Posts Tagged ‘approach

23
Mar
11

‘obama’s cautious approach is perfectly sensible’

UK Independent: …Think what would have happened if Washington had taken the lead in declaring a no-fly-zone over Libya without UN agreement or Arab backing. The people now criticising President Obama for dilatoriness would be accusing him of being another Bush. And if he’d refused to have anything to do with the no-fly-zone, commentators in Europe and the Middle East would be saying that it was because, at the end of the day, America doesn’t want democracy in the Arab world, that it prefers the rulers of Bahrain and Yemen to suppress revolt than bow before it….

…Obama’s cautious approach is perfectly sensible. Libya is not America’s dogfight. Thanks in large part to Lockerbie, Washington has never favoured Gaddafi. It is, in US eyes, and rightly, a European problem. It was France and Britain – Sarkozy and Blair – who spent their time sucking up so obscenely to the Libyan dictator, just as Silvio Berlusconi embraced him in a Faustian pact to stop illegal migration from Africa. Washington under President George W Bush certainly welcomed Gaddafi’s dramatic (and largely meaningless) gesture of giving up nuclear ambitions – but they didn’t sell their souls to him in the way we (the British), and the French, did.

Nor can Washington be blamed for being forced into military command of the first phase of the Libyan operation by the simple fact that it is only the US that has the hardware and control systems to do it. French objections to this becoming a Nato exercise are just so much hot air. They can’t do it, nor can the British in alliance with them.

Obama is also right to spell out, as he did this week, a clear separation between the objectives of the UN resolution, which is to protect Libyan civilians, and the objectives of American policy, which is to see the back of the Colonel.

…Once Gaddafi had turned the military tide and was openly threatening, by word as well as deed, to wreak his wrath on the rebels in Benghazi, the world couldn’t stand by and watch a massacre. Memories of Srebrenica and Rwanda are too raw for western politicians to allow it to happen again….

Full article here

18
Mar
11

‘caution is obama’s only option. but it’s working’

UK Independent: The United States appears to have been taking a back seat in coping with the Libyan crisis, leaving its European allies and the Arab world to make the running. And that is exactly how Washington wants it.

After Iraq and Afghanistan, there is little appetite on Capitol Hill and absolutely none in the White House for another US-led attack on a Muslim country, at least without the declared blessing – and better still, the participation – of other Arab states.

In the end, the Obama administration had little choice. However much it abhors the slightest risk of another Middle Eastern military entanglement, there was no way the US could be caught, as the well-worn American phrase goes, on the wrong side of history, watching from the sidelines as a dictator unleashed brutal violence against his own people.

With its authorisation of “all necessary force… short of foreign occupation” to protect the Libyan civilian population from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s onslaught, Thursday evening’s Security Council resolution at the United Nations essentially makes the best of a bad job. The mission has been couched in humanitarian terms. The resolution’s wording explicitly rules out an Iraq-style ground war. It follows approval by the Arab League of a no-fly zone over Libya, while White House officials made clear yesterday they expected logistical support from “Arab partners”.

…Like everyone else, the US is scrambling to keep up. And Washington must display an especially delicate touch, given its vast geo-strategic interests in the region, the need to preserve alliances and the importance of making sure the turbulence does not play out to the longer-term advantage of Iran.

Thus far, this cautious approach – one that reflects the instincts of Barack Obama – seems to be working. In Tunisia and Egypt, friendly governments were toppled but their replacements, at least for now, have not sought to break ties with Washington. Nor does radical Islam appear to be moving to fill the vacuum.

The Gaddafi regime’s declaration of a ceasefire after the Security Council resolution is also probably exactly what Washington wants. Whether it is sincere, or merely a ploy to buy time, the next few days will tell. But at least it raises the chance of a peaceful outcome.

Full article here

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following a meeting in the Oval Office, March 18, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)




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