After Gadhafi, questions for Libya as well as NATO

Libyans will determine whether Moammar Gadhafi’s reported death today ultimately marks a new, more hopeful beginning for their nation, or simply another milepost on the brutal road they’ve been traveling for four decades. Gadhafi’s demise is undoubtedly a gain for them and for the world. But will it be augmented by strides toward democracy and peace, or negated by the rise of a new strong man in his place?

Revolutions keep their own time, whether aided by outsiders or not. Iraq’s future is brighter today than before the American overthrow of Saddam, but there were many, many dark moments along the way. Just next door, and two and a half decades earlier, Iranians’ U.S.-aided rebellion against the shah led to a militant theocracy that puts them in increasing peril. In Egypt, many of us who were encouraged by the uprising in Tahrir Square this spring have been discouraged by events since then. Heck, even the greatest, most enlightened collection of founding fathers the world has seen needed four years after winning independence to create the Constitution that guides us today.

It will take time in Tripoli. Time, and the assistance of those Western nations that abetted the rebels’ ambitions.

The other great question today concerns those Western nations: America and our European allies. After NATO’s most — arguably, the first — successful, European-led military mission, where does the alliance go from here?

Unlike NATO’s previous foray outside the Continent, in Afghanistan, the Libyan operation was not a matter of acting in a member’s defense. It was an intervention of choice, like the ones in Bosnia and Kosovo before it. And, like those Balkan interventions, we learned that NATO requires American resolve. American hesitance in the early going likely prolonged the war by allowing Gadhafi to regroup and kill the rebels’ momentum. America’s eventual commitment, even while “leading from behind,” enabled the rebels to regain the initiative and win in the end.

The “from behind” bit, however, may have lasting impact. Our European allies opted to intervene, despite their economic uncertainty and relative government austerity, and they did most of the heavy-lifting (albeit with critical U.S. logistical support they could not have provided themselves). Clearly, they can bear more of the burden of their own defense.

That doesn’t mean the demise of NATO — although I do think it’s worth thinking through the implications of having a military alliance that defers to the U.N. Security Council and carries out only its wishes, even after NATO members apparently already had concluded it was in their interest to intervene in Libya.

What it does mean is a greater opportunity than ever for the United States to make clear that European members of the alliance have to hold up their end of the bargain. Not all of it: America will continue to play a crucial role in Europe’s defense for some time, if only due to the legacy of our larger military spending during the past 60 years. But much more of it.

This is something U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have been pushing in Brussels for years on end. It’s time.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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55 comments Add your comment

Kyle Wingfield

October 20th, 2011
1:25 pm

Thanks for everyone’s patience today. We had quite a network doozy Chez AJC this morning.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
1:29 pm

The new Libyan ambassador is beaming with thanks and said we led the effort to free the Libyan people.

A proud day to be American.

I wish them luck with their new democracy and welcome our new ally.

Long live the Obama doctrine.

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
1:34 pm

WOW, some of these Dems need to get off of their knees while bowing to Obama.

Congratulations to the Libyan people. Their courage and resistance will hopefully lead them a path of prosperity.

HDB

October 20th, 2011
1:37 pm

The two parts of which there should be agreement from both sides of the political spectrum:

1) America’s eventual commitment, even while “leading from behind,” enabled the rebels to regain the initiative and win in the end. The “from behind” bit, however, may have lasting impact. Our European allies opted to intervene, despite their economic uncertainty and relative government austerity, and they did most of the heavy-lifting (albeit with critical U.S. logistical support they could not have provided themselves). Clearly, they can bear more of the burden of their own defense.

“Leading from behind” means behind the SCENES; the US doesn’t ALWAYS have to be in FRONT of a picture in order to LEAD. Quiet diplomacy can work just as well as brashness!!

2) What it does mean is a greater opportunity than ever for the United States to make clear that European members of the alliance have to hold up their end of the bargain. Not all of it: America will continue to play a crucial role in Europe’s defense for some time, if only due to the legacy of our larger military spending during the past 60 years. But much more of it. This is something U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have been pushing in Brussels for years on end. It’s time.

Yes…it’s time that our European allies take more of the expense of defense….that will allow the US to trim the defense budget while simultaneously being in the position to PROVIDE the defense we as a nation…and as a part of NATO demands!!

You’re on point there, Kyle!!

Kyle Wingfield

October 20th, 2011
1:41 pm

getalife: It’s a proud day to be an American, indeed. But how would you define the Obama doctrine?

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
1:46 pm

Kyle….he can’t.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
2:22 pm

The leadership to free the Libyan people compared to the Iraq disaster Kyle.

No US deaths, they pay back the 2 billion and they are our ally

You don’t need a occupation for regime change.

That is wasted lives and trillions .

It is very obvious Kyle.

Are you too partisan to see the differences?

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
2:26 pm

Getalife….apparently you are TOO partisan to see the difference. There is NO way you can compare the two countries and circumstances. You sir win the “fool of the day” award! Congrats.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
2:27 pm

ug,

That is your rebuttal.

Have you ever been right about anything?

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
2:29 pm

Getalife…..yep my last post was 100% accurate.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
2:30 pm

ug,

When you are dead wrong about everything, show some humility and listen to the people that are right.

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
2:34 pm

Getalife…..I do listen to people who are right all day long. You just dont seem to be one of them. I suggest you look at http://www.gallup.com…..does 39% ring a bell with you?

Kyle Wingfield

October 20th, 2011
2:36 pm

getalife: I don’t see how that constitutes a doctrine. A different way of operating in one case vs. another, sure. I’m not trying to be pedantic. I just don’t see the guiding principle going forward.

I agree with UGA 1999 that the two situations are not really that comparable. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq, the fact is that there was not an armed rebellion mounting offensives against Saddam which we could simply support. And let’s wait awhile before we start proclaiming that everything’s hunky-dorey in Libya compared to Iraq. I certainly hope and pray they don’t have to endure what the Iraqis did, with their own citizens and outsiders committing terrorism and killing tens of thousands of people. But it’s Day One.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 20th, 2011
2:37 pm

Americans were proud of their country even before Obozo came on the scene, as hard as that might be to believe for most libtards.

Kyle Wingfield

October 20th, 2011
2:39 pm

For instance, does this Obama doctrine apply to Uganda? If a single U.S. soldier dies there, does that mean the doctrine went out the window? What if the Ugandan government doesn’t pay us back whatever we spend on our mission there? Under what circumstances would Obama deem the sacrifice of U.S. blood and treasure worthwhile? I’m not advocating the use of U.S. blood and treasure in Uganda or anywhere else — just pointing out that one case does not a doctrine make.

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
2:44 pm

Kyle….you cannot reason with him (them).

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 20th, 2011
2:45 pm

First, Kyle, trying to illicit a thoughtful reply from getalife is like trying to herd cats. It doesn’t work, and it just ends with upset cats and handlers.

Next, there is no Obama Doctrine. A doctrine requires thought, which this administration does not have when it comes to military intervention. See: 100 “combat advisers” in Africa.

Finally, the time you reference is not going to be kind to us, as within 2 years the “leadership” of Libya will be yelling “Allah Akbar” while we will not see a dime of any recompense for our misguided assistance.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
2:47 pm

The uprising probably would have ended the same way in Iraq if we waited for them to ask us for help.

w cut and ran from Afghanistan to occupy Iraq. The consensus is that was a huge mistake and our President cleaned up his mess in Iraq and Afghanistan as promised.

Now, they asked us for help in Libya, he formed a NATO mission, won the no fly zone and won this war. It is up to the Libyan people to form their government and if they ask us for help, we will.

The key to the Obama doctrine is if they stand up and ask for our help, we will engage. It is up to their people to fight not ours.They must cover our costs to help them and be our ally.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 20th, 2011
2:57 pm

“w cut and ran from Afghanistan to occupy Iraq.”

Tell that to the over 1,500 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan since Iraq began, getaclue.

I suggest you do NOT repeat that nonsense in front of a relative of one of those casualties.

“our President cleaned up his mess in Iraq”

There has been no change in Iraq policy since this current President took office.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
2:57 pm

Basically, it is the exact opposite of the cowboy w doctrine.

The leaders of the LRA are searching for the drones that will take them out.

Obama loves drones. No US deaths again. Cheap too. He has a brain.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
2:59 pm

ti,

Intellectual honesty is missing in your lies.

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:00 pm

Between the seizure of former Gadhafi arms depots and the arms provided to the rebels by outside powers, Libya is awash with weapons. If the NTC fractures like past rebel coalitions, it could set the stage for a long and bloody civil war — and provide an excellent opportunity to jihadist elements.–STRATFOR

What then?

Leftists would have us believe Obama’s wars have left us better off than Bush’s. Not really.

What’s gonna happen when all the unknowns escalate at once?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 20th, 2011
3:02 pm

“Intellectual honesty is missing in your lies.”

Feel free to detail each and every lie you believe I have written and why you believe them to be lies, getaclue.

JDW

October 20th, 2011
3:03 pm

RyIf there is to be an Obama Doctrine it is up to Obama to frame and articulate it, so I have to agree with Kyle that Libya does not constitute a doctrine per se.  However when comparing our approach to Libya versus our approach to Iraq lots of things stand out.
 
Better Decisions-in Libya we thought though the situation and acted accordingly.  In Iraq we decided to invade and then we searching for supporting documentation.
Better Planning-in Libya we understood our commitments and did not over extend.  In Iraq we expected flowers and dancing in the streets then fired General Gen. Eric Shinseki when he pointed out the true costs and requirements of the exercise.
Lower Cost-Libya less than $10 Billion…Iraq $818 billon and counting
The Results-Libya we don’t know yet but odds are we will get a better result than the horribly corrupt and inefficient al-Maliki regime
 
I agree it’s not apples to apples but Libya’s apples sure seem to be a much better value
 

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:04 pm

“The Libyan people will determine their destiny” President Obama

You cons should listen to him.

He won his war and has credibility.

You cons have no credibility.

saywhat?

October 20th, 2011
3:04 pm

The similarities between the American strategies behind Libya and Kosovo, along with the positive outcomes, are striking. Can we say Clinton-Obama doctrine?

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
3:05 pm

getalife…>THERE WAS NO UPRISING IN IRAQ!! OMG!

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:06 pm

ti,

We are ending both occupations as promised.

We are broke remember.

We need to rest our troops and work on jobs.

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:07 pm

USA Today–Poll: Washington to blame more than Wall Street for economy

When asked whom they blame more for the poor economy, 64% of Americans name the federal government and 30% say big financial institutions.

Where’d that 99% go?

schnirt

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:08 pm

ug,

I was using the con what if argument.

What if the uprising took out saddam.

I think it would .

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
3:09 pm

Getalife…work on jobs….someone should tell Obama that, while he is out on the road campaigning. Oh guess who is paying for his roadtrips….YOU!

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
3:09 pm

getalife….there was no uprising though. You cannot use hypotheticals in this instance…..total BS.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:10 pm

@@,

You are the 99 % but will not admit it.

You fight against yourself.

Self defeatists.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:13 pm

BTW Kyle,

There is no Obama doctrine because he has not done yet.

Four more years ;)

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
3:14 pm

<————–soon to be the 1%

UGA 1999

October 20th, 2011
3:14 pm

Getalife….”there is no Obama doctrine” AMEN!

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 20th, 2011
3:15 pm

Doug Schoen, a Democrat pollster, showed that most of the people in OWS were hard-core leftists.

As we are a center-right nation, they are not even remotely 99% of anything – except the resident nuts of this nation.

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:15 pm

Oops has should be is.

My bad.

Where is Andy?

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:17 pm

ti,

They are his base .

They are fired up.

He wants them to show up and vote this time.

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:23 pm

Getalife:

I really shouldn’t engage you. Where’s your outrage against the suppression of my free speech? At least I opposed all bans be they left OR right.

Anyhoo…

You are the 99 % but will not admit it.

You fight against yourself.

I’m doing fine, thanks. Won’t be needing any of YOUR money to sustain. You can use it all for those lap dances you love so much.

yomama

October 20th, 2011
3:26 pm

It is only a great day if you are a clueless american. history repeats itself.

try the same chit in china or russia and see how far you can get. damn stupid yanks.

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:28 pm

Speaking of “poles” and lap dances.

Getalife:

No matter how you cut it, you’re short by 60%.

So says USAToday.

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:29 pm

Putin’s salivating over the prospect of an E.U. break up.

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:30 pm

“an” should be “a”.

IHB

getalife

October 20th, 2011
3:33 pm

@@,

You know I have been banned on all con blogs so join the club.

It is a badge of courage to engage the enemy :)

@@

October 20th, 2011
3:41 pm

Correction!

69%! Short by 69%.

IHBAM

Hillbilly D

October 20th, 2011
4:28 pm

There are probably few who will mourn the loss of Gadhafi but that doesn’t mean this thing is over. Now comes the hard part. Hopefully the Lybian people will get a government of their choosing but the odds are against that. It may well turn out like Egypt, where Mubarek is gone but little else has changed or will change anytime soon. It’s always wise not to count chickens……..

Junior Samples

October 20th, 2011
4:55 pm

I’m still trying to understand why the National Association of Theatre Owners carries out the wishes of the UN Security Council.

Did Libya sneak into the double feature using the side or back exit?
Are they requesting subtitles?
Headphones with a translator who can read the script in their native language?
Even more butter on their popcorn?

independent thinker

October 20th, 2011
6:14 pm

Kyle- You are way off base trying to figure out a way to berate Obama and our Allies for an obvious success in the war on terror and NATO’s humanitarian aid when genocide is threatened.
Not one word from you about Pan Am flight 103 and the 243 Americans killed plus crew and innocents on the ground. All subsequent mass terrorists tried to match Gadaffi’s feat. Obama an our allies were responsible once again for avenging the deaths of our citizens. I thhat so hard to verbalize?
Not one word from you that George Bush stupidly gave aide to this mass murderer/psychopath and called him a partner in the war on Terror.
Worse yet those WMD’s Bush said Gadaffi gave up? The rebels found urnanium and chemical weapons stores he was hiding.Should we be thankful to NATO and the Rebels or to George Bush?
Genocide was occurring daily in Yugoslavia when clinto took office with no US response. NATO intervened and the genocide ended. Same situation was about to happen in Libya- Gadaffi made his intentions clear. NATO stopped genocide in Benghazi just like it did in Kosovo. What is wrong with that as a military objective?
And the Bush presidents used a UN vote to get us into 20 years of costly warfare in Iraq – is that a better use of our resources?

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

October 20th, 2011
9:06 pm

You guys just can’t bring yourselves to admit that the President has done anything right.

You can’t come to grips with the fact that under his watch bin Laden was killed and now Gadaffi was sent to the virgins.

Dang, man-up and admit his handling of the Libyan affair was without the loss of a single U.S. life and that NATO fulfilled its function.