Tag Archives: Qaddafi

Libya: matching goals with means

There is no question that Libya would be better off without Qaddafi. The more poignant question is whether his removal warrants more extensive use of American power and action – and whether the United States is willing to bear further responsibility for what comes after Qaddafi.

Just weeks into the intervention, the lack of clear goals is already muddying the waters and further complicating an already complex situation. Most Americans, and presumably nearly all Libyans, interpreted President Obama’s statement that it is time for Qaddafi to go not as an indication of the president’s personal preferences, but as a declaration of U.S. policy. President Obama is not the first U.S. president to call for a regime’s removal, but to be unwilling to commit extensive U.S. resources to the purpose. Nor is he the first U.S. president to hold a more ambitious goal toward a recalcitrant regime than the United Nations or U.S. allies. President Clinton made regime change an explicit American objective vis-à-vis Iraq in the 1990s, even while the international community was focused on disarmament. President Reagan, for a time, openly called for regime change in Libya in the 1980s, later softening this stance.

But President Obama’s disconnect between rhetoric and actions is likely harder for Americans to process, given that the United States and its allies are already involved openly and militarily in a hot civil war. Under these circumstances, it is harder for the Obama administration to embrace the goal of regime change, but to be unwilling to do more to advance it in the face of what many perceive as open opportunities to do so. Some people will see the Obama administration as already half-pregnant with the Libyan opposition fetus. Continue reading >

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Eight lessons for Obama from Iraq and Afghanistan

Last week, President Obama made a compelling case for why he authorized force in Libya.  In doing so, he sought to assure the American people that this intervention was prudent and bore no resemblance to the controversial and costly wars … Continue reading >

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The power of the Shamal

Having wandered recently among the orange-red dunes of the Arabian desert, my mind is filled with analogies about shifting sands, blurred vision, and the stark clarity that can come when the winds settle down.  The winds on this peninsula and … Continue reading >

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Four reasons to support Obama on Libya strikes

In my last posting, I agreed with my colleagues that Libya did not involve vital interests, but I said that it did involve humanitarian interests and they can be important. In general, I agree with my friends that humanitarian intervention … Continue reading >

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Let allies lead in challenging Qaddafi

The Obama Administration must be congratulated for its extraordinary diplomatic successes that resulted in yesterday’s victory at the United Nations Security Council, and the full endorsement of a no-fly zone over Libya by the Arab League.  The issue at this … Continue reading >

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Responses to The Power Problem: What should the U.S. do about Libya? (Updated)

Last week we launched The Power Problem, an occasional series of mini-forums on Power & Policy, which asks specialists from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School to suggest policy responses by the United States to pressing world issues. For our inaugural Power Problem, we asked our experts: What should the United States do now that Qaddafi is digging in? And what is the gravest risk for the United States in the Libyan crisis?

Nicholas Burns, Stephen M. Walt, and Rami G. Khouri weighed in, and we gathered responses from readers and other Belfer Center colleagues. Here are two responses to the Power Problem posts, from David Mednicoff and Joseph P. Nye.
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The Power Problem: Stephen M. Walt on what the U.S. should do about Libya

The Power Problem is an occasional series of mini-forums on Power & Policy, asking specialists from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School to suggest policy responses by the United States to pressing world issues. … Continue reading >

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The Power Problem: Rami G. Khouri on what the U.S. should do about Libya

The Power Problem is an occasional series of mini-forums on Power & Policy, asking specialists from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School to suggest policy responses by the United States to pressing world issues. We … Continue reading >

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Qaddafi and Soft Power: A Response by Joe Nye

In view of the criticism by Martin Peretz of The New Republic and in Mother Jones magazine of my meeting in 2007 with Muammar Qaddafi and my subsequent article in The New Republic, let me try to clarify what actually … Continue reading >

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