Peter Feaver finds the Obama administration's approach at cross purposes with itself:
Up until now, the Obama administration has not really issued a clear policy. Instead, the administration has expressed a vague hope that Qaddafi would step down of his own accord or be forced out without the United States having to do much. In support of this hope, the Obama administration has articulated a number of policies that work at cross purposes. For instance, the threat of war crime charges undercuts the likelihood of Qaddafi stepping down; if he steps down he exposes himself to prosecution whereas he stands a fighting chance of avoiding the war crimes tribunal if he clings to power. The freezing of assets is a plausible way to weaken Qaddafi, but it also makes it less likely he will flee -- he would want access to his stash if he took the Idi Amin option of ignominious exile. And so on. Once Qaddafi has re-solidified control, the Obama administration will have to settle on a single coherent policy with a clear strategic objective. Will they pursue regime change? Or will they "reset" relations?
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.