At the beginning of the Libya intervention debate, President Obama said he thought America’s involvement would “be limited to days and not weeks.”
Now, it seems that we will have to update that ‘hope’ to be “months if not years.”
The Libya situation is worsening for the US and its allies — at least at the moment — because each day the Gaddafi regime survives, the more durable it looks to other nations who don’t share the same degree of commitment as the US, France, and England — as well as Libya’s Opposition/Transition Council.
The international consensus of concern and disdain that had evolved against Gaddafi will collapse at some point in the future just as US toughness and sanction against China ended shortly after the Tiananmen tragedy. Nations like Brazil, Turkey, India, Russia, and others will essentially open up back doors to Gaddafi if he is perceived as likely to prevail.
The US is not giving up. Defense Secretary Gates has now said that President Obama has authorized the deployment of armed drones in the Libya conflict. This is not surprising, but it is a doubling down on a strategy riveted with problems and uncertainty – and runs the risk of killing innocent civilians as has often been the case with drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The real cost of all this is that the cameras have largely abandoned protest movements around the Middle East, the US is neglecting affairs in Egypt, Afghanistan still proves to be a complex mess on the eve of big decisions on continuing levels of deployments, the North Koreans are sending signals that they are going to be back to being really naughty — and we have turned a minnow in the Middle East into a Moby Dick, and that’s not good.
— Steve Clemons