But here’s what (Obama) may not have taken into consideration: The perception trap.
We’re involved in Libya and Obama will ultimately be judged not just around the world, but here in the United States, on how it turns out.
So, despite the fact that the best thing Obama could do at this point would be to just get the hell out of there, it won’t be so easy. That’s because if let’s say, the coalition falls apart, Obama will be blamed. If Gadaffi stays in power, Obama will be blamed. If Gadaffi slaughters the rebels, Obama will be blamed. If Gadaffi is overthrown and the country becomes an Islamic Republic or splits into squabbling parts, Obama will be blamed. That’s the price you pay for being the biggest dog in the pack. You can tell everybody you’re just another poodle, but everybody knows better.
That’s why sadly, tragically, Obama is about to get an education in that line from the Godfather, “I try to get out and they keep pulling me back in.” Let’s hope that Obama has gotten enough on-the-job training at this point to keep our troops home and just take any PR hits that may come. — John Hawkins, March 2011
With NATO’s help, the rebel forces have moved into Tripoli and now it looks like Gadaffi is finally on the ropes. Soon, a dictator will be gone and then….well, we really don’t know.
This is a country that has no experience with democracy, a considerable amount of oil to fight over, a number of disparate rebel groups that will all want a lion’s share of the power, and no firm plan in place for what comes next.
There seems to be an assumption that Libya will become a democracy after Gadaffi’s gone. That’s an iffy assumption at best. Libya could just as easily become a terrorist friendly mullahocracy, split into civil war, turn into a new Somalia, or come under the power of a strong man who’s just as bad as Gadaffi.
So, where does that leave America? Well, we’re already almost up to the billion dollar mark and we haven’t even gotten to the hard part yet.
Gadaffi’s forces were pathetic. The fact that it’s taken this long to dispatch them actually shows how incredibly weak NATO is as a military alliance. How difficult? Difficult is trying to get Libya to pull together into some sort of democracy without a massive army of American troops on the group to keep order and keep them in line.
This is the no-win situation Obama put America into.
It’s likely to be a long difficult road to freedom for the Libyan people if they ever reach it at all, but Obama has put America’s prestige on the line to help guarantee exactly that outcome. And if he succeeds? Well, American interests were never at stake in Libya in the first place; so if we succeed, we’ll have gained exactly nothing. That’s why this was a lose/lose endeavor from the day Obama chose to get us involved militarily instead of just offering moral support and military supplies. Moreover, while it would be grand to see the Libyan people freed from Gadaffi, we went about it in exactly the wrong way.