Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Intervention in Libya distracts US from domestic problems

Credit: Jea Alford

On March 3, Obama asked Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi to step down as Libya’s leader. Obama threatened to use military options if Qaddafi does not.

The Libyan conflict is full of bloodshed and terror. Obama faces a decision whether or not to intervene with military force. There has been recent talk of establishing a no-fly zone in order to protect civilians.

I do not think that he should intervene. The United States already has a lot of domestic problems that must be addressed. How can the U.S. solve international issues if its government does not attempt to solve many of the domestic issues?

Since 1969, the oftentimes firm, sometimes erratic  Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi has ruled over Libya, an oil rich nation in North Africa. The February 2011 protest, organized by anti-government opposition, began across several Libyan cites. The rebellion has more control of the military than Qaddafi and have taken the eastern half of the country. Recently, Qaddafi and the rebels have fiercely battled throughout the country.

This is the Middle East’s problem. According to  James Meernik‘s analysis of U.S. foreign policy,  this option may conflict with the U.S.’s goal to export democracy, thereby justifying military intervention. As reported by the  Hoover Digest, this policy has only a three percent success rate of installing legitimate democracies.

If the U.S. does intervene, then the move to democracy will not belong to the Libyan people. A central piece of Obama administration’s policy of democracy promotion is surrendering the “ownership” of the political movement to the democratizing country. Egypt and Tunisia removed their own leaders without American help.

The U.S. is already fighting two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Troops are already serving multiple tours, so why does Obama want to get the nation into another military operation? Where will the troops come from?

I don’t see any answer. The National Guard, the branch of the armed forces that is supposed to protect our borders and help in “states of emergencies”, is currently fighting in Iraq.

There will not be enough troops to fight and maintain the safety of all soldiers. This scenario could lead to another incident similar to what happened in Somalia in 1993.

If the military invasion is a matter of international safety to establish a stable government, then the U.S. should work with the United Nations. If the U.S. goes into Libya without international allies, then a situation similar to what former president George W. Bush launched in Iraq could repeat itself.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is against the no-fly zone as it may require some military action. He stated that any military action must be carefully thought out in order to avoid unintended consequences.

According to former State Department Director of Policy Planning  Anne-Marie Slaughter,  the no-fly zone will be difficult to implement because of the lack of support from the UN security council  due to Chinese and Russian resistance.

There are many domestic issues for Obama to address that he cannot afford to get involved in another international issue. These domestic problems range from education to state deficits, trade imbalance, to lack of jobs. Is taking the U.S. to Libya a way to avoid addressing these issues, and take them away from the front page?

This is the wisdom of the statement “help yourself before you help others.” Obama does not seem to be able to help the U.S.,  as all the hope and changed he promised has yet to materialize. How can the our nation help other countries establish their democracy when it already has many of its own issues yet to be addressed?

Obama needs to appease his constituents before he can help others. According to the  Gallup poll, Obama’s  approval ratings have decreased in every state. In 10 states his approval is lower than 40 percent. Why would Obama be worrying about Libya’s problems when approval ratings are low and re-election is in the near future?

Those issues are not going to solve themselves; Obama must urge Congress to take action, similar to what he did with the healthcare reform campaign. I am not for the healthcare plan, but appreciate the effort and action he took to at least get a result. Obama needs to address the problems of the nation and seek the approval of American people before helping other nations.

If they ask for help, then the U.S. may help them. Libya has not asked for help. Let Libya create its own independence.

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