It's a war to be enagaged from the air on Qaddafi's ground forces, with no guarantee of success. The Highchair Analyst:
I too was initially caught up in an emotional moment, but it became evident over the past several weeks that a No-Fly Zone would have a limited effect, especially since the largest threat to civilians has been what is on the ground and not in the air. During that time the mood shifted, particularly in Washington, from sanctions to cruise missiles.
Part of that shift may have been a concern that failing to act in Libya would be seen as a failure to support Arab democracies and would scuttle continued regional movements in that direction. However, the likely outcome from this is that events in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and other states will be sidelined until Libya is resolved, however long that may be. If anyone thought that Japan's disasters were a distraction from MENA's democratic movements, an expanded Libyan war will be only more so. Don't forget that within hours of Resolution 1973, dozens were killed in Yemen and Emergency Law was declared.
In the grand scheme of things, this new war could even risk derailing democratic movements elsewhere, by turning the Arab 1848 into a Western intervention question.
By changing the narrative, by not letting the Arab world find its own equilibrium, the administration may have unwittingly done damage to the revolutionary momentum.How many time can one insist: this is not about us. But Clinton, reared in the 1990s, cannot resist interjecting the US where it does not belong. And Obama's alleged remark - "days, not weeks" - is a hostage to fortune. Let me just say I will hold the president to his word. After a week, if the US has not withdrawn its forces from the Mediterranean, we should ask Obama: why not?
The cynical part of me wonders if Clinton's war is also a means of distracting the American public as the administration continues to back regimes in the region that are brutally repressing their populations - in Yemen and Bahrain - because in those other cases, the administration prefers to advance its war against al Qaeda and its isolation of Iran, rather than promote democracy.
I know they're in a tough spot. But it is because I support the Obama administration's profound shift in US foreign policy that I worry so much about this massive, misguided, and increasingly chaotic step backward.