No solution on Libya yet, but everyday brings new challenges, that’s for sure! Here is what I ratified today:
1. My first thought discusses revising an old debate
2. Gen. Petraeus makes a joke about bombing Libya
3. Daniel Drezner doubts the Tea Party’s ambitions on foreign policy
4. Map, maps, and more maps on Libya and learn about “No Fly Zones”
5. President Obama’s “do-nothingness” is the same as all presidents
Overtime: Senators will air grievances on Obama’s China ambassador nomination
Conservative critics have been ragging on the president for not doing enough on Libya. Jennifer Rubin finds this dithering to be pathetic and ineffective. Others suggest the president could be facing a world of hurt from voters if he does not act fast enough. Truth is, the president is acting about as fast as most presidents do when a crisis like this comes up.
Currently, the United Nations Security Council is drafting a resolution, from Great Britain and France, that would establish a “No Fly Zone” in Libya. They are hoping to use language that might bring the two naysayer countries, Russia and China, on board. The U.S., France, and Britain are also contacting the African Union and the Arab League to discuss options. All of this is part of a multilateral effort. Yes, President Obama could have drafted a senate resolution ordering the bombing of Libya, forcing the U.S. to enter the country alone. If he did that everyone would cry foul because he did not consult the international community.
All presidents usually consult international bodies before big commitments. Truman did, and got it, before Korea, George H.W. Bush got support from the U.N. and the Arab League before the Gulf War, Clinton received help from NATO before the Balkans affair, and George W. Bush tried to get a U.N. resolution passed on Iraq. Many would like to bypass multilateral organizations, aka many conservatives, but it would set a dangerous precedent if that was done.
Another way to think of it is when you ask you asked your parents for something, even though they might not give it to you. If they said “no” and you just got it anyway, at least you asked. If they said “yes” even better. So, the president is hardly “dithering” on Libya. He is just trying to get backing from other countries first before using unilateral force. A wise decision on his part.
Photo Credit: Yahoo News
If you are not that familiar with Libyan cities and towns where the rebels are fighting, the New York Times has a great map that explains what is going on. In addition, the BBC has a more lively map that shows where crucial oil lands and roads exist.
Foreign Policy blogger Daniel Drezner does not take the accounts of Walter Russell Meade and P.J. O’Rourke very seriously to form a coherent argument about the Tea Party foreign policy because the Tea Party itself is, well, incoherent. Furthermore, Drezner says the Tea Party will probably soon be forgotten in he modern political mind as fast as it came into being:
Mead makes a similar observation, but argues that passionate minorities can still wield veto power in American politics, and that eventually, “the contest in the Tea Party between what might be called its Palinite and its Paulite wings will likely end in a victory for the Palinities.” This implies the status quo of different elements of the Tea Party movement holding contradictory views cannot hold — and I see no reason why it can’t. The simplest fact about the Tea Party is that, by and large, they don’t care about foreign policy.
The only issue areas where I suspect the Tea Party will really matter going forward are in the policies that cater to both wing’s inherent American nationalism — namely, immigration and anti-Muslim
hysteria concerns. Beyond that, however, I suspect that ten years from now we’ll look back at the Tea Party movement the same way we now look ay Ross Perot’s Reform Party — a brief, interesting but in the end unstable collection of political oddities.
For those of you who are not up on the military lingo of “No Fly Zones,” Slate explains exactly how they work:
Drop some bombs, then fly in circles. Generally speaking, the first step in creating a no-fly zone is to blow up nearby anti-aircraft guns, missile batteries, radar installations, or anything else that might be used to shoot down a no-fly air patrol. Not every military commander takes that step: NATO planes didn’t wipe out the air defenses in northern or southern Iraq, or the former Yugoslavia, prior to launching patrols. But Defense Secretary Gates has made it clear that he won’t send combat planes into Libya without first laying the proper groundwork. If his plan were put into action, the United States would destroy Qaddafi’s defenses, then send pairs of fighter jets, mostly F-15s and F-16s, to fly around the country in irregular patterns for six-hour shifts. If the pilots were threatened by ground-based fire, they would engage in evasive maneuvers—quick acceleration, climbing, diving, and sweeping—to thwart the gunners before noting their position and responding with missile strikes.