Friday, March 11, 2011

Now's the Time

I have been an Obamophile from the get-go and I worked hard for him in both the primary and the general election. I have not been disappointed with him, on the contrary. But I do not understand why he is sitting on his hands while Gaddafi massacres his people. We need a no-fly zone immediately - it may well be too late.


Ken Houghton said...

What does a no-fly zone do for resolving the situation in Libya s.t. Qadaffi leaves with minimal casualties?

The Administration--of which I am much less fond than you--froze Libyan and Qadaffi's personal accounts last Friday and expanded that freeze today.

There are ongoing negotiations, certainly, toward working a no-fly zone out. And, as the Press Secretary noted yesterday, things are moving much quicker than they usually do in setting a no-fly zone up.

If that's the straw it takes, fine. But as Dan Drezner said on Twitter today, the more advocates of a no-fly zone describe what they think it will do and how to do it, the less sensible the idea sounds.

Barkley Rosser said...

To follow up on Ken's remarks, Hillary Clinton was completely reasoanble to point out that the US had no-fly zones in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq for extended periods of time, without those either preventing major massacres on the ground or achieving the overthrow of the unpleasant regimes in question.

Given this there are two unpleasant possibilities that could come about with a no-fly zone. 1) is that if it does not work we get dragged into deeper military involvement (and the US is already too deeply involved in ongoing wars on the ground), and 2) the deeper we go in, the more it damages the credibility and international support for the rebels. Keep in mind that the Russians are blocking any support for such a zone at the UN, which means at best it would be NATO operation, and quite a few Arab governments (not all of them nasty dictatorships) are making it clear that they are not happy about the prospect of yet more US military involvement in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, this is far from a clear case, even as we may be looking at a horrible humanitarian catastrophe (and I am certainly no fan at all of Qaddafi).