longer oppressed? What will they become, and what role will they play in the coming drama? Will their rebellion against Gadhafi degenerate into a dozen separate battles over oil, power and local dominance?

What happens if Gadhafi hangs on? The president has said he wants U.S. involvement to be brief. But what if Gadhafi is fighting on three months from now?

On the other hand, what happens if Gadhafi falls, if he's deposed in a palace coup or military coup, or is killed, or flees? What exactly do we imagine will take his place?

Supporters of U.S. intervention have argued that if we mean to protect Libya's civilians, as we have declared, then we must force regime change. But in order to remove Gadhafi, they add, we will need to do many other things. We will need to provide close-in air power. We will probably have to put in special forces teams to work with the rebels, who are largely untrained and ragtag. The Libyan army has tanks and brigades and heavy weapons. The U.S. and the allies will have to provide the rebels training and give them support. They will need antitank missiles and help in coordinating air strikes.

Once Gadhafi is gone, will there be a need for an international peacekeeping force to stabilize the country, to provide a peaceful transition, and to help the post-Gadhafi government restore its infrastructure? Will there be a partition? Will Libyan territory be altered?

None of this sounds like limited and discrete action.

In fact, this may turn out to be true: If Gadhafi survives, the crisis will go on and on. If Gadhafi falls, the crisis will go on and on.

Everyone who supports the Libyan endeavor says they don't want an occupation. One said the other day, "We're not looking for a protracted occupation."


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.Mr. Obama has apparently set great store in the fact that he was not acting alone, that Britain, France and Italy were eager to move. That's good—better to work with friends and act in concert. But it doesn't guarantee anything. A multilateral mistake is still a mistake. So far the allied effort has not been marked by good coordination and communication. If the conflict in Libya drags on, won't there tend to be more fissures, more tension, less commitment and more confusion as to objectives and command structures? Could the unanticipated results of the Libya action include new strains, even a new estrangement, among the allies?

How might Gadhafi hit out, in revenge, in his presumed last days, against America and the West?

And what, finally, about Congress? Putting aside the past half-century's argument about declarations of war, doesn't Congress, as representative of the people, have the obvious authority and responsibility to support the Libyan endeavor, or not, and to authorize funds, or not?

These are all big questions, and there are many other obvious ones. If the Libya endeavor is motivated solely by humanitarian concerns, then why haven't we acted on those concerns recently in other suffering nations? It's a rough old world out there, and there's a lot of suffering. What is our thinking going forward? What are the new rules of the road, if there are new rules? Were we, in Libya, making a preemptive strike against extraordinary suffering—suffering beyond what is inevitable in a civil war?

America has been through a difficult 10 years, and the burden of proof on the need for U.S. action would be with those who supported intervention. Chief among them, of course, is the president, who made the decision as commander in chief. He needs to sit down and tell the American people how this thing can possibly turn out well. He needs to tell them why it isn't mad.


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This sums up our problems for the next 100 years pretty well.

The Middle East Crisis Has Just Begun
For the U.S., democracy's fate in the region matters much less than the struggle between the Saudis and Iran

Despite the military drama unfolding in Libya, the Middle East is only beginning to unravel. American policy-makers have been spoiled by events in Tunisia and Egypt, both of which boast relatively sturdy institutions, civil society associations and middle classes, as well as being age-old clusters of civilization where states of one form or another have existed since antiquity. Darker terrain awaits us elsewhere in the region, where states will substantially weaken once the carapace of tyranny crumbles. The crucial tests lie ahead, beyond the distraction of Libya.

The United States may be a democracy, but it is also a status quo power, whose position in the world depends on the world staying as it is. In the Middle East, the status quo is unsustainable because populations are no longer afraid of their rulers. Every country is now in play. Even in Syria, with its grisly security services, widespread demonstrations have been reported and protesters killed. There will be no way to appease the region's rival sects, ethnicities and other interest groups except through some form of democratic representation, but anarchic quasi-democracy will satisfy no one. Other groups will emerge, and they may be distinctly illiberal.

Whatever happens in Libya, it is not necessarily a bellwether for the Middle East. The Iranian green movement knows that Western air forces and navies are not about to bomb Iran in the event of a popular uprising, so it is unclear what lesson we are providing to the region. Because outside of Iran, and with the arguable exceptions of Syria and Libya itself, there is no short-term benefit for the U.S. in democratic revolts in the region. In fact, they could be quite destructive to our interests, even as they prove to be unstoppable.

Yemen, strategically located on the Gulf of Aden, as well as the demographic core of the Arabian Peninsula and a haunt of al Qaeda, is more important to American interests than Libya. In Yemen, too, a longtime ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has shot protesters in the street to keep order. Yemen constitutes the most armed populace in the world, with almost four times as many firearms as people. It is fast running out of ground water, and the median age of the population is 17. This is to say nothing of the geographical, political and sectarian divisions in the sprawling, mountainous country. However badly Mr. Saleh has ruled Yemen, more chaos may follow him. Coverage by Al Jazeera can help to overthrow a government like his, but it can't help to organize new governments.

In Jordan, at the other end of the Arabian Peninsula, democratic pressure will force King Abdullah to give more power to the Islamists and to urban Palestinians. The era of a dependable, pro-Western Jordan living in peace with Israel may not go on indefinitely. Bahrain, meanwhile, may descend into a low-level civil war. The country's Shia have legitimate complaints against the ruling Sunni royal family, but their goals will play into Iranian hands.

Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain and the other Gulf states are all individually more important than Libya because they constitute Saudi Arabia's critical near-abroad. In this era of weakening central authority throughout the Middle East, the core question for the U.S. will be which regime lasts longer: Saudi Arabia's or Iran's. If the Saudi monarchy turns out to have more staying power, we will wrest a great strategic victory from this process of unrest; if Iran's theocracy prevails, it will signal a fundamental eclipse of American influence in the Middle East.

Criticize the Saudi royals all you want—their country requires dramatic economic reform, and fast—but who and what would replace them? There is no credible successor on the horizon. Even as Saudi Arabia's youthful population, 40% of which is unemployed, becomes more restive, harmony within the royal family is beginning to fray as the present generation of leaders gives way to a new one. And nothing spells more trouble for a closed political system than a divided elite. Yes, Iran experienced massive antiregime demonstrations in 2009 and smaller ones more recently. But the opposition there is divided, and the regime encompasses various well-institutionalized power centers, thus making a decapitation strategy particularly hard to achieve. The al Sauds may yet fall before the mullahs do, and our simplistic calls for Arab democracy only increase that possibility.

Democracy is part of America's very identity, and thus we benefit in a world of more democracies. But this is no reason to delude ourselves about grand historical schemes or to forget our wider interests. Precisely because so much of the Middle East is in upheaval, we must avoid entanglements and stay out of the domestic affairs of the region. We must keep our powder dry for crises ahead that might matter much more than those of today.

Our most important national-security resource is the time that our top policy makers can devote to a problem, so it is crucial to avoid distractions. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fragility of Pakistan, Iran's rush to nuclear power, a possible Israeli military response—these are all major challenges that have not gone away. This is to say nothing of rising Chinese naval power and Beijing's ongoing attempt to Finlandize much of East Asia.

We should not kid ourselves. In foreign policy, all moral questions are really questions of power. We intervened twice in the Balkans in the 1990s only because Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic had no nuclear weapons and could not retaliate against us, unlike the Russians, whose destruction of Chechnya prompted no thought of intervention on our part (nor did ethnic cleansing elsewhere in the Caucasus, because it was in Russia's sphere of influence). At present, helping the embattled Libyan rebels does not affect our interests, so we stand up for human rights there. But helping Bahrain's embattled Shia, or Yemen's antiregime protesters, would undermine key allies, so we do nothing as demonstrators are killed in the streets.

Of course, just because we can't help everywhere does not mean we can't help somewhere. President Barack Obama has steered a reasonable middle course. He was right to delay action in Libya until the Arab League, the United Nations Security Council, France and Great Britain were fully on board, and even then to restrict our military actions and objectives. He doesn't want the U.S. to own the Libyan problem, which could drag on chaotically for years. President Obama is not feeble, as some have said; he is cunning.

Like former President George H.W. Bush during the collapse of the Soviet Union, he intuits that when history is set in motion by forces greater than our own, we should interfere as little as possible so as not to provoke unintended consequences. The dog that didn't bark when the Berlin Wall fell was the intervention of Soviet troops to restore parts of the empire. The dog that won't bark now, we should hope, is the weakening of the Saudi monarchy, to which America's vital interests are tied. So long as the current regime in Iran remains in place, the U.S. should not do anything to encourage protests in Riyadh.

In the background of the ongoing Middle Eastern drama looms the shadow of a rising China. China is not a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system, as we proclaim it should be; it is a free rider. We are at war in Afghanistan to make it a safe place for China to extract minerals and metals. We have liberated Iraq so that Chinese firms can extract its oil. Now we are at war with Libya, which further diverts us from concentrating on the western Pacific—the center of the world's economic and naval activity—which the Chinese military seeks eventually to dominate.

Every time we intervene somewhere, it quickens the pace at which China, whose leaders relish obscurity in international affairs, closes the gap with us. China will have economic and political problems of its own ahead, no doubt, and these will interrupt its rise. But China is spending much less to acquire an overseas maritime empire than we are spending, with all our interventions, merely to maintain ours.

The arch-realist approach would be to forswear a moral narrative altogether and to concentrate instead on our narrow interests in the Middle East. The problem is that if we don't provide a narrative, others will, notably al Qaeda, whose fortunes will rise as the region's dictators, with their useful security services, struggle to survive. But we should craft our narrative with care. It should focus on the need for political and social reform, not on regime change.

Order is preferable to disorder. Just consider what happened to Iraq after we toppled Saddam Hussein. The U.S. should not want Iraq's immediate past to be a foretaste of the region's future.


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Re: US Foreign Policy
« Reply #148 on: March 26, 2011, 10:47:21 AM »
"Of course, just because we can't help everywhere does not mean we can't help somewhere. President Barack Obama has steered a reasonable middle course. He was right to delay action in Libya until the Arab League, the United Nations Security Council, France and Great Britain were fully on board, and even then to restrict our military actions and objectives. He doesn't want the U.S. to own the Libyan problem, which could drag on chaotically for years. President Obama is not feeble, as some have said; he is cunning"

I agree that Obama is right to keep us out of it unlike Hillary and McCain who can't seem to wait to jump in to "prevent a humanitarian crises".
I don't agree doing anything under the guise of Nato or the UN makes any sense other than creating a huge amount of confusion.
He certainly didn't help specifying Ghaddafi must go than get cold feet realizing that whoever/whatever replaces him could be worse and back off that declaration.
I wouldn't call that cunning as much as stupid and incompetent.

And GHWBush started this whole coalition thing.  What a darn mess this has left us with now.
Kaplan is exactly right that China freeloads.  And why not?  This country is lead by a bunch of suckers and idiots. 
Even O'Reilly is talking up this "we are an exceptional nation".  Oh really?  So that means we were founded on having to be the world's Nanny???
I don't think our founders had any inclination for that.

Hey Bill.  Why don't you buy 50 million in arms and pay off some mercenaries to go fight and arm the "rebels" and you stop the "humanitarian cirses".
The rest of the US is broke.


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WSJ: Robert Gates Interview
« Reply #149 on: March 27, 2011, 06:31:03 AM »
ABOARD THE NATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATIONS CENTER—Robert Gates is a compact and unassuming man, but a U.S. Secretary of Defense does not travel in compact or unassuming ways. The National Airborne Operations Center, a.k.a. the "doomsday plane," is a giant, windowless fortress of an aircraft built during the Cold War and designed to survive a nuclear war. In just five days the 67-year-old Secretary has flown it to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Cairo, Tel Aviv (with a stop in Ramallah) and Amman, and held parleys with two presidents, three prime ministers, three ministers of defense and a king.

By the time it's my turn to step into the plane's conference room, Mr. Gates, tieless and in blue jeans, looks bushed. He has just wrapped up a nearly two-hour phone call on Libya with President Obama and the National Security Council. NATO is about to assume primary responsibility for enforcing the no-fly zone. Benghazi has been saved by Western intervention but it's far from clear whether other besieged cities will have equal luck.

I begin by asking Mr. Gates the same question House Speaker John Boehner recently put to Mr. Obama: Is it acceptable for Moammar Gadhafi to remain in power after the military mission concludes?

"This mission was never about regime change," Mr. Gates says. "Certainly it was not one of the military objectives." He recites the mandate of U.N. Security Council resolutions—to establish a no-fly zone and protect civilians—and concludes: "I think we've come pretty close to accomplishing those objectives."

Does that mean "Mission Accomplished"? Even as we spoke, the besieged Libyan city of Misurata was without water and electricity and running low on food and medicine. Yet Mr. Gates is sanguine, though perhaps less about the outcome for Libya than for the U.S. The imposition of the no-fly zone, he says proudly, was "a textbook case."

He appears even more pleased by the benefits to the Pentagon of the transition to NATO control: "The resources that we're going to commit to it are, I think, almost certainly going to diminish," he says, describing a U.S. support role that includes "electronic warfare" and "tanking fighters [aerial refueling] from other countries."

But where does all this leave the Libyan people? Twice Mr. Gates stresses that "at the end of the day this needs to be settled by the Libyans themselves," adding that "I don't think we ever had illusions about the ability to reverse the gains [Gadhafi had made] on the ground, other than stopping him from doing more and stopping him from slaughtering civilians." But he also says that if Gadhafi "were to send a big column toward Benghazi there would be the authority to take it out." The suggestion here is that NATO will not do very much to help the rebels to win, but it will backstop them to keep them from losing.

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Zina Saunders
 .It's hard to deny the virtues of this approach: It does not overcommit the West, either militarily or financially; it stems the bloodletting even if it doesn't halt it; and it asks the Libyans to win their own freedom. But it's equally difficult to deny its drawbacks, not the least of which is that the longer Gadhafi hangs on to power the longer the crisis will roil Western politics and consume Western resources.

Here again Mr. Gates seems fairly optimistic. "The idea that [Gadhafi] needs to go . . . goes without saying," he says. "But how long it takes, how it comes about, remains to be seen. Whether elements of the army decide to go to the other side, as some small elements have, whether the family cracks—who knows how this is going to play out."

He is less persuasive when he starts naming the various nonmilitary tools, such as economic sanctions and indictments from the International Criminal Court, that the West could use to bring further pressure on Gadhafi. Saddam Hussein survived a dozen years under sanctions and a no-fly zone, and Sudan's Omar Bashir has more or less laughed off the ICC indictments against him for genocide.

A larger consideration for Mr. Gates is how the crisis in Libya fits into American interests. "There are American national security interests and American vital interests where, in my view, we need to act decisively and if necessary act unilaterally," he says. "This is not one of them."

Then again, neither does Mr. Gates think that the crisis in Libya amounts to little more than a strictly humanitarian tragedy, on a par with, say, last year's earthquake in Haiti. "It is a concern of ours if more than a million Egyptians in Libya decide they have to immigrate home. It is a concern if civil war contributes to destabilization in either Tunisia or Egypt." Libya, he concludes, "is not a vital national interest of the United States. But it is an interest."

Mention of Egypt turns the interview to the subject of the broader changes taking place throughout the Middle East. Mr. Gates call them "tectonic . . . frozen for 60 years and now all of a sudden they're all moving." His counsel is to deal with countries as they are and situations as they come—"our reaction in Libya will be very different than our reaction in Tunisia or in Egypt or Bahrain"—but he also sees lessons.

"Maybe the Syrians can take a lesson out of what happened in Egypt, where the army stood aside and let the people demonstrate," he says when I ask what he makes of the growing domestic opposition to the regime of Bashar Assad. But as for whether he would favor regime change in Damascus, he strikes a more cautious note: "No, I'm not going to go that far."

Mr. Gates also rejects the view that the ultimate winner from the upheavals throughout the Middle East is Iran. He notes the "very stark" contrast between the "repression of any dissent, any protest, compared with what is going on in any number of other countries in the region." Over the longer term, he says, "this is a hugely negative message in terms of Iran and what Iran is trying to do."

Still, Mr. Gates awards the Biggest Loser trophy to al Qaeda, which he believes is "being rendered irrelevant, at least in a political sense." Al Qaeda's basic political pitch, and the source of its popular appeal, rests on the idea that the only way of replacing corrupt Muslim governments with better ones is through violence. Now, the examples of Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere "show that these are countries that are tolerating demonstrations." In that sort of atmosphere, Mr. Gates seems to think, the appeal of the bullet or bomb is bound to wane, while the appeal of the ballot box will grow.

More Gates optimism. Is it justified? Al Qaeda has never lacked for excuses, or recruits, to mount terrorist attacks, whether against despotisms or democracies. In Egypt, last week's referendum on a package of constitutional reforms that pave the way toward early parliamentary and presidential elections was a huge win for the Muslim Brotherhood, which stands to gain from going to the polls before its secular opponents can organize. The Iranian "political model" may be out of vogue on the Arab street, but that doesn't mean that all of Tehran's regional ventures—including support for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon—are unsuccessful or unpopular.

As our interview nears its end, I turn to a speech Mr. Gates gave last month to the cadets at West Point. In widely quoted remarks, he said that "Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as Gen. MacArthur so delicately put it." I ask him whether that line should be taken to suggest that the United States should never have entered the wars it is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"To tell you the truth, I wish I hadn't even had that sentence in the speech," he confesses. "I should have taken it out because it was a distraction from the larger message in the speech, which was the importance of the flexibility of the American military to deal with a range of threats."

Mr. Gates clearly seems pained by the subject and eager to clear the record. "I'm the guy who not only increased the end strength of the Army and the Marine Corps, but pressed for the increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan. I totally believe in the mission that we're in in Afghanistan. And so, you know, I was really dismayed to see that what I had said was interpreted as questioning the mission in Afghanistan, because I absolutely do not. I totally believe in it."

Again, Mr. Gates circles back to his point: "I believe we have a winning strategy. So I am totally committed in that respect. And just to repeat, I was just really dismayed that what I said was misinterpreted that way."

Mr. Gates has made it clear that his tenure as secretary will end this year, and his trip last week—particularly in St. Petersburg, where he addressed naval officers and reminisced about the Cold War—had a wistful, valedictory quality. It seems appropriate to ask him to define his legacy.

"I have a feeling I'm going to get asked this question a lot," Mr. Gates says, laughing.

His answer comes in two parts. "When I took this job," he says, everybody—meaning journalists, politicians and so on—had said I would be judged on the outcome in Iraq, and I testified my agenda in this job is Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. And so I think that the partnership with [General] Dave Petraeus and having Iraq be the place it is—that'll be one of the principal evaluations that I think are made of my time in office."

Then he comes to the second part: "The thing that would mean the most to me when I leave this job is if those kids in uniform remember they had a secretary of defense who, from the first day, they knew had their back."

Mr. Stephens writes the Journal's Global View column.