Monday, March 28, 2011

An International Response

Less than one hour ago, President Obama updated the American people of the current situation in Libya. One key piece of information to take away from his message is that our response to the crisis in Libya comes as part of an international effort to prevent the prospect of “violence on horrific proportions” and ensure that Moammar Gadhafi is held accountable for his brutal actions.

Since the start of this conflict, as was the similar case for the recent Egyptian uprising, Obama has repeatedly emphasized that it is the responsibility of the Libyan people to take charge of their government. Unlike Egypt, however, the Libyans are being brutally and violently suppressed in their quest for democracy.

By joining an international coalition, alongside nations like the UK, France, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. is simply helping to enforce the United Nation’s Security Council’s resolution to free the Libyan people.

As Obama said in his speech tonight, “American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.” This is the kind of leadership we have shown in Libya.

However, we must not equate this situation with our response in Iraq. Instead, Obama is committed to having the U.S. play a limited, but supporting, role in Libya. We are fulfilling our responsibility to our allies, acting WITH the international community, and taking advantage of the fact that we can prevent mass genocide and help a nation’s oppressed people WIHTOUT deploying ground troops.

Soon, with NATO taking command of the operation, the U.S. would have fulfilled our pledge to assist the Libyan people while still serving America’s best interest. As the president emphasized:

“America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya's borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful — yet fragile — transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. [Also] The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security.”

Inaction would have greater costs for the U.S. and the world community by putting a heavy, and most likely deadly, toll on the men, women, and children of Libya.


  1. I would agree that Obama did this with cause and for just reasons... but I am pretty sure the rest of the world might not all view it the same way and this might promote an even worse image for the US.

  2. Well it certainly won't tarner a worse image for the U.S. than what Bush did with the Iraq War.

    Bush did NOT have approval of the world community, whereas Obama DOES. Bush acted alone, in the U.S.'s "best" interests. Obama is acting with the UN and NATO in the global community's "best" interests. Bush forcefully invaded Iraq, giving the Iraqi people little choice in their country's outcome. Obama is not sending any ground troops and ensuring that the Libyan people have full control over their country's future.

  3. I found it very interesting that Obama said they aren't going after regime change. The goal was left a little ambiguous, I think. We are there to protect the Libyan people and to do what the opposition asked of us. Obama has very pointed language for Gaddhafi, and yet won't threaten military action against him.

    I don't know how I feel about that, I just thought it was really interesting.

  4. The involvement of the U.S. in Libya will always be an issue of contention among Americans. However,I support this decision ONLY IF other countries step up to the plate. Some colleagues of mine have given me numbers of committment regarding enforcement of the no fly zone, where U.S. is proportionally higher than its European allies. If we want this to end quickly, these other countries need to be more "allied" and support the mission wholeheartedly that they are a part of. They should not be conservative, and help the world power that helped them during the World Wars. Initially, I was not sure of the whole Libya incident, but I agree now that it could work if more coalitions and cooperation occurs.

  5. I agree with the above post. The Allies must step up and take on military and financial burden for helping solve this crisis. Why must America always be the first to stand up and the most involved in such conflicts? Also, do we even have the money to spend on this? We have enough problems domestically that we must address such as education and economic reform. We need to focus on solving our domestic problems before we become the world's police force.

  6. In response to the above post: I would say first and foremost that it doesn't matter if we have the money for it, technically. It is our duty, as a major partner of the UN and NATO, to get involved in this limited way in Libya. If we do not, the entire UN and NATO would be undervalued.

    Second, it is not that costly because it already is an INTERNATIONAL effort, with no ground troops, etc.

    Third, it will be much cheaper to act now than later, with greater chances of the UN and NATO being undermined, Egypt tumbling, future genocides, etc.

    We are NOT at war. We are simply fulfilling our duties to the international community. Now, with NATO taking command, more countries (although each has already been involved), will do more. In fact, Hillary Clinton just met with over 30 foreign leaders today in London to talk about Libya.


Do You Agree or Disagree? Why? Please leave comments.