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Britain and France Take the Lead

Some rare good news for President Obama: Britain and France appear to be taking responsibility for post-Ghaddafi Libya. Both countries are now expressing interest in leading the push for Libyan elections. From the Financial Times:

The announcement came ahead of a summit in Paris on Libya’s future, at which Britain and France will press Libya’s national transitional council to reassert its commitment to holding national elections within eight months, ensuring the country’s tribes and political groups do not descend into violence after the fall of Muammer Gaddafi.

Western leaders attending the meeting on Thursday want to hear what kind of international assistance the NTC needs for the country’s reconstruction after its expected victory over Colonel Gaddafi. But diplomats say that the issue of most concern to western governments is that the NTC uses the summit to reassert its commitment to a democratic future for Libya.

President Obama must be breathing a sigh of relief. The “days not weeks” war has dragged on for nearly six months, and was always intended to be a British and French project with minor American involvement. We have already committed much more than we’ve wished, and we have our hands full with democratic transitions elsewhere in the Middle East. We should be more than happy for the Europeans to take this burden off our hands. The American people and the American budget don’t have much room for additional nation building ventures right now; let’s wish them the best and, as far as possible, move on.

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  • Aron Matskin

    So, no return on investment?

  • Jim.

    Relief, that American global decline will be counterbalanced by some kind of European sphere of influence in at least part of the world… Well, that’s putting a brave face on things.

    Are we similarly relieved that the Indians are moving into the South China Sea?

    I’m happy that the students at Bard are getting an overview in classical Sphere of Influence / Great Power diplomacy… but are there enough great statesmen among them, to get us through this renewal of History?

    Weren’t you worried a little while back that our leaders weren’t going to be enough?…

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