March 29, 2011

Obama passes the Affairs of State test

Over Libya, the President has certainly shown that he can dissemble about military and diplomatic affairs with the best of them.

Can we make Libya more like Kosovo rather than Afghanistan? We badly screwed up the lives of many Kosovo civilians, Serbs and Gypsies, but we just didn't care, so they got ethnically cleansed by gangsters. But that was okay with us, so we didn't have to do anymore fighting. In Afghanistan, in contrast, we drop bombs on their government and made it go away, but then we tried to help the new government. Hence, we're still there 10 years later. 

One question I have is how much chance is there for conflict between European great powers over Libya. In the run-up to WWI, squabbles over North Africa were a frequent source of tension. How much of this operation is an attempt by France to squeeze Italian corporations out of Libya?

60 comments:

Jeff said...

Old colonialism = governments run by Europeans.

New colonialism = governments run by indigenous thug dictators who work closely with European and U.S. corporations.

Khaddafy was a bad boy who screwed the corporations. That is why he is portrayed in the media as an enemy of humankind.

The corporations all agree that they want to get rid of the bad boy. At the same time, they are competing with each other over how to install a new thug, whose thug he will be, division of spoils, etc.

In Libya, Uncle Sam's corporations now have a seat at the table and also want a piece of the pie.

All this goes on amidst nauseating cant about "humanitarian" aims. Not many believe it though.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

How much of this operation is an attempt by France to squeeze Italian corporations of Libya.

The whole thing stinks of British and French neo-colonialism in their historic playground. Why Libya? Why now? The Germans, Turks and Italians seem OK with watching The Qaddaf and his incompetent, unpopular sons peter out, and it's not like the US military doesn't have enough on its plate.

BTW, we don't seem to be hearing much from Secretary of Multilateralism Hillary these days.

Big bill said...

You mean "squeeze Italian corporations _OUT_ of Libya"?

J said...

The Turks are also in for a piece.

Anonymous said...

Flopping Aces covers No More Anglos in Texas

http://tinyurl.com/6fkx5jr

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that Steve, but I simply do not trust French motives in North Africa one iota.
There seems to be a diplomatic schizophrenia in France over North Africa.On the one hand you have the massive, surly, resentful North African diaspora in France - a fact that WILL destroy France as assuredly as NAMs will destroy the USA, and the French coping mechanism seems to be 'ignore it and it will go away'.
On the other hand, France colonized most of the region and still struts about like the cock-of-the-walk, being the eminence grise behind many a nasty, totalitarian dictatorship in the region>But saying that, Libya (exceptionally) was never theirs, so I don't see the rooster strutting being some type of empire building.
I honestly think it's more to do with nasty little pricks like William Hague (British Foreign Secretary) and David Cameron (PM), trying to big themselves up, Thatcher-style, bullying someone who is weaker and unable to fight back, to court the air of 'statesmanship' (yes, that's what modern British politics has degenerated to, politicians think they have to win a dirty little war to make their bones).
Bantam-weight and bantam-brained Sarkozy (ever noticed how small he looks photographed next to Cameron?), can't bear the thought of the dreaded ros-bifs stealing a march on himself in his own backyard (or cock-walk, if you will), therefore Sarko has to claim glory for getting Muammar Al-Keithmoon's head on a platter.
Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

Anonymous said...

STEVE: I TOLD YOU SO!!!

I told you that the NAEP requirements of NCLB were the crowning achievement of Dubya's domestic policy, proving, as they did - beyond any possible shadow of any possible doubt - that the academic situation for the NAMs was simply hopeless.

And I told you that The Left would attack the NAEP at its very foundations:


Obama says too much testing makes education boring
By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press
Mon Mar 28, 2:16 pm ET
news.yahoo.com

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Monday that students should take fewer standardized tests and school performance should be measured in other ways. Too much testing makes education boring for kids, he said.

"Too often what we have been doing is using these tests to punish students," the president told students and parents at a town hall hosted by the Univision Spanish-language television network at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, D.C.

Obama, who is pushing a rewrite of the nation's education law that would ease some of its rigid measurement tools, said policymakers should find a test that "everybody agrees makes sense" and administer it in less pressure-packed atmospheres, potentially every few years instead of annually.

At the same time, Obama said, schools should be judged on criteria other than student test performance, including attendance rate...

Descartes said...

Well France has among the worst reputations given their support for dictatorships in North Africa, but Italy still looms on the consciousness of eastern Libyans. One of the first post-WW1 near genocides occurred during the frequent rebellions of Cyrenacians, and tribes are often perceived by their role in fighting Italian imperialism. If anything, America seems to be the dominant position as the rebels are usually naming America.

There are fundamental differences in Serbia and Kosovo. The first is that the US encouraged the KLA to attack Serbians in order to elicit a harsh response. Notable among this was the great "promoter of peace" Richard Holbrooke. Gaddhafi needed no provocation besides rebellion.

Second, the response today is in affirmation of independent atrocities. When Serbia's bombing happened, the terrors of the Milosevic government didn't happen until afterwards.

There is quite possibly a real rebellion rather than civil war. I have heard it being reiterated by a Libyan-American medical student who had died fighting in Democracy Now. Its possible that Gaddhafi and his own allied tribes have their internal rebellions. Serbia and Kosovo did not possess that.

Chicago said...

Obama is quite the glib one, along with Hillary and the rest of the crew. They can spin anything. Every time we drop a 500 lb bomb on somebody it hurts us more than them, it's really an act of liberation and a blow for freedom, people there welcome it, it's all about truth and justice, and yada yada. We are missionaries brandishing bombs rather than bibles. This is why for many years now, since the days of Johnson, whenever the president comes on television I race for the remote control to get them off the screen. I can't do much about their high handed actions but at the very least I try to avoid the feeling of being degraded and insulted that comes from listening to someone putting on their artificial charm and lying to us.

bjdubbs said...

"How much of this operation is an attempt by France to squeeze Italian corporations of Libya."

This is a very un-Steve like argument. If the immigration and race debate shows anything, it's that the appeal of moral self-congratulation far exceeds narrow self-interest. And how many BHL's and Samantha Powers do the corporations have?

Black Sea said...

One similarity between Kosovo and Afghanistan is that, militarily, we're still in both places.

Vald the Impaler Putin said...

Here's Pravada's take on the US/EU/UN attack on Libya.

Reason for war? Gaddafi wanted to nationalise oil

The UN The Council on Human Rights was about to vote on a report that affirmed and praised Libya and Colonel Ghaddafi for THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD.

Keep in mind it's Pravada. Then again Western media, while more polished, can be equally or even more absurd on certain issues.

Wesley 'Whitey Lawful' Mcgranor said...

I am unsupportive of the actions the U.S. Government has taken.

Anonymous said...

"Can we make Libya more like Kosovo rather than Afghanistan? We badly screwed up the lives of many Kosovo civilians, Serbs and Gypsies, but we just didn't care, so they got ethnically cleansed by gangsters."

But if not for NATO intervention, there might have been massive killing of Albanians by Serbs, something on the order of what Hussein did to the Kurds.
Besides, Kosovo was easier to handle than Bosnia--and later Iraq--because of the mostly homogeneous population in the region. True, Serbs and gypsies got cleansed out of Kosovo, but they were less than 10% of the whole population. If we'd done nothing, Serbs might have tried to kill or push out all Albanians in Kosovo.
After the dust settled, Kosovo was more or less stable in political terms because most people were Albanian. But socially, it is ruled by gangsters, but then so is Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and the rest of them. Oligarchs and politicians in those nations are gangsters.
On the other hand, are politicians and globalists in Europe and US really any better? What kind of elites try to elect a new majority out of greed and hatred for the existing majority? What kind of business elites ship millions of jobs overseas? What kind of elite uses its muscle to elevate a snake like Obama into the presidency?

Agron said...

We did the same thing during the Bosnian conflict by finally arming the Croats and Muslims in order to shift the balance of power against the rampaging Serbs. As for Kosovo, I don't feel particularly sorry for the Serbs-you reap what you sow. There isn't anymore fighting in Kosovo today because the ethnicities are largely separated. If thats what it takes to maintain peace and get us out of there, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe part of the appeal of attacking a weaker country is the catharsis of releasing all the pent-up anger and frustration, especially in democratic nations, from being impotent to take harsh measures at home.

For example, white Americans watch helplessly as cities are destroyed by black rioters and illegal aliens. In 1968, Daley made the infamous 'shoot to kill, shoot to maim' order, and was attacked by all sides as a psycho. Even today, the media are on the side of righteous rioters than with Daley, who only tried to save his city. During the LA riots, George Bush watched helplessly and did nothing to save the victims of LA. He let them riot, loot, and kill.
Same is true in France, Italy, and elsewhere. Ruled by PC elites, they are too busy being anti-'racist' and spreading sensitivity training.
So, the people in those nations, especially white conservatives, are pent-up with anger. They see their societies being taken over by non-whites, by hostile elites; they see wimpy leaders on their side, making apologies and compromises all the time. "Compassionate conservatism".

Since white people must respect and honor all minorities, no matter how hostile or problematic, in their own countries, their silent rage keeps building up. The only outlet is to take out their rage on weaker countries, especially Muslim ones(not least because Zionist controlled Media and Government wants to crush them for the interests of Israel). It's like an employee who has to bow down before the boss at work goes home to kick his dog. Or a kid who's insulted by a nasty teacher day in and day out takes out his anger on a weaker kid.

This could be the appeal of supporting Israel among many white conservatives. They can't kick ass at home, and so they take vicarious pleasure in watching 'westernized' Jews kick dark 'Muzzie' ass. For white neo-Condederates in the South, it reminds them of the old days when they had the power over blacks and enforced immigration policies which favored whites.

And Iraq War was cool for many conservatives cuz they got see Americans kick ass, drop bombs mercilessly, and etc. We can't shoot looters in the US; we can't even mow down terrorists on the spot. But we sure can kill Iraqi men, women, children, and blow up entire blocks of neighborhoods. How cool is that?
We can't do anything about illegal immigrants, but we can blow up entire areas of Libya.

This is the real danger of our foreign intervention. It offers us false catharsis. It solves no problem at home as we go on a wild sheep chase abroad.

As for liberals, maybe they get some cathartic kick out of it too. They cannot just mow down evil 'racist' conservatives in the US and Europe. They must grudgingly respect the rights of the Right. Since the likes of Cass Sunstein and others cannot use as guinea pigs, how refreshing to attack another country and experiment on THOSE people as a grand social lab experiment.
The third world is our laboratory.

Anonymous said...

"How much of this operation is an attempt by France to squeeze Italian corporations of Libya."

Steve, sometimes you read into things too much.

The simple answer as to why France is spearheading the war in Libya is because Nicolas Sarkozy is a major Neocon. Also, it doesn't hurt that Libya is a shitty country with almost no real defensive military force and anyone can attack it with they wanted to.

Luke Lea said...

"how much chance is there for conflict between European great powers over Italy" Huh?

Anonymous said...

It'd be nice if we could have a No Lie Zone.

Anonymous said...

People getting massacred in Bahrain. If you want kill a lot of people, make sure you're an ally of the West. The Suharto rule.

And when Nazi Germany and Soviet Union jointly invaded Poland and Baltic States(soon followed by Soviet attack on Finland), England and France only declared war on Germany. Politics is a funny game.

Anonymous said...

Boy, was the following story tailor-made for the iSteve-o-sphere, or what?!?


Mahatma Gandhi Reportedly Depicted As Bisexual, Racist In New Biography
03/28/11 01:28 PM ET
huffingtonpost.com

He is known as a kindly father figure in India, but Mahatma Gandhi was also a racist bisexual who left his wife for a male Jewish bodybuilder, according to a controversial new biography.

In "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India", former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld paints a different picture of the Indian independence leader and activist. As the Wall Street Journal is reporting, the book "obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that [Gandhi] was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist -- one who was often downright cruel to those around him."

Among the various charges disclosed in the book: Gandhi not only slept in beds with young women under the age of 18, but also engaged in a long-term, gay affair with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach, for whom India's peace icon eventually left his wife in 1908...



The worst fight I ever witnessed in Grad School occurred after I made the mistake of mentioning Richard Grenier's Commentary piece on Ghandi in some, ah, "mixed company", and about an hour later, when I finally left the scene, a Jewish econ candidate and a Hindu engineering candidate were still screaming at each other about it...

Anonymous said...

OT

Ivy League bound student pistol whips mom over car

http://huff.to/gKJppK

Anonymous said...

I agree with Luke's "huh?" comment. Explain yourself, Steve.

Nim M said...

US treasury seized 30 billion in Libyan assets. Euro nations had similar seizures.

Not sure how much of that will trickle back to these rebels.

Anonymous said...

"Mahatma Gandhi Reportedly Depicted As Bisexual, Racist In New Biography"

The new Gandhi:

"I am a Muslim, a Hindu, a Christian, and a Jew.. and gay too."

Anonymous said...

"US treasury seized 30 billion in Libyan assets. Euro nations had similar seizures.
Not sure how much of that will trickle back to these rebels."

Hmmm... I wonder if there's a China angle to this. Maybe McCain wasn't so far off when he said Middle East events have implications for China too.
China is rising. China holds mucho US dollars. Some say China will become a superpower. Chinese feel more confident yr after yr. Some say US and the West are slipping.

But look at recent events in Libya. US and EU came together overnight to destroy Gaddafi, seize his assets, and kick his ass. He is history.
When it comes to using moral excuses to seize assets, the West is second to none. Even the Opium Wars of the 19th century were justified on moral grounds: right of free trade and I guess the right of Chinese to become junkies. Rotfl.
Suppose US, not wanting to pay back Chinese loans, cooks up some 'moral' or 'human rights' excuse(Tibet, Chinese mistreatment of other minorities, Chinese repression of democracy, encouraging Taiwan to declare independence and provoking Chinese response, etc) to seize all Chinese assets. What is China gonna do about it? We may not be able to attack China like we did LIbya, but China won't dare attack us too. China will have to swallow the loss, hehe. And how many Americans would oppose the seizing of Chinese assets and reneging on our debt obligations? We would only be to happy to convince ourselves that there was a perfectly sound moral reason for the draconian actions.

So, maybe the NO FLY ZONE or whatever isn't the main thing here. It is the seizing of Libyan assets. In our globalized economy, China may manufacture lots of stuff but global finance is controlled by the West. If we choose, we can find some 'moral' excuse to write off our debts to China. This could be one of the reasons for our actions in Libya. It sends a message to China: if you dare mess with us, we'll fuc* you up. Gangster politics. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose all the schmoozing done by the West toward Gaddafi since 2003 was to make him lower his guard?
The West certainly couldn't have foreseen recent events, but maybe it was preparing for the day when new events would allow an attack on Gaddafi. Since the West wined and dined him, Gaddafi thought he was out of the woods. So, he invested his wealth all over the world with the help of global financiers, which made it vulnerable to being seized. He thought the West had made him into a 'made guy'--what Tommy thought in GOODFELLAS too.. until the bosses took him to a room and bang.

Barzini thought he was on top of the world too in THE GODFATHER. But as Vito taught Michael, 'keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.' After having met with the likes of Tony Blair, Gaddafi could not imagine the West coming down had on his ass. Hyman Roth got close to Michael too, pretending to be a friend, but Michael saw through the charade. Gaddafi didn't have Michael's keen instincts. He was more like Moe Green. Too much ego out of control to see the hidden reality in the shadows.

It also reminds me of THE LAST DON. Two mafia families make peace, but only one did so in good-will. The other family waited and waited, and then BANG, the other family was all dead.

PS. Did US lure Japanese investments in the 1980s to de facto seize them? Make Japan buy up US properties, devalue them, and then buy them back at bargain prices. If so, no one beats the Jews.

Anonymous said...

We are all Machiavellians now.

Anonymous said...

"Well France has among the worst reputations given their support for dictatorships in North Africa, but Italy still looms on the consciousness of eastern Libyans."

History changes. Britain used to be one of the major slave traders, but in the 19th century, it almost singlehandedly ended the slave trade.

Anonymous said...

Of course, cynics might say Brits ended the slave trade less out of moral decency but to promote its brand of 'free trade'.

Whiskey said...

Almost none at all Steve. Sarkozy is terrified of Camp of the Saints. So is much of his establishment backing. The French electorate is about 20% (based on recent elections and polls) for the National Front and Jeanne Le Pen, and about 40% for Socialists who WANT Camp of the Saints to "erase Whiteness" or something.

Obama is a disaster. He wants to lose, "to teach White America a lesson" or something, and figures MEDIA air cover and the Chicago way of cheating will be enough to get him re-elected, and then stay forever via a Fujimoro self-coup.

Can anyone honestly see Obama walking away from power and fame as President?

Whiskey said...

What Anti-Gnostic? Hillary was President, basically, for a while. Obama passed off to Hillary the job of explaining the no-fly zone combat last week. Then she was all over the talk shows on Sunday.

Obama does not CARE about Libya, and actively does not want a victory. His doctrine such as it is, consists of futile (and now failing) air power alone, something he thinks is cheap and easy, to project US power in the ME.

Anonymous said...

I can't get over the fact that Obama is willing to go on record as supporting "attendance rates" over "test scores".

It's the perfect metaphor for his entire life's experience - whereas Dubya and John Kerry were awarded the "Gentleman's C" just for showing up, with a little melanin in your skin, you're guaranteed the full-bore "AAA" [Affirmative-Action "A"].

Whiskey said...

Moreover Gates and Obama say different things. Gates says Libya is an American interest, but not a compelling one. Obama said in his speech it was a vital interest.

Obama justified "vital interest" by saying that the UN and "international community" had 'demanded' the US act. Basically the re-iteration of "responsibility to protect" or R2P. Which makes America's military the UN police force, to be used without Congress or the President having any say.

That's Obama's internationalism.

Whiskey said...

I'll add that NO ONE here, and that means Steve, gets how radical this is.

NO ONE GETS IT.

Obama's radical policies say the US military is now "out of our control" and is to be used as the UN and other nebulous international bodies see fit. Congress does not matter. Not even, according to Obama, the President. Obama has defined America's "national interest" as doing whatever the UN and other nations demand. Its consistent with his beliefs and radical policies, and destroys America's sovereignty and even President power.

Obama hates America so much he's made the Presidency into the plaything of foreigners. Make this his policy bow to the UN.

Anonymous said...

Bush: 'more humble foreign policy' but then Iraq War.

Obama: 'no right to use military force unless imminent threat' but then Libya War.

Whiskey said...

No we are not Machiavellians now. Machiavelli advised kill the king or leave him alone. We are doing neither, merely 'containing' Khadaffi and hoping something happens. Because Obama lacks the courage and political will to kick Khadaffi out, which requires ground troops.

France and Britain "major powers?" Please they have basically toy militaries (the US does all the work in Libya). France has one barely functional aircraft carrier. They disarmed and are terrified of Camp of the Saints. Running Center-Left governments, they are terrified of the hard right in reaction to the Camp. Italy is a center-right government, so it would welcome refugees because it would keep Berlusconi in power by a terrified people not wanting to become ruled by Muslims.

Whiskey said...

This thing has been a screw-up of gigantic proportions. Obama dithered (because he really did not care that much) when air power alone could have expelled Khadaffi and allowed the US to pick a winner among the rebels, increasing oil and say, jobs for Americans and American oil companies. A cheap win was foregone. [I agree with Gates, Libya is not a vital national interest but its smart to make examples and pick off money lying on the street when its cheap and easy.]

Now the Rebels (many if not most are AQ allied) are losing, Khadaffi winning somewhat, and bloody stalemate looks likely. Because Rice, Power, and Hillary got to Obama, weak and indecisive and uncaring last. Obama figured it was "smart" to leash the Presidency to the UN. He hates America so much. He's also dumb and uncaring.

josh said...

If Colonel Ghaddafi survives this coup I heard he is in line for a PROMOTION!General Ghaddafi? I like the sound of that!!

Anonymous said...

Could parallels be found between the Libya War and the Spanish-American War? Both were morally justified on humanitarian grounds. And both were major media events-- in the case of the Spanish-American War, largely driven by Hearst newspapers. Some historians even say it was a war that the US government did not want but was forced into by public outcry fueled by the yellow journalism. But then, media was owned by the rich who also controlled government, so...

As a result of the Spanish-American War, American 'liberated' Philippines and Cuba. In saving Filipinos from Spanish oppression, we had to put down an insurrection which killed anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 Filos. And we handed over Cuba to freedom lovers, culminating in Batista, who was overthrown by Castro, a kind of Gaddafi of the Caribbean. Ironically, just as Hearst papers pushed America into war, NY Times played a role in aiding Castro to power.

Maybe 'Hearst' should be used as a verb, as in US media hearsted US into the Iraq War and recently, hearsted US into war with Libya.

Of course, even before the Spanish-American War, Americans had a long history of using moral justification for war. It was called Cowboys and Indians. We had to send in the cavalry to save 'decent Christian women and children' from the red savages, but in the process we took their land and killed their women and children. It's just how history goes.

On the other hand, maybe things will be different. We can't wantonly kill as we did in the past. Nor can we nakedly take over other countries as imperialist possessions. Our rationale in Iraq and Afghanistan is 'democratization' and 'war on terror'.
Also, new media and communications are truly revolutionizing world political culture and consciousness. More than google, facebook and tweeter have connected people all over the globe, with English, MTV, and Hollywood as the common culture/lingo/music of world youth. Muslim world is like 50% under the age of 25, and Arabs Just Wanna Have Fun, like Cyndi Lauper might have said. The problem with Gaddafi's family was they were hogging all the fun to themselves. Gaddafi's kids were major western-style party animals from what I heard. If Gaddafi had shared the partying and good times with his people, they might have loved him. Likewise, Iranians felt dissed by the Shah cuz he invited rich foreigners to his glamour fest at Persepolis. He should have invited his own people. Anyway, Gaddafi cannot be 'cool' to young people who have access to music videos on youtube. He could only be cool in a nation where the only movie seen by young people is LION OF THE DESERT.

Anyway, there's gonna be more of a global virtual reality via the internet and other technology in the future. It'll be impossible for reactionary tyrants to keep their people, especially the tech-savvy young, in some kind of cocoon, at least if the nation is to make any economic progress. Notice that the songs of liberation in the Middle East are mostly in the style of rap.
Mark Zuckerberg owns us all.
Since Sailer isn't on facebook, he too shall be targeted by the NWO. He better get with the program.

Anonymous said...

The recent events are kinda like THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, with West as the good, Iraq's Hussein as the bad, and ugly as Gaddafi. In the famous shootout, Blondie killed Angel Eyes and then strung up Tuco.. only to spare him at the end.

Well, the West got rid of Hussein, and so there was only itself and Gaddafi the ugly left. Now, West has the gun while Gaddafi has been hoisted onto the crickety wooden crucifix with a noose around his neck. It's up to the West to spare him or let him die.
I can see Gaddafi now, with a noose tightening around his neck, muttering, 'Obama, my son, my brother, my muslim friend...', hoping and praying that Obama will cut the noose.

Should we tell Gaddafi what Obama really is? He's just a dirty son of.. ahahahahahah!!

Poor Gadfly. Lifeline from the West turned out to be a noose around his neck.
Just like Blondie never forgot the humiliation of having been dragged through the desert, the West hasn't forgotten Uglidaffi's nasty deeds.

dearieme said...

"But if not for NATO intervention, there might have been massive killing of Albanians by Serbs..... If we'd done nothing, Serbs might have tried to kill or push out all Albanians in Kosovo."

So there you are: you can attack anyone you like , even when you have no vital interest, just in case of what they might do. You now have a justification for attacking anyone, anywhere, at any time. Yippee!

Anonymous said...

The whole 'saving civilians' bit reminds me of the opening scene in THE WILD BUNCH. The boss of the town, Harrington, has a personal vendetta against the Bunch but hides it behind the LAW to get back at them.

In the name of the law, the 'good guys' battle the 'bad guys', with civilians caught between them getting massacred right and left.

There's no question that many Western leaders have long held a personal grudge against Gaddafi. They wanted to kick his ass all all along, and now they got the chance to use 'international law' to get him. And so, 'they'll blowing this town all to hell' and maybe it's 'better than a hog killing'.

Laban said...

A few ideas / points

1) Cameron didn't plan for this, having scrapped half the RAF in the previous 9 months, including all the Harriers and our only aircraft carriers. British media report that we're so short of pilots that instructors are flying missions in Libya.

2) Gaddafi and Berlusconi seem to get on pretty well, the Italian ENI company has extensive oil/gas interests. Italy have been paying Gaddafi to stop illegal immigrant boats for the last 2 years.

3) Now, immigrant boats are again arriving at Lampedusa. The locals (not the Government) barricaded the harbour yesterday to stop more arriving there.

4) France has extensive oil interests (Total) and were pretty much the first to recognise the rebels. Some think it's all about French oil.

5) BP have no assets there to speak of, but had an exploration deal. Maybe they found something.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need to understand the psychology of politics to understand why presidents keep taking us into war. The War Allure or Warlure. The three greatest presidents in US history were defined by war. Washington wasn't a war president but his fame rested on the Revolutionary War of Independence. Lincoln fought the biggest war on American territory. FDR fought WWII. (And Andrew Jackson, though not a war president, earned his reputation as a warrior in the War of 1812. And though Eisenhower wasn't a war president either--except for final yr of Korean War--, he was associated with WWII.)

War = greatness. It means boldness, grandeur, ambition, show of power, etc. It means entering the history books. Wilson too gained much from winning WWI and creating League of Nations, and he would have gone down as a great president had WWII not nullified the hopes of everlasting peace following the war to end all wars.

And Bush I was never as popular as when he took us into Gulf War. And Reagan was popular for quick wars, like in Grenada. Ironically, though war-like in rhetoric, Reagan was the most cautious among the great presidents. His greatest victory was winning the Cold War without firing a shot. And even when he hit Libya, he attacked to send a clear message, and that was that.

Maybe Bush II was sincere about a more humble foreign policy(though men around him did want war with Iraq from the beginning). But 9/11 pumped him up with egomania. He thought he could join the GREATS. He too could succeed as a great war president, a liberator of the Middle East. And had Iraq turned out pretty good and served as a beacon of democracy, he might indeed have gone down as a great president, even with the economic meltdown. And historians might connect recent events to the liberation of Iraq: Bush did it! He liberated Iraqis! He inspired Arabs to rise up! But Iraq was a mess, and so no one's connecting dots between Bush and Iraq.

Obama is a more careful political critter, but he too must have caught the war fever. He has a big ego after all. For liberal presidents, war also has a way of quieting dissent from conservatives who always go into 'support the troops' mode whichever war it is. And conservatives generally don't march in anti-war protests. And liberals won't dare oppose the war since Obama is a 'historic' black guy, and it would be playing to the 'racists' to undermine his presidency.

To be sure, Obama's politics is more jazzy than drunken honky tonk country music style of Bush. Obama is playing this war like a jazz piano tune, hitting hard, hitting soft, going fast, going slow, etc, playing it by ear, and he's got big ears. His war style, like his Cairo speech, is ambiguous, which may be appealing to 'hipster' sophisticates who, ho hum, flatter themselves that they 'get it', like NPR jazz fans taking pleasure from the nuance of jazz music that sounds like so much noise to untrained ears.

Anonymous said...

"Gaddafi had shared the partying and good times with his people, they might have loved him."

This could be true. Italians continue to support the corrupt and rotten Berlusconi because he parties with and to the people.

Anonymous said...

"If Colonel Ghaddafi survives this coup I heard he is in line for a PROMOTION!General Ghaddafi? I like the sound of that!!"

If he's smart, he'll leave the military and become 'civilian' Gaddafi and seek protection from the West.

travis said...

In Balzac's novel Lily of the Valley, one of the novel's characters, Lady Arabella, praises dying for love because it seperates her from middle class women ("Women of no birth can have diamonds, silks, horses, even coats-of-arms, which ought to be ours alone, for a name can be purchased! -- But to love, unabashed, in opposition to the law, to die for the idol she has chosen, and make a shroud of the sheets off her bed; to bring earth and heaven into subjection to a man, and thus rob the Almighty of His right to make a god, never to be false to him not even for virtue's sake...these are the heights to which vulgar women cannot rise!"). Such feeling was what remained of courtly love in the West, last seen in the antebellum American South. It was silly, without question, but perferable to the triumph of abolitionist women -- like Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers, and Susan Rice -- who display their superiority over other women by their grave concern for "genocide" in every corner of the globe. That's my neo-confederate combined with Whiskey interpretation of events.

A more sinister explanation is a neoliberal/neoconservative combined effort to divide the Tea Party.

elvisd said...

I know pretty much everyone buys the Serbian atrocity against Bosnians and Albanians story, and there is a lot of evidence for it, but there's another side to the story that I never hear mentioned.

When I was a kid, the WW II narrative I heard was that the Serbs were almost alone in Eastern Europe in standing up to the Nazis and taking some measures to protect the Jews.
The fascist element within the Croat, Albanian, and Bosnian communities seems to have been pretty substantial, with a lot of collaboration with the nazis. Tito was a Croat, but a Communist, too. From the limited reading I've done, it appears that it was the Serbs who were largely anti Fascist as well as anti Communist. The other communities apparently butchered the Serbs by the tens of thousands. I'll never forget that picture we were shown in class of the wall made of Serb skulls that the Bosnian fascists made.
Our high school principal was all over Europe in WWII and spoke of the Serbs with high regard. I also have a friend whose grandfather was one of Churchill's field marshals who went to his grave convinced that the Allies should have supported the Serb partisans rather than Tito's bunch.

I haven't researched this enough to say if all of the above is true, but at least some of it certainly is.

No, two wrongs don't make a right, but I'm sorry if I see the atrocities of the 90s as a unfortunate, but not unexpected, settling of some old scores from a few decades before.

Anonymous said...

The movie template for this would be 'Wag the Dog' 1997.

What puzzles me is that we have zero intelligence on this situation. An Admiral mumbled about 'knowledge gaps' yesterday when asked who the bandits (sorry rebels) actually were.

Yet, amazingly we have detailed knowledge of Gaddafi's plans to bayonnet babies, etc. I don't mind OUR wartime propaganda during OUR wars, but this proxy pseudo-wartime PR campaign on behalf of a mystery beneficiary is too surreal for me.

Gilbert Pinfold.

Anonymous said...

To be sure, Obama's politics is more jazzy than drunken honky tonk country music style of Bush. Obama is playing this war like a jazz piano tune, hitting hard, hitting soft, going fast, going slow, etc, playing it by ear, and he's got big ears."


I like Bob Bennett's take on Obama (actually, he credited this to a journalist friend, but didn't give the guy's name): Obama is an outside shooter. He doesn't hit the boards or like mixing it up under the basket, throwing elbows.

Healthcare, stimulus, Israel, 3 wars, Gitmo...

He'll take the perimeter shot and if he has an off night, he'll wait for the others to go after the rebounds.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

What Anti-Gnostic? Hillary was President, basically, for a while. Obama passed off to Hillary the job of explaining the no-fly zone combat last week. Then she was all over the talk shows on Sunday

I don't watch TV. My impression from the internet was she's been pretty quiet since Gates said he's not on board for this one but I will readily admit if I'm wrong.

Bantam said...

Eureka!The tough Marshal just got the appropriate answer.

none of the above said...

The explanations we get for this kind of decision are more like just-so stories than like real explanations. The decision is the result of a political process that bears no more resemblance to human verbal reasoning than evolution or the internal processes driving an anthill. After the decision is made, partisans and spokesmen and speechwriters come up with some kind of more or less coherent story to explain the decision.

A good model for this is stock market reporting, where some empty headed journalist "explains" the movement of the Dow today with some vaguely plausible throwaway phrase about worries about inflation or enthusiasm about the latest economic numbers.

Anonymous said...

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2011/0326/Bernard-Henri-Levy-War-in-Iraq-was-detestable.-War-in-Libya-was-inevitable

Juif on Libya.

chickenhawk sighter said...

Maybe we need to understand the psychology of politics to understand why presidents keep taking us into war. The War Allure or Warlure."

or as Don Quixote said, "this country stinks of peace..? Sort of like that? The people who don't have to fight and die and kill themselves, get to send others off to do it, so they can be called "great." Disgusting. I notice you left out LBJ and Nixon.
No wonder Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex and their plans for eternal war.

Hail said...

Great comment by Anonymous "Catharsis" commenter above. I have reposted a condensed version here.

David said...

When will the US arm the Tibetans? (sound of crickets)

Doesn't democracy mean taking the side of any armed mob anywhere in the world, at unlimited cost? Since democracy is a moral absolute?

We live in a wide, wide world with all kinds of different people in it, yet, curiously, all moral absolutes these days tend to center on oil, and / or Jews. Everyone and every place else can get stuffed: evidently that is our politicians' attitude.

(No, I'm not Richard Gere. It was just an example.)

David said...

Decartes said

>Gaddhafi needed no provocation besides [ARMED] rebellion.<

Fixed.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

The recent events are kinda like THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, with West as the good, Iraq's Hussein as the bad, and ugly as Gaddafi."

There's two kinds of people in the world. People with loaded guns. And people who dig.