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Libyan Fallout and the Humanitarian Question

Over at The New Republic, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy echoes Via Meadia‘s contention that the messy intervention in Libya hasn’t made the task of U.S. foreign policy makers any easier:

As Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu meet today, the bitter lessons of the Libyan campaign will hover in the background. In light of the Libyan experience, what nuclear aspiring nation can now put its trust in a rollback deal of any sort? When NATO took to the skies over Tripoli, Benghazi, and Misrata, it delivered the greatest possible blow to future non-proliferation diplomacy. . . .

Worst of all, the Libyan experience has already compromised—for the moment, at least—any chance that international coalitions can be assembled and maintained to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat and the Syrian crisis.

Read the whole thing. Via Meadia sheds no tears over the departure of the Great Loon. But the unforeseen consequences of that intervention illustrate what happens when you do the right thing at the wrong time or in the wrong place.

There are many other calls on the US and its allies for humanitarian intervention, and many more will arise. We cannot and should not say yes to them all but there are times when our interests and/or our values demand a response. As a country, we need to think this through.

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  • Jbird

    unforeseen? I seem to remember reading these exact criticisms and more at the time of the intervention.

  • Mrs. Davis

    As a country, we need to think this through.

    Before November.

  • Kris

    Jbird@1: “They have eyes, but do not see.”

  • Stephen Houghton

    Yes, I made that criticissm at the time and I pointed out that we were violating the dictum of Fredrick the Great that, “One should not break ones word unless it is greatly to ones advantage and for that happen one must have a reputation for very great probity.”

  • alex scipio

    American should be ready to intervene – after serious thought and consideration by adults – NOT Baby Boomers – in WESTERN affairs. We don’t understand the other cultures of the world and there is NOTHING in most of them worth a single American life.

    If France or Germany or the UK or Australia or Japan, etc., ask for our help, cool. Everyone else? NOT OUR PROBLEM.

  • Stephen

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. Walter are you not aware of NATO’s great victory in Libya? Haven’t you read the lead article in your copy of the March/April ed. of Foreign Affairs? Why, Daalder and Savridis is just pleased as punch with the Libyan intervention, cf “NATO’s Victory in Libya”. Why it’s written right there that “by any measure, NATO succeeded in Libya”; any measure…

  • Fred

    Not quite Alex. True the inhabitants of the Middle East aren’t worth the loss of American equipment, much less American lives. But the oil is. Horrible as that sounds, think how much more horrible a shutoff of Middle Eastern oil or control of most or all of it by some mad Arab or Persian dictator (redundant, I know) would be.

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