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Posts tagged ‘Qaddafi’

Libya: matching goals with means

By Meghan O'Sullivan

By Meghan O'Sullivan

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. Read more

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Eight lessons for Obama from Iraq and Afghanistan

By Meghan O'Sullivan

By Meghan O'Sullivan

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 in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He pre-empted such comparisons by explicitly stating, “to be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq” as a counterpoint for explaining why he would not seek to overthrown Qaddafi by force.

It may be both easy and convenient to dismiss the Iraq and Afghan experiences at this stage of U.S. intervention in Libya.  But neither President Obama, nor the American people, would be wise to ignore the hard-won lessons that have emerged from these conflicts.  In fact, while acknowledging the very different circumstances surrounding each intervention, America’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan suggest more than a few cautionary notes and morsels of advice. Read more

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The power of the Shamal

By Richard A. Clarke

By Richard Clarke

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 in the nearby Sahara are still blowing, the new dunes still being formed, but we can say some things about the shape of the Arab world that will emerge.

Unless the United States and its Arab allies are unusually diligent, skilled, and lucky, the new configuration will be less supportive of US interests, at least in the short term. That is not a judgment about what we should have done or should do now, nor is it meant to be a justification for the regimes that are being swept from power. It is meant only to be an analytical conclusion. Read more

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Four reasons to support Obama on Libya strikes

By Joseph S. Nye

By Joseph S. Nye

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 is a dangerous process, fraught with unintended consequences and costs. Thus the presumption should be against such interventions. After all, John Quincy Adams provided sound advice when he said we should not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. There are too many of them, and we cannot control or police the world.

Why then do I support the Obama Administration actions on Libya? Read more

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Let allies lead in challenging Qaddafi

By Graham Allison

By Graham Allison

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 point is whether the cavalry will arrive in time.

As I wrote in a recent Huffington Post op-ed, I believe the right position for the U.S. is: no-fly zone, yes; U.S. lead, no.

My central point is that the focus of the debate for the past two weeks has basically been addressing the wrong issue.  The Administration has been agonizing over the question of whether the U.S. should lead a No Fly Zone.  My answer: no.  But that is not the end of the story. Read more

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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 three responses to the Power Problem posts, from Samer Salty, David Mednicoff and Joseph P. Nye.


Response from Samer Salty

Samer Salty

Samer Salty

Samer Salty is a member of the Belfer Center’s International Council. He founded zouk ventures in 1999 and has successfully raised two technology venture funds including its current fund, Cleantech Europe.

  1. The Obama administration must recognize the Libyan Transitional Council as the official representation of the Libyan People without any further delay. They should have been the first to do so, and are now appearing very late to take the position. Read more
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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. We invite readers to respond with comments.

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?

Read other views from Nicholas Burns and Rami Khouri.

By Stephen M. Walt

By Stephen M. Walt

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

It is impossible to look on events in Libya without wanting to do something. On one side is a familiar villain—Muammar Qaddafi—who is using ill-gotten wealth, a well-armed military, and foreign mercenaries in a brutal attempt to maintain his hold on power.  On the other side is a rebel army that rose up in response to the recent upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt and Qaddafi’s own misguided rule.  If we could wave a magic wand and cause him and his family to depart, we’d do it in a heartbeat. Read more

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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 invite readers to comment.

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?

Read other views from from Stephen M. Walt and Nicholas Burns.

By Rami Khouri

By Rami G. Khouri

By Rami G. Khouri, Director, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut; and Senior Fellow, Dubai Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

In pondering what steps to take to prevent Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi from attacking and brutalizing civilians and to help assert the will of the majority of Libyans to live in freedom and democracy, the United States and other major powers must assess the complex humanitarian, legal, political, and logistical military dimensions that must be reconciled. This is complicated for the U.S. because of the ugly history of unilateral American militarism and accusations of double standards in other cases of state brutality and civilian mass suffering around the region. Read more

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Qaddafi and Soft Power: A Response by Joe Nye

By Joseph S. Nye

By Joseph S. 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 happened.

In February 2007, I was invited by a former student who was working for Monitor Group to go to Libya to give a speech on globalization, meet with government officials and probably meet with Qaddafi. My colleague Bob Putnam had recently done so and found it interesting. Monitor offered to pay a consulting fee plus expenses, and as someone who writes on international politics and leaders, I was curious to see what Qaddafi was like. Bad leaders are as interesting a topic for research as good leaders, and I later used some of the interview material in my book on leadership. I spent several hours with him, which I described as surreal, but as factually as possible in an article in December 10, 2007, issue of The New Republic. Read more

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