Larison:

I find it odd that so many interventionists are citing support from the Arab League and the GCC in their arguments for attacking Libya. This would be the same Arab League that includes all of the members of the GCC, which is presently engaged in a crackdown on behalf of Bahrain’s government. The GCC would be doing this whether or not there were a debate about intervening in Libya, but it’s a useful reminder that multilateral intervention doesn’t have to be only on the side of rebels and oppressed groups.

So by going to war against Libya, we are also forced implicitly to back the repressive Sunni autocracy in Bahrain. Morally, snuffing out Bahrainian reform is worth less than standing by as a full-scale massacre occurs in Benghazi. But there are costs and benefits to both over the long run and I suspect the US has sacrificed a huge amount for this denagerous adventure. Real reform in Bahrain could be far more important for US interests than nation-building in Libya.

Some argue that by ceding the leadership to the Europeans, the US has pulled off a serious multilateral trick - advancing collective security by an intervention demanded by Britain and France. But why not then ask the Brits and French and Arabs to go to war by themselves in furtherance of their own interests, and merely offer UN support? I sure hope that this war will be paid for entirely by Britain and France and Saudi Arabia. But somehow, I doubt it, don't you?

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