Opposing Viewpoints: President Wise on Libya
It is difficult to be a Noble Peace Prize President waging three wars, but that is exactly what President Barack Obama has done. On Monday night, Obama stated that not intervening in Libya would be a “betrayal of who we are.” The new Obama Doctrine has been established.
Youth-led revolutions in the Middle East are nothing new for the year 2011, but in the beginning of March, the Libyan government responded to youth protests with unprecedented and brutal authority. America led forces against Libyan Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and intervened in Libya’s civil war.
President Obama, in 31 days, has imposed extreme sanctions with the United Nations Security Council, seized billions of dollars of Colonel Gadhafi’s assets, created an international coalition, and stopped the slaughter of thousands from Libyan forces without sending American troops on the ground.
In Monday’s address, Obama touted his leadership role in supporting oppositional forces in Libya, but assured Americans their role would be limited. He announced that by Wednesday, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would take the reins on the Libyan conflict, but the United States would remain in support of oppositional forces.
Quite dramatically, Obama stated “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
European nations, who have a terrible history with Libya and Gadhafi, were naturally concerned when protests erupted in Libya, and petrified when they saw Gadhafi’s forces use bombs on his own people.
These concerns were justified, with Somalia as an example of what a civil war can do to a nation. Libya, with a border on the Mediterranean and its closeness to Europe, could potentially become a fragmented state that harbors terrorists. The amount of oil under Libyan control also probably plays a role.
While Obama’s motives may not have been fully articulated, a dictator bombing his own people is an atrocity that is difficult to ignore; however, Obama’s plan will not extend until Gadhafi is taken out of power. The U.S. will fight in other ways, but not deploy American troops to Libyan soil.
Obama distanced himself during his address from former president George Bush and his intervention policy in Iraq. In regards to Iraq, Obama stated, “Regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.”
He has made it clear Libya will not become another Iraq, and while U.S. pays nearly 25 percent of NATO’s bill, the deaths of thousands of Americans and civilians will not be a part of this intervention.