Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obama and Libya

I've already seen columnists giving virtual back-slaps to President Obama on toppling Ghadaffy. I hope that the President has sense not to take an early victory lap for several reasons.

First, after informing Congress that the US was not involved in hostilities in Libya, he would make a total mockery of the War Powers Act to turn around and claim that we overthrew a dictator without any hostilities.

More important, we have no idea what will come next. Iraq looked good for the first few weeks after Saddam was overthrown. When Iran overthrew the Shaw, they set up a free and democratic government. Afghanistan looked like a major success in December, 2011.

There are many things that could go wrong. These include the establishment of a strict Islamic government that is more sympathetic to our enemies than to the US and its allies. Or the country could collapse into a series of ethnic feuds leading to an Iraq-style civil war or a Somalia-style failed state. We could easily end up with a semi-permanent peacekeeping force in Libya.

Or everyone could embrace and forget about 42 years of dictatorship.

The CIA must have some idea about the direction Libya is headed in. I hope that they shared it with the President and that he made the right choice in supporting the overthrow, even if he did limit our participation to "leading from the rear."

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