Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Gunboat Diplomacy Gone Amok

Not since the days of Iraq's mushroom clouds and smoking guns has the American air been filled with more obfuscation than now in Libya.

The "inchoate coalition" there, we are told, "remains divided over the ultimate goal--and exit strategy" of what now looks like a "military campaign that could last for weeks."

The days of "gunboat diplomacy" are back, when great powers used shows of military strength to impose their will around the world. But in the Internet Age, the contradictions and confusion are there for all to see to complicate the mission.

As NATO takes command of the no-fly zone, the improbable picture of simply throwing an air-power blanket over Gaddafi to stop him from slaughtering his people starts to crumble under the reality that ground support and more conventional intervention will surely be needed to finish what has been started.

Still, the White House keeps insisting publicly, “It is a time-limited, scope-limited military action, in concert with our international partners with the objective of protecting civilian life in Libya.”

When did an Administration that came to power with promises of transparency decide that the American public was stupid?

Anonymously, a "senior official" admits, “We didn’t want to get sucked into an operation with uncertainty at the end," but “In some ways, how it turns out is not on our shoulders.”

Those who came to power on a wave of disgust over the Bush bunch doing just that should have known better. The least they can do now is stop the double talk and complicating the Libyan mess by refusing to admit that our goal, right or wrong, is to get rid of Gaddafi, and then go about doing it with the least possible further damage.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't blame you for having doubts.

But, to (1) establish and enforce a no-fly zone, (2) get a UN resolution without a veto from China or Russia, and (3) set up a NATO coalition that includes Turkey and support from the Arab League, all in about a week, is nothing short of masterful.

Yellow Dog Don said...

Admit we want Gaddafi gone? That brings to mind the punchline,"We know what you are, we are just deciding on the price."
The responsible party for the Lockerbie bombing should have been taken out of action long ago.