Saturday, March 19, 2011

Has the President given his approval to Libyan regime persistency?

The approval by the U.N. Security Council Thursday for sovereign nations to use "all necessary measures" (see news brief here), to enforce a "no fly zone" over Libya and defend the civilian populace is, while perhaps too late to force out the regime of 41 year dictator Muammar Gadaffi, a welcome development.  Leaving aside the significant paradigm shift of a reduced stature of America in the world that European leadership-- it was after all French President Nicolas Sarkozy who led the international effort-- in getting the U.N's "permission" on this perhaps presages, of much more immediate concern is the apparent willingness of the Obama Administration to allow the Libyan regime to persist even after imposition of the Security Council's directive. In the words of President Obama yesterday,"If Col. Gadhafi does not comply with this resolution, the international community will impose consequences" (read full coverage by clicking here, for background see also here).

Of course, the operative term in the President's statement is "If."

To that end, Obama's statement is as interesting in what it says as the implications in what it doesn't say, (e.g. does it mean that if Gadaffi stops his brutal assault and advance on the rebels and civilian populace in Benghazi he might be allowed to hold on to power?).

Moreover, in line with the President's tendency towards ambivalence and prevarication, (see previous post on this blog "Obama's dithering dilemma, Part Two," posted March 17, 2011), this development means little to residents who have seen their hopes for a free and Democratic country recede as rapidly as the rebels without international support have lost ground in the last two weeks, (tracking an offensive launched by the African dictator against the rebels largely with paid mercenaries and a small core of loyal soldiers with heavier weaponry). 

Such prevarication of the President seems to bely a rift in his own administration, see here and here, with indications that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's previously expressed support for taking a "tougher line" and her behind-the-scenes consultation and insistence along with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and the influential Office of Multilateral and Human Rights Director Samantha Power to argue for airstrikes played a significant role in the President coming out in support of Libyan intervention and seeking the U.N. bodies approval (see here).

We sincerely hope that President Obama, having now received the international "consensus" it so craved on this matter, will now move forward with decisive action. 

Indeed, the world is watching whether the U.S. Administration is willing to do more than just "talk an issue to death" but will extend to defending both the aspirations of a people for freedom as well as the reputation of the United States, (which has been damaged by its ambivalence in the previous Egyptian uprisings and its approach to the Mid-east generally, click here).

It is our considered opinion that to leave this dictatorial regime in place would only insure one outcome, to wit: It would insure increased support for worldwide terrorism from an emboldened Libyan regime and future and escalated battles with the West.

Indeed, the increasing realization in the world that "talk is cheap" due to the West's persistent lack of resolve against Iran's expansion of its nuclear program and suspected development of nuclear weapons raises questions of American impotence and ability to accurately predict imminent changes in the political landscape and may, be encouraging other rogue regimes, actually endanger American lives in the future.  (After all, we all know what happens when you don't confront a bully, but if you don't, click here.  This aptly illustrates the truth that the right of self-defense is, as among individuals, an inherent natural right of all sovereign nations.)

Even more damaging to American global interests is that the United States, once considered a global and stalwart supporter of freedom, may now appear helpless to effect postive change in the world and this volatile region in particular, (and underscoring an unspoken fear on the part of many countries that they will be the next American "ally" who is hung out to dry, as the President's back and forth on American Mideast peace ally and partner in the war on terror that was Egypt under the Hosni Mubarack Administration highlighted in the minds of some, see herehere and here).  

So as the free world ponders what this latest statement of the President means, and watches to see, in fact, if there is any teeth left in this tiger that is still the world's most powerful superpower, (with all its attendant obligations), it waits with baited breath to see what exactly all this talk means in actual practice.  

So do we, Mr. President, so do we.  jp

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