Obama’s Libyan circus caravan rolls on

“If a camel once pokes his nose in your tent, his body will surely follow”


Oh my, the Obama administration clown car still hasn’t run out gas (unfortunately).  Looks like they’re busily at work trying to stand up another ME tin pot dictator in Libya.  Time (30 May article) ran “Libyan General with U.S Passport Wages War on Islamist Extremists”, referring to General Khalifa Hifter, US passport holder from Virginia, where he has lived for decades:

“Into the chaos of post-revolution Libya rides Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a former confidant of Muammar Gaddafi with a U.S. passport and a reputed history with the CIA. A resident of northern Virginia until the 2011 revolution that deposed his old boss, Hifter, 71, returned to his homeland and, after a couple of embarrassing personal setbacks, recently persuaded elements of the military forces to join him in battling the most extreme of the many armed militias operating in Libya today.”

The more things change (and the wondrous Arab Spring showers continue), the more some failed foreign policy quick fixes stay the same.  Thomas Friedman, oddly enough in agreement with and quoting Victor Davis Hanson’s thoughts on US foreign policy, in a 2012 piece, “A Festival of Lies” states:

“Let us review the various American policy options for the Middle East over the last few decades,” Hanson wrote. “Military assistance or punitive intervention without follow-up mostly failed. The verdict on far more costly nation-building is still out. Trying to help popular insurgents topple unpopular dictators does not guarantee anything better. Propping up dictators with military aid is both odious and counterproductive. Keeping clear of maniacal regimes leads to either nuclear acquisition or genocide — or 16 acres of rubble in Manhattan. What have we learned? Tribalism, oil, and Islamic fundamentalism are a bad mix that leaves Americans sick and tired of the Middle East — both when they get in it and when they try to stay out of it.”

And that is why it’s time to rethink everything we’re doing out there. What the Middle East needs most from America today are modern schools and hard truths, and we haven’t found a way to offer either. Because Hanson is right: What ails the Middle East today truly is a toxic mix of tribalism, Shiite-Sunni sectarianism, fundamentalism and oil — oil that constantly tempts us to intervene or to prop up dictators.”

Looks like President Obama didn’t get this memo.



Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics

3 responses to “Obama’s Libyan circus caravan rolls on

  1. Kinnison

    There is nothing in North Africa, short of Egypt, that is remotely in the U.S. national interest—Egypt because of its threat to our only Middle Eastern ally Israel, and its control of the Suez Canal—and worth meddling in. The oil goes to our “Allies” Europe, predominantly to France and Italy, not to us. The Powell Doctrine made a lot of sense, which is probably why no president since Colin Powell was Secretary of State has heeded it: 1) Do not get into a war unless it is the U.S.’ vital national interest, 2) If we get into a war, use overwhelming force, 3) Have an overall plan and a clear, achievable goal, 4) Have an exit strategy. None of these apply in Libya.

  2. Kinnison, We offer an endless supply of carrots with no sticks in the ME and the Obama administration only waves sticks consistently at one country in the region and that’s Israel, our only true ally in the region, while Obama bows and scrapes to the worst miscreants in the region. This ability to be played by Muslim mouthpieces and assorted rogue Arab leaders has been duly noted among the Muslim/Arab factions and unlike Obama, they’ve perfected exploiting American weakness and lack of resolve to the max.

    I took issue with the Powell doctrine, because it led to a fixation on finding ways to retreat rather than focusing on defining victory. If you focus on a clear goal, an exit strategy takes care of itself when the time comes. We had clear military victories in toppling both the Taliban and Saddam, our follow-up where it was up to the politicians to lay the foundation for civil law and order failed miserably.

    There was not enough thought or real understanding of the internal politics/factions or the reasons why strong men/ dictators thrive in the region. We went in under optimistic hopes, not realistically planning for the worst case scenarios. We made the worst mistake possible by promising way more than we could ever hope to deliver. GWB and Obama continued the free flow of cash, military equipment and training, engineers, etc. to rebuild both countries into functioning western-style democracies, with no accountability in place and ultimately little to show for it. Systemic, unchecked corruption is a way of life in many places in this world and rather than confront that, we like to excuse it with euphemisms like, “that’s how things are done there”. If we aren’t prepared to firmly confront corruption and stand up for basic human rights, we shouldn’t waste our time.

    Western-style democracy must rest upon adherence to principles of human rights that fall far from Islamic theocratic norms – lost cause to believe both can peacefully co-exist in a free, pluralistic western-style democracy, yet we signed on to sharia based legal systems in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

  3. JK

    I honor Mr. Amble’s confusion. And Kinnison’s. And your’s LB.

    Heck. I’m confused too.


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