Foreign policy has long been regarded as a privilege for the President of the United States. It has brought the country to its esteemed recognition in international society, but in other instances it has brought costly casualties and enormous amount of debt. President Obama’s decision to strike Libya seems rash and miscalculated. Moreover, it might bring further turmoil in the Middle East.
Last weekend, the United States along with France and Great Britain air raided Libya and destroyed its air defenses and successfully established a no-fly zone. Not only did they attack Libya’s air defenses but they also bombed ground forces that previously attacked protesting civilians in the cities. The U.S. Armed Forces managed to accomplish this with high precision cruise missiles on board submarines and assisted France and Great Britain with strategic support. After several hours of the first breaking news, Gaddafi’s forces were defenseless. This showed the strength of combined firepower from the advanced western nations.
This was a response to the strong resolution made by the U.N. Security Council on the March 17 that supported the approval of imposing a no fly zone and several sanctions on the Gaddafi regime. Susan Rice, the representative delegate from the United States said the council’s resolutions were to protect Libyan civilians and prevent further systematic violation of human rights by Col. Gaddafi. The significant sanctions include an asset freeze and an arms embargo.
However, the American public is divided distinctly between two opposing groups. Those who agree say the U.S. Government should have intervened militarily to prevent further killing of civilian individuals. Some say this armed intervention will create a fighting spirit to establish democracy against the Gaddafi regime.
Yet, others disagree because this will become another burden to the already heavy armed intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the midst of all the arguments, I question the strategic interest of Libya that made President Obama decide to resume military action.
Even President George W. Bush made a public announcement on television before a significant attack on Iraq that clearly stated the reasons for his decision to intervene against Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, although President Obama gained support from the international society, his decision was rather illegal because he should have followed legal procedures at home, more specifically from the approval of the U.S. Congress.
Nonetheless, now that military intervention has already happened, what will happen now? Currently Libya is largely divided into two, the East and the West. The Libyan armed rebels are focused in Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya, and with the help of the NATO forces they are enlarging their presence over Eastern Libya. Gaddafi and his supporters who are focused in the country’s capital, Tripoli is trying to maintain control over the western part of the country. There is clear uncertainly as to how this conflict will end. Will President Obama decide to aid the rebels in order to gain control of the rest of the country or instead leave them as they are?
I fear that this armed intervention by the Obama administration shows the American public they are capable of doing things even though they have failed many promises in domestic policy. Leaving a country divided into two may create a more hostile situation as opposed to one uncontrollable dictator.