Mar. 19th, 2011 05:03 pm
eirias: (Default)
[personal profile] eirias
Hello, theater #3.

Why Libya? Yes, Qaddafi is reportedly an awful man; yes, a substantial faction in the country actually seems to want our help; yes, it's good that this is a multilateral effort; yes, I'll be excited if this works and he goes away. But this has not been the White House's approach to any of the other revolutions of a very revolutionary time in history.

Why Libya? Not morally, but practically -- what is actually motivating this choice? Why them, why now?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-19 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
1) Gaddafi pissed the US off back in 1970s with the 'line of death', which came to a head in 1981, in 1986, and again in 1989, and the military has been itching to finish the job since then.

2) The support of the Libyan government with respect to the hijacking of TWA 847 and the suspected (and now controversial) support of the bombing of Pam Am 103.

3) Unlike Egypt, where it was mostly peaceful, and Bahrain, where the government has been effective at squashing the opposition, the Libyan Opposition has been getting the violence on the air.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-19 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Another argument I read is that the US would greatly benefit from some of the other uprisings succeeding, but that involving ourselves is politically problematic, in that it would paint it as outside influence rather than a true grassroots movement of their people, and thus be harmful. But that taking action in Libya is something the US kind of wants to do anyway, sends a message that says we are willing to consider taking action in this sort of thing, and that if we can be successful in Libya and leave it better off than we find it, then we'd have credibility to help in other regions if we come in later and more as an assist to the people.

I do not know if any of this is valid. I really do not have nearly enough background to evaluate this sort of thing. But it seems potentially plausible to someone who doesn't know much.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-19 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cynical answers:

1. Because he really pissed us off in the 70s and 80s.
2. Because Libya has a crapload of light, sweet crude. And it's very easy to access crude too; none of this offshore drilling crap. Given that they haven't invested much in infrastructure and exploration under Qaddafi, it's possible that their undiscovered deposits could increase their reserves by 50%.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-19 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Known adequate news coverage; brand-name villain; unpopular president gets to be hero; budget controversy in which executive favors higher spending; with luck other countries can be made to do much of the work; prevent Iran (threatening to intervene in Bahrain) from winning the support-the-rebels news cycle. More generally: "War is the health of the state."

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-20 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't follow the budget controversy line -- how does that relate?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-20 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It puts a variety of obvious budget cuts (the periphery of the defense budget including a lot contract stuff like the fantastically corrupt aerial refueling contract dispute) off the table for fear of "didn't support the troops" counter-attacks. And even a single war-funding supplemental will more or less annihilates any chance that the Republicans will be able to deliver actual net budget cuts, which will in turn force them to find support outside of the Tea Party. Plus passing a war supplemental while still holding the overall budget process in week-to-week continuing resolutions will look astoundingly hypocritical.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-20 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My bet, which is, weirdly, by far the least cynical so far:

I genuinely think it is the multilateralism that makes the difference, and this is one of the first chances the administration has had to prove that. The Republicans accuse Obama of wanting the US to be "just one of the guys"; I'm not sure he'd disagree.

If enough other countries publicly agree that they want the US to help with some military thing, my bet is that Obama will go along with it every time. Not because "everyone else is doing it", but because it means the US is not using some special US-only test for when we would use military force that would be different from the test any other friendly country would use.

I'm not sure I agree with the policy, but if this is the "Obama Doctrine", I can live with it. It's certainly better than Bush's approach.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-20 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know why I have the least cynical response. Just for the record: I don't like the Democrats. I just think Obama has actual, sincere desires to implement certain policies which are not directly related to the next election cycle.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-20 04:00 pm (UTC)
ursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ursula
This was my impression, too.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-20 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The US has a history of fucking up in the middle east. Of all the uprisings in the past few years (including Iran in 2009), the one in Libya is the least complicated. Qaddaffi has a terrible and notorious history, and the crackdown on the protesters is much more violent than it was in Iran or Egypt. (Bahrain is complicated, because it was Saudi Arabian forces that went in to assist with the crackdown.)

Intervening in Libya probably seemed like an easy way for the US to start to redeem its reputation in the Middle East without damaging its diplomatic relationships with the powers in the region (i.e. Egypt and Saudi Arabia).

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-21 05:11 am (UTC)
cos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cos
If you're asking "why?" as compared to the various other revolutions and potential revolutions happening around the region this season, that's simple enough: Libya's is the only one that devolved into a real civil war between the government and the opposition, each armed, and each holding territory. It's the only one of these that's actually a war, of the sort where this kind of military intervention by air can be relevant. That in and of itself doesn't answer the basic "should we or shouldn't we?" question about Libya itself, but it's the reason why Libya is the only one where this question applies.


eirias: (Default)

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