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The Road of Good Intentions Leads to Libya

Anne Marie Slaughter, successor to people like George Kennan and Frank Fukuyama in the top State Department policy planning bureau, is one of the country’s most influential foreign policy thinkers. She was a strong supporter of  the initial intervention in Libya on humanitarian grounds

Now in the FT she calling for a compromise end to the war, also on humanitarian grounds.

Anne Marie (a genuinely nice human being as well as a smart one) made a good case for getting in and makes a good case for getting out now.  The trouble for presidents is that it’s easier for intellectuals to change their recommendations than for presidents to change policy.   Leaving the Loon family in Libya does not strike me as a recipe for stability; Slaughter seems as rosy-eyed about the consequences of terminating the mission as she was optimistic about the original intervention.

My TAI colleague Adam Garfinkle had a brilliant piece written at the start of the Libyan adventure that described the kind of mess we were likely to make; he was pretty on target and there are no good choices now.

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  • Kenny

    Bring in the clowns. Don’t bother. They’re already here.

  • Luke Lea

    Garfinkle makes the point that “it was the opposition . . . that started this fight,” which reminds me of another piece that came out at the time.

    As for the Obama administration’s cluelessness about the tribal nature of Libyan society, recall that when the Brits got involved in those of the parts of world they developed the discipline of social anthropology. After ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan you would think the U.S. would be wiser by now.

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