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The Libyan Dilemma

8 Mar


Though numbers still unclear, at this point it is safe to estimate that the death tolls are officially in the thousands in Libya, and will soon climb as refugees flee into neighboring Tunisia. The situation is dire, especially in the case of Qaddafi, who sports not only a name of ambiguous spelling, but an ill-defined mandate over the people of Libya, whose apparent unhappiness he refuses to acknowledge. At the moment, the U.S  is considering, at most, the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, actions seen as too soft in comparison to the beliefs held by some representatives. It seems possible though, as the NY Times article mentions,  that the U.S has exhausted its capabilities and appetite of intervention. It cites the Iraq war for this exhaustion, but the article also notes past failures of intervention, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Herzegovina are some, that point to a need to take a strong stance on the crisis unfolding in an area that is key to global oil interests. The failure of these past and current crises, and the NY Times analysis, seem to points in two different directions, suggesting the U.S should either intervene strongly in the crisis to provide humanitarian aid, or, in light of Iraq, do nothing at all. The U.S does not, at this time, appear to be ready for intervention. Obama’s reluctance to impose a no-fly zone over Libya makes it seem improbable that significant humanitarian intervention in the form of human capital is imminent, and many of Obama’s political critics have been taking advantage of his indecisiveness to gain political credibility for their party come 2012. Out of all this talk comes the reality: If the U.S fails to intervene in Libya, the world will be once again guilty of inaction, with politics trumping the real needs of others. As the U.S emerges from 2 wars, neither the U.S public nor its leaders have an appetite for intervention. Perhaps we have loved our democratic causes a little too much in our recent past to make room for the legitimate intervention of the present.