March 25, 2011

Obama's Libyan end game isn't really that confusing

Obama's "Don't Look at Me, I Don't Make the Decisions around Here, I'm Just the President" act is wearing thin. The press has finally woken up to the fact that very little that the Administration has said about Mr. Obama's War makes much sense. The lead article in today's New York Times, "Allies Are Split on Goal and Exit Strategy of Libya Mission," is full of fun phrases:
inchoate ... remains divided ... complicated the planning ... ill defined for now ... days of public quarreling ... divisions among the alliance’s members ... frayed almost immediately ... papering over the differences ... questions swirling ... larger strategic divisions ... reservations percolated in Congress... In fact, Mr. Obama has not made clear what will happen ...

Yet, the bottom line about what will happen isn't really all that confusing. What matters most is that Obama has an election coming up in 19 months. He can't afford to go into the campaign known as The President of the United States Who Started a War with Muammar Gaddafi and Failed to Win. He'd be better off getting the word LOSER tattooed on his forehead.

So ... Obama is going to keep dropping bombs on Libya until Khadafy is gone.

That's it. That's the goal / strategy / end game / whatever: don't lose the election by losing the war.

I'm not saying that Obama had this all figured out from the moment he agreed to start the war or that he's even figured it out after a week, but it will eventually dawn on him that his alternatives are now:

1) Lose to Crazy America-Hating Terrorist Moamar Khadaffy, or
2) Drop More Bombs.

So he will choose what's behind Door #2.

Of course, after Qadafi is gone, a whole bunch more stuff will happen in Libya, but, seriously, who cares? How much does Obama care about Libya versus how much does he cares about his fabulous career? It's Libyatown, Jake.

86 comments:

Robert said...

On Americans:
"Why must you act as if stupidity were a virtue?"
Hardy Kruger to Jimmy Stewart in the original "Flight of the Phoenix."

Anonymous said...

Hey, he knows he's got the msm behind him because no matter what he does, no matter how bad things get, he knows the media simply will not turn against him because to do so means they have to admit their own pre-election and post-election behavior has been abominable.

headache said...

I liked what Cavuto was inferring whilst interviewing Ron Paul. Basically the US took the lead to prevent France from doing so and reaping the rewards. Paul just said the obvious that it makes Obama's decision even more awful, i.e. not only did he bypass congress, but also started the war out of jealousy to the French, who could have scored an easy foreign policy win.

Gadfly is a really easy target coz his setup consists of massive amounts of hardware (which can easily be identified and destroyed from the air) run by mercenaries. The French would also not have squirmed to send in their Foreign Legion whilst proclaiming to strictly adhere to the UN (fly-only) resolution.

This whole situation just proves Ron Paul is so right about his foreign non-intervention.

BrokenSymmetry said...

"The French would also not have squirmed to send in their Foreign Legion "

Ah the legendary Foreign Legion. Formed in 1831, its only success was in the conquest of Algeria (1830s) but since its formation, France has been defeated in every major conflict since then (they've managed to end up on the winning side a couple of times but thats another story).

eh said...

Taken on its face, it's sheer idiocy. A 'no fly zone', which was itself a very bad idea, has morphed into nothing less than making war on the Libyan regime. It's absolutely disgraceful that Congress is sitting on its hands during all this.

But maybe nothing in the Middle East can be taken at face value.

Anonymous said...

The problem goes like this. Europeans resent American leadership and dominance. This has always been so, though Bush II made it much worse with his brashness. Europeans want to work with US as EQUAL partners. But as we saw in the Kosovo War, only US can lead any joint operation. Not only is the US the most powerful nation but American power is centralized in Washington. European power is spread out among London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Warsaw, etc. Divided and squabbly.
So, only US can play the leading role. But Obama doesn't want to play that role because he fears getting pulled in too deep.

Europeans want Americans to lead in reality but act as if it's all a joint effort among equal partners. It's like Obama is supposed to play Michael Jordan and score the most points, all the while pretending that team effort among equals won the game.

Anonymous said...

But hey, it's kinetic!

Canderson Aooper said...

Obama figures that he has to be the best at something, and what he has the most talent for is screwing up. He's already alienated the right, so why not alienate his base on the left? That way he can go down in history as the president who achieved the lowest approval ratings ever in the history of the US. The left is all about a race for the bottom anyway, right?

Anonymous said...

Again, if he just drops bombs until Qadafi* dies, good! Qadafi needs killing. What Libya does after that is none of my business; if another guy starts terrorizing us, hell, we have no shortage of bombs. Perhaps we could just nuke the place.

*Remember the old days, when we could safely bloody Anglicize words? Now there are a thousand variant spellings for everything and no one knows what anyone else is talking about, and we devote completely unnecessary hours to figuring out which spelling to use.

My goodness we are retarded.

beowulf said...

Headache, you're right. There was no reason not to sit this one out and leave it to France and Britain to have their own splendid little war (we could have always quietly supply the British with any armaments or supplies they were lacking, as we did during the Falklands war).

Wasn't Robert Gates more or less openly saying beforehand that this was a bad idea? But what does he know about war, Mrs. Cass Sunstein (Samantha Power) has written books about it! :o)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-25/samantha-power-brought-activist-role-inside-to-help-sway-obama-on-libya.html

DCThrowback said...

@headache

In the last 24 months its become clear that a lot of what Ron & Rand Paul stand for is right.

Anonymous said...

Republicans have zero right to complain. How much have we lost in blood and treasure in Iraq after we knew there were no weapons of mass destruction?

none of the above said...

This whole campaign is a pointless clusterf--k, but it will surely go better if it's a clusterf--k with some kind of plan, like "Hey mercenaries: NATO planes are going to keep bombing you until Gadaffi turns up dead, at which point it will be much healthier for you to be the hell out of Libya. Do whatever seems wisest given this input."

headache said...

There is a more ominous angle to this. Perhaps Whiskey can elucidate.

Apparently Israel is managing Gadfly's attempt to reassert power across Lybia. They have hired 50000 mercenaries for him and are helping him with planning and logistics. Given that his army is minuscule and probably incompetent, its safe to assume that IDF officers, working for Israeli security companies, are running his operation and making a decent buck. It makes geopolitical sense for Israel to try and shape the outcome of the spat in Lybia anyway.

This would have pitted Israel directly against France, a NATO member, which is not surprising given the general disdain of Jews towards Europeans and the fact that France seeks to dominate this piece of real-estate in its backyard.

Perhaps the US intervened to stop its favorite client state from starting a war against NATO, which according to NATO statue would have forced the US to support France against Israel, an impossibility. Or the US to take action against NATO, which is like shooting yourself in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Well the administration had better kill that Kadaffy Duck quickly before the Duck gets the bright idea to do a document dump of all the money the Duck funnelled to the Obama campaign the last time around.

In the game of paper, bomb, disclosure, bomb beats paper but not disclosure.

Harry Baldwin said...

Khadafi's head must be spinning. Less than three years ago, he was well on his way to rehabilitation with the passage of the "Libyan Claims Resolution Act," passed by unanimous vote on July 31, 2008, and sponsored by Senator Joe Biden.

While not denying that Khadafi had done and continued to do despicable things, Biden had this to say in favor of rapprochement:

"It is clearly in the interest of the United States to develop better relations with Libya. Libya is an important country as a gateway between Europe and Africa, which shares a border with the Darfur region of Sudan, and is a member of OPEC. Colonel Qadhafi appears to have made a break with his past support for terrorism and efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.That is good news for Libya, for the United States, and for the world.

"It also is a powerful demonstration that diplomatic engagement, backed up with sanctions and incentives, can change the behavior of countries whose policies threaten our interests. There is a lesson in here for more productive approaches we could have taken earlier with other problematic countries. It is important for countries like Iran, North Korea, and Syria that pursue malevolent policies to see that there is a roadmap back into the international community if they modify their behavior."

But in the event of an uprising, all bets are off!

BTW, if there is a popular uprising in the US against our government, will President Obama forswear the use of force?

Mannerheim said...

Lol at spelling KQaddaffiyi's name differently every time you write it, I assume that's a deliberate joke

Chicago said...

The attack on Libya seems to be Clinton's project as Obama has been visiting South America doing what he does best, and that's giving speeches. Obama has got to be the most worthless, hollow, incapable, lazy and detached gasbag of a president we've ever had; everything is simply delegated out to his underlings while he travels the world like a visiting maharajah. The historically minded would, I'm sure, be able to come up with other candidates for the most worthless president contest; it would be a good debate. Americans sure didn't stand a chance back in '08 what with the miserable choices offered to them. That was the best we could do? The game must have been rigged.

Mr. Anon said...

"headache said...

I liked what Cavuto was inferring whilst interviewing Ron Paul."

I agree with your post, however:

It's "implying", not "inferring", damn it. Implying. Have people forgotten how to speak English?

Rham Turdblossom said...

The "Decider" he is not.

But then again neither was Bush.

OBushbama are both the same vacuous tool of powerful interests that sold them. Both seemed disinterested in the job of POTUS although Bush had more organizational experience and consequently a better sense of command (misguided as it was) while Obama has little.

Obama has more conviction for tangential racial issues and really enjoys the benes like Whitehouse parties, fancy state vacations, playing golf and hanging with celebs.

Kylie said...

"What matters most is that Obama has an election coming up in 19 months. He can't afford to go into the campaign known as The President of the United States Who Started a War with Muammar Gaddafi and Failed to Win."

Exactly. Which is why I made this comment three days ago under the entry, "America's New Strategic Allies, Part Two":

"Even if Obama were a pan-Africanist, he'd know that it wouldn't get him much political capital at home to make an issue of it. And I have no doubt that right now [h]is chief concern is not the suffering of his black brethren in a foreign land but the reelection of Barack Obama right here in the USA."

I'm not saying that I'm as smart, perceptive or informed as Steve. Only that Obama's narcissism makes him amazingly predictable.

Kylie said...

"...he {Obama] knows he's got the msm behind him because no matter what he does, no matter how bad things get, he knows the media simply will not turn against him because to do so means they have to admit their own pre-election and post-election behavior has been abominable."

You're a newcomer to the way things work in a leftist state, aren't you?

When the left finds a position it holds untenable, it simply drops it and adopts another one better suited to its agenda. The untenable position is then dropped down the memory hole and any conservatives who bring it up just look as though they're holding ancient grudges.

Remember in January of this year when that nutcase shot a Democratic congresswoman? The nut's supposed right-wing bigotry was splashed all over all the media. When just a cursory examination of his background established that he was no right-winger, that accusatory line of "thought" was simply dropped, with no apologies and no explanations.

There's already a lot of grumbling on the left because Obama has not hewed to the party line. But unless they find someone more to their liking, I'm not at all sure they'll abandon him. If they do, though, count on their previous support for him falling down the memory hole.

CB said...

I think Obama's "policy" in Libya, as in regard to the Middle East generally, is mostly based on optics. I don't think he's actually that interested in shaping the future of the region one way or the other. (His grand ambitions are in the domestic sphere.) However, he saw an unpopular regime appearing to be on the verge of toppling, and, given the willingness of other countries to take action, Obama thought (guessed) it would be better, on balance, for him to be seen on the side of the topplers than on the side of the toppl-ees (or, for that matter, the side of humble restraint). He probably also sensed it would enhance his domestic political prospects to fight and win a war, since the Bushes had each reaped short-term popularity windfalls in this fashion.

IOW, to the extent Obama thought about this decision, his thoughts were focused on what would make him look the best both in the U.S. and around the world.

Aaron Baugher said...

During the campaign, when people were insisting that Obama was a peacemaker who was going to get us out of Bush's foreign wars, I predicted that, if anything, he'd get us into additional wars in Africa. I was thinking more of Darfur than Libya or Egypt, but give him time.

Not because he really cares two figs about Africa, of course; but because he wants to care about Africa so very much. Even more, he wants to be seen as caring terribly about it.

Carol said...

I think we've devolved to a point where not taking out a dictator implies we "support" him. This is shit left over from the Carter "human rights' years.

No doubt in the absence of an embargo, there is aid and trade going back and forth, which looks like support I suppose. But if a dictator is not bothering us or our allies, who cares. You'd think our finances would constrain us to this position anyway.

Anonymous said...

You're completely right. Qaddafi and Libya are not that important in and of themselves. We would like there to be a liberal democracy in Libya but clearly we lack the will to invade and occupy after recent history. Its real importance is on our domestic politics.

Obama's decision making has all the appearance of a man who has panic disorder. Charles Krauthammer, a licensed psychiatrist, casually referred to Obama as one having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Krauthammer had to backtrack a bit since he had never personally examined him - but the TV diagnosis stuck.

In any case Obama seems to be a remarkably inauthentic man. He has a need to remain hidden and so he squirms in the glare of his office's very public exposure.

Normal well balanced executives like to work. They often out work all their subordinates. They subscribe to the "work hard, play hard" life style. This seems to be the Donald Trump pattern.

But Obama seems lazy. I charitably ascribe his indolence to pressure not just character. He can't take pressure and must minimize it in any way he can.

That's why at Harvard when he was voted in the midst of a racial dispute to head the Law Review he basked in the glory of it all but never managed any actual law reviewing. That's why he so often voted "present" as a state legislator. And that's why doesn't give speeches so much as he reads them.

Now as President he plays golf, plays fantasy sports and flies off to foreign countries on any pretext. This is a man who refuses to engage the stressful parts of the job and who needs an extraordinary amount of "down time".

He works hard at trying to appear cool and calm. But we are not deceived. Let's find out his blood level of corticosteroids. Does he take Xanax? Does he take Paxil?

We obsess over Barry Bonds' medications. Shouldn't we similarly have access to Obama's medicine cabinet.

Albertosaurus

greenrivervalleyman said...

Given the resemblance of much of Libya to the Australian outback and your earlier references to Mad Max (a cultural relic from the era during which Kaddafi was considered as much public enemy #1 as bin Laden is today), it's more like:

"Forget it, Jake, it's Bartertown."

Anonymous said...

The disappearing act--I am sure the Big O will use his Saturday radio address to "talk about the humanitarian decision."

He seems to have made a habit of using these off-Broadway small theatre Saturday addresses when he wants to hide.

Anonymous said...

So their justification for starting the war was that Khadafy had bombed his own people. The neocons got jealous - why is HE having all the fun - so they quickly joined him. Now they can finally bomb Libyan people too.

Whiskey said...

Steve, that's not Obama's strategy. It is to outsource the war to NATO, and Hillary Clinton. The latter addressing the nation as if she were President. While Obama parties, parties, parties in Rio!

His true air cover is the Press. Which remains firmly up his buttocks. Talk Show host Jimmy Fallon criticized Obama and Brian Williams his guest rabidly defended Obama as being in command and control, even abroad. Andrea Mitchell called Obama a military/political genius.

Whiskey said...

Headache, Paul is reliably stupid on non-intervention. That policy works well for Switzerland, the US is not Switzerland. We run on cheap oil. Which requires not unicorns, rainbows, and strongly worded letters of regret but military force, including boots on the ground, to make sure the oil flows at a price we can live with.

And the price for doing what Paul suggests is being very, very, very poor. Unless you want to pay $10 a gallon for gas and all that implies (subsistence diet, utter poverty).

josh said...

Libya belongs to Europe anyway;dont they get most of his oil? The Big Dummy shouldve stayed out of it.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Trump's birther pot stirring will trump Obama's war hero posturing?

Anonymous said...

Headache, Paul is reliably stupid on non-intervention. That policy works well for Switzerland, the US is not Switzerland. We run on cheap oil. Which requires not unicorns, rainbows, and strongly worded letters of regret but military force, including boots on the ground, to make sure the oil flows at a price we can live with.

And the price for doing what Paul suggests is being very, very, very poor. Unless you want to pay $10 a gallon for gas and all that implies (subsistence diet, utter poverty).


First, thank you for using the term non-intervention and not isolationist. Second, you're not netting the cheap price of oil with the huge cost of making it so. In an earlier post, you threw out a number, $650 billion I believe, that would be the additional amount Americans would have to pay at the pump for a large increase in the cost of oil. This is probably true, but Americans are already shelling out almost that amount annually on defense.

So to defend Paul, we would pay more for gas at the pump, but we would sure as hell pay a lot less for defense, which would lead to a smaller government which in itself is a worthy outcome.

Also, given that the Chinese seem to be the main beneficiary of oil contracts in Iraq after all our heavy lifting, I no longer want to follow your strategy. It'd be one thing if we followed your strategy and profited, but I can't stomach the PRC getting the lion's share.

headache said...

Mr. Anon sez: It's "implying", not "inferring", damn it. Implying. Have people forgotten how to speak English?

err.. ok..sorry. My mother tongue is German, so I don't consider myself a fluent speaker/writer, but thanks for correcting me anyway.

Kudzu Bob said...

Once again Whiskey cranks out another wearisome post on how America runs on "cheap" oil. And once again he deliberately fails to mention that in order to get that "cheap" oil we spend more money on the military than all other countries in the world put together. What a lying little twit.

headache said...

OK Whiskey, I get your point about cheap oil, but if you factor in the costs for these wars your effective oil price may just be much higher than what you can live with. Paul sez that if you let the chips fall where they may, most oil producers still need to sell oil in order to eat and the effective price will drop.

Anyway, I'm curious about the purported Israeli involvement with Gadfly. Any info on that? It would add an interesting angle to this, maybe they are playing both sides?

Anonymous said...

Criticizing Obama's decision-making is one thing, criticizing him for going to Brazil or picking NCAA brackets is just juvenile.

Kylie said...

@ Kudzu Bob,

Good to see you again.

Anonymous said...

"The problem goes like this. Europeans resent American leadership and dominance. This has always been so, though Bush II made it much worse with his brashness."

Ironic, isn't it, that on an HBD blog on which we talk so much of the sycophantic, weak, pandering "I'm-not-at -prejudiced and-let-me -prove-it-to-you" elite lib crowd who kneel at the altar of diversity for diversity's sake, we have a President who bows at the altar of conformity with "We're-not-more- capable-than-you-and-by-God-I'll-prove-it-to-you."

David said...

>There's already a lot of grumbling on the left because Obama has not hewed to the party line. But unless they find someone more to their liking, I'm not at all sure they'll abandon him. If they do, though, count on their previous support for him falling down the memory hole.<

Wonder if it's a good idea to invest in companies making that stuff that removes sticky gunk. Maybe a lot of people will soon be scrubbing off their Obama bumper stickers.

Luke Lea said...

"His grand ambitions are in the domestic sphere."

I dunno. What did he accomplish as a community organizer?

David said...

Libya supplies only 3% of the oil used in the United States. Most Libyan oil (74%) goes to Italy, France, China, Germany, and Spain. (Sources: Global Trade Atlas, EIA, IEA, FACTS Global Energy here.)

Since the oil market is worldwide, it would make sense for the US to join a coalition of these countries to stop a threat to this supply.

But two caveats are in order:

1. The countries using the most oil must pull the most weight in the coalition. For example, Italy should be the one to send ground troops if necessary, not the United States.

2. The threat must be existential, not a temporary political squabble like a civil war. If, say, the Muslim Brotherhood (or Goldfinger) had nukes and plotted nihilistically to reduce Libya to a sheet of glass, that would exemplify an existential threat to the oil supply. In contrast, whoever wins a conventional civil war in Libya will continue to supply oil in line with the market.

A further consideration is that fact that the so-called leader of the free world and Boss of Any Coalition is deeply in debt and militarily overextended.

(Just thought it would be good to put up a primer in here for the record. NYT writers may be lurking.)

Truth said...

"Once again Whiskey cranks out another wearisome post on how America runs on "cheap" oil....What a lying little twit."

Yo Kudzee, you're back; with a blast at that!

Anonymous said...

You're over-estimating Obama's acumen.

“We didn’t want to get sucked into an operation with uncertainty at the end,” the senior administration official said. “In some ways, how it turns out is not on our shoulders.”

Obama is used to being a bystander, someone that's not responsible for whatever happens. He's trying to turn this into a war committee, so responsibility will be sufficiently diffuse that he can shrug and walk away.

Anonymous said...

But the problem is, there's just no guarantee at all that dropping bombs on Khadafi's forces is going to oust Khadifi from power.

Khadafi has already engaged in his, and the, standard counter-tactic: surrounding himself, and his forces, with civilian shields.

Obama can't look good if Khadafi stays in power, but he's going to look really awful too if there are videos of civilian carnage after American bombing raids.

He should have spent a little more time thinking this one out. Sometimes, Presidentin' is hard, and is probably better left to those who like it more than they do spectator sports.

Svigor said...

Hey, he knows he's got the msm behind him because no matter what he does, no matter how bad things get, he knows the media simply will not turn against him because to do so means they have to admit their own pre-election and post-election behavior has been abominable.

How so? Paint a picture for me. The media starts doing it's job vis-a-vis Obama, even if only on this issue...then what? Where does the inevitable mea culpa part come in?

Truth said...

6 months off and he came straight back to hit Whiskey with a straight right to the chin; even Ali took a tuneup fight first!

Anonymous said...

"It's absolutely disgraceful that Congress is sitting on its hands during all this."

Obama belongs to AIPAC and Zionist Wall Street. Democrats in Congress are not gonna oppose a 'historic' black president(and they also belong to AIPAC). Conservatives are always into 'support the troops', warmongering, and flexing American muscle abroad(and they also belong to AIPAC).

No Fly Zone in Libya, and No Free Zone in the US. We all belong to the Hyman Roths of the world.

not a hacker said...

Libya is an important country as a gateway between Europe and Africa.

Thanks to Henry Baldwin for illustrating the difference between our day and the vanished adulthood of the past.

Anonymous said...

Libya Let Die than Libya Let Live.

Anonymous said...

Are Libyian rebels Libyarals?

Anonymous said...

The Glibyan War.

Anonymous said...

"Obama figures that he has to be the best at something, and what he has the most talent for is screwing up."

Whether one supports or opposes the NO FLY ZONE, it's too early to tell at this point if it gonna turn out good or bad.

Svigor said...

This would have pitted Israel directly against France, a NATO member, which is not surprising given the general disdain of Jews towards Europeans and the fact that France seeks to dominate this piece of real-estate in its backyard.

It's not like Israel's that much closer to Libya than France is.

Just sayin'...


It's "implying", not "inferring", damn it. Implying. Have people forgotten how to speak English?

In his defense, IIRC Headache's first language is not English. More to the point, do you have more context? Because it isn't at all clear that he made an error just from what he posted - it could go either way, depending on context.

When the left finds a position it holds untenable, it simply drops it and adopts another one better suited to its agenda. The untenable position is then dropped down the memory hole and any conservatives who bring it up just look as though they're holding ancient grudges.

Yeah, I'm not grokking the implication that the MSM has to or will come clean about jack shit. They have no track record for doing so. They're the Alfred E. Neumann industry.

err.. ok..sorry. My mother tongue is German, so I don't consider myself a fluent speaker/writer, but thanks for correcting me anyway.

And you just cut and run after I defended you... :)

Anonymous said...

"Khadafi's head must be spinning. Less than three years ago, he was well on his way to rehabilitation with the passage of the 'Libyan Claims Resolution Act,' passed by unanimous vote on July 31, 2008, and sponsored by Senator Joe Biden."

He should have seen THE GODFATHER more closely. Remember what happened to Carlo? Oh, he was gonna be Michael's righthand man in Vegas but only got a necktie.

Anonymous said...

Gaddafi should have read American history. White man make peace with Indian, and Indian think white man his blood brother. But white man soon look for excuse to scalp red man's behind.

Anonymous said...

"Republicans have zero right to complain. How much have we lost in blood and treasure in Iraq after we knew there were no weapons of mass destruction?"

What are you talking about? 99% of Republicans are complaining that Obama isn't aggressive enough. Ron Paul is an anomaly in the party.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any of this would be happening if Gaddafi hadn't supported and funded all those anti-Western causes in the past. If Gaddafi had been more like Suharto, the West might not give a shit if he's killing a bunch of people.

Anonymous said...

"Steve, that's not Obama's strategy. It is to outsource the war to NATO, and Hillary Clinton."

NATO is nothing without the US. Hillary belongs to AIPAC.

Anonymous said...

The model here is clearly Kosovo, where there was a squabbling alliance, weird rules of engagement and a perennially shifting mandate. But eventually NATO firepower inflicted enough pain to make the Serbs back down.

And the Serbs were a lot cannier as well as better fighters than the Libyan army and mercenaries, while the Kosovo Liberation Army wasn't really any better than the rebels we're supporting. And that was in the forested, rainy, hilly Balkans, not the big open deserts of Libya.

This might be an ugly win for the West, but there's no doubt it will eventually be one.

Truth said...

"I wonder if any of this would be happening if Gaddafi hadn't supported and funded all those anti-Western causes in the past. If Gaddafi had been more like Suharto, the West might not give a shit if he's killing a bunch of people."

It's insignificant, and the West doesn't give a shit. The facts that will get Gaddafi killed are:

A) He has oil.
B) He plans on selling more of it to China.

Period.

Anonymous said...

"The model here is clearly Kosovo, where there was a squabbling alliance, weird rules of engagement and a perennially shifting mandate. But eventually NATO firepower inflicted enough pain to make the Serbs back down."

The analogy is inept. Libya, unlike Serbia vs Kosovo, is engaged in a civil war. Khadafy and his people have no other place to go.

Kudzu Bob said...

Kylie writes, Good to see you again.

You’re very kind. However, I am hellishly busy with a nonfiction project, and will remain scarce in these parts for a while longer. I just hope that Obama's blunders don't drag us into World War Three before I get to hold an advance copy in my hands.

Twoof: What is there to say, really?

Anonymous said...

"The model here is clearly Kosovo, where there was a squabbling alliance, weird rules of engagement and a perennially shifting mandate."

Kosovo was easier to fix. Separation of Kosovo from Serbia. Are there clear ethnic or tribal boundaries in Libya?
Ironically, this might be more like the liberation of Italy(nation that invaded Libya) in WWII. North taken over by communist partisans, South taken over by mafia-backed Christian Democrats. In the end, Libya might end up with its own Berlusconi. If that's the case, why not just stick with Gaddafi, a kind of Berlu of the Arabs?

Difference Maker said...

We go on all these adventures and we don't even get oil. Whiskey, save it for the President

Anonymous said...

The goal is to get Libyans, or our operatives, to assassinate Ghaddafi asap. I don't see any upside for Obama, for African 'governments', for the ANC, Mugabe, for the British, for the Scottish Parliament or any of the many, many constituencies he has so assiduously bribed, in having this man either as a guest, or openly on trial.

Can anyone imagine him sitting out the rest of his life quietly in some villa on the Red Sea or somewhere?

Anon.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody understand that Libya is simply the opening act to move around chess pieces for the larger Middle Eastern WW3 involving Iran and Israel, with the larger states using proxies?

Wake up, folks. The signs for Iranian war have been obvious for three years or longer.

Anonymous said...

I think Obama could oversee a Ninth Legion situation and plenty of people would still vote for him at the next election. The 2008 cycle was a display of rational decision-making.

Mel Torme said...

May be a double post, but I got to some advertising page - confusing ...

"And the price for doing what Paul suggests is being very, very, very poor. Unless you want to pay $10 a gallon for gas and all that implies (subsistence diet, utter poverty)."

Whiskey, I have agreed with you before (too ashamed to admit in print ;-), but this is just wrong. Besides (as others have already written back) the price paid for the supply of oil in blood of soldiers who signed up to defend America and the price of our military empire, there's the economics you don't get:

Oil is a fungible commodity - nobody selling it or buying it cares where it came from, if the price is right. Oil is oil (yes I know there are different qualities/compositions). Think of what would happen we didn't defend the supply. The countries over there will pump it anyway, unless they want to be a country like Bangladesh or Burma in poverty, but without the water for farming. They would have about as much power or people in the world caring about them as they did in the 1800's or even the first 2/3 of the 20th century, when oil easy to come by.

Can you see that the middle east and N. Africa need to pump the oil, whoever is in charge? If the oil is flowing, there is no way to charge one country one price and another twice as much. There will be a middleman to buy it at the 1st price and charge us 1 % more. Who is that middleman? I thought you'd never ask. I'll volunteer right now; I'll get iSteve readers to all chip in on tanker rental and a Phillipine crew (with 50 Cal Barretts for the part of the route around the Somalian coast).

Sure, the oil flow could be wiped out temporarily by a civil war, but when it's over, the folks in any middle east hellhole will still call for the American petroleum engineers and technicians that can get things done.

We need to get the hell out of all the world's business (including troops in Germany, S. Korea, and 100 other countries). Why are we using borrowed Chinese money to allegedly keep all the worlds oil supply "safe"?

2 things that you are wrong about: 1) Ron Paul is absolutely right and a great American. 2) for a conservative, you really don't seem to understand markets (or you don't have faith in them).

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. More lightweight, instant ramen commentary about Libya. Just add "Obama is a narcissist."

investorcs said...

All these convoluted theories are unnecessary. Occam's razor provides us with a much simpler explanation:

Obama is the first anti-American president. His dissembling keeps everyone off balance, meanwhile he is doing exactly what he intends, i.e., in every Mideast situation he is supporting the Islamists and weakening America. And there is an added bonus... all these newly emboldened Islamic players will now be much more likely to stage a successful concerted attack on Israel.

Gene said...

Lyndon Johnson escalated the Vietnam War for a very similar reason--he wanted to ensure he didn't lose the upcoming election to Barry Goldwater.

jack strocchi said...

The regime change of Libya is no different in kind from the regime change in Iraq. There is a difference in degree, no land forces used - but the night is young.

National socialist Arab oil dictator guilty of previously

- invading neighbours
- assembling WMDs
- persecuting dissidents
- harbouring terrorists

There is a formal difference, UN authorisation. But no difference in substance, A coalition of imperial powers waging pre-emptive war to promote democracy.

The biggest single difference: Obama, rather than Bush, is C-in-C. Hence the press's fawning treatment.

I hope Gaddaffi goes because he is a Bad Guy. But I hope we don't get dragged into another ME quagmire. Libya is, to paraphrase Bismark, "not worth the bones of a single [American] grenadier".

It would be nice if the liberal media-academia complex could at least acknowledge the similarities.

Kylie said...

"Oh boy. More lightweight, instant ramen commentary about Libya. Just add 'Obama is a narcissist.'"

We don't have to add that. His narcissism comes with the package and is the most notable thing about him.

Now toddle on back to HuffPo where you can indulge in your knee-jerk defense of Black Narcissus to your spleen's content.

none of the above said...

investorcs:

Oddly, on left-wing boards, I saw exactly the same statement made, repeatedly, about Bush during his two terms. It's almost as though partisans convince themselves that their opponents are devils, and that their allies are at least tolerable.

I think reality is less simple and clean. National level politics is about as competitive a field as professional basketball or professional acting or becoming a tenured math professor at a top school. And in all four of those super-competitive fields, you'll find that the successful people have a great deal in common, not just in their interest int the field, but also in their personalities and values and the way their minds work. Bush, Obama, McCain, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Edwards, Romney, and all the rest serious presidential candidates are more alike, in terms of values and personality, than any of them are like normal people, even normal smart driven successful people. If they weren't willing to sell their own grandmothers out to get elected, if they weren't willing to equivocate on their most deeply felt beliefs, they couldn't get anywhere close to winning an election. To run for president means you have to want the power and fame and adulation enough to accept crap like having your only safety, from now on, lie in a troop of fanatically-loyal armed guards surrounding you and your family, or having every word and deed in your past dug through for something that can be made to look damning. You have to want power enough to swallow whatever beliefs you have, no matter how heartfelt, when they become politically untenable. (Go ask Mitt Romney about this.)

In order to get where he is, Obama had to be someone willing to compromise on his principles, swallow his morality, sell out his friends, knowingly do evil when it got him further up the greased pole. That's the qualification for getting to make a serious run for president. Whomever we see running against him in 2012 is extremely likely to be similar, because the selection process ensures it.

To put it in more concrete terms: People who respond to the "God Damn America" sermon by standing by their friend and pastor of a decade don't get to be president. And someone willing to f--k over an old friend and the guy who baptised his kids to gain or keep power is not going to blink an eye at f--king over some random foreigners or some random Americans he's never even met to gain or keep power.

This doesn't set him apart from Bush, who (for example) pretended to be a regular guy and changed his vocabulary and accent to get elected, laughed about signing off on execution orders, and found the most upsetting thing that happened in his term to be being called a racist over Katrina. (As opposed to, say, losing 3000 people in the worst terrorist attack in history on his watch, or triggering a civil war in Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of people, or having the global economy melt down on his watch, or....)

The kind of person who can get this job is overwhelmingly the wrong man for the job. Obama is par for the course. He's no more anti-America than was Bush. Both are pro-themselves, pro-increasing their power and feeding their egos, and the sort of people who are just fine with doing those things, even when their choices cost thousands or millions of lives. Our political processes select for sociopaths.

Mr. Anon said...

"Whiskey said...

Headache, Paul is reliably stupid on non-intervention. That policy works well for Switzerland, the US is not Switzerland. We run on cheap oil. Which requires not unicorns, rainbows, and strongly worded letters of regret but military force, including boots on the ground, to make sure the oil flows at a price we can live with."

You seem to think that people in Switzerland drive ox-carts, and only require watermills to support their domestic industry of making simple homespun garments. Think again, nitwit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABB_Group

http://www.superstock.co.uk/stock-photos-images/1597-64035

And yet, the Swiss manage to get petroleum just fine. Or perhaps, THEIR cars DO run on rainbows and unicorn farts.

Your latest load of ignorant crap is wearing thin. Perhaps it's time you found some new crap to peddle, wonder-boy.

On this topic, it would be useful to have a graphic illustrating the rise and fall of Whiskey's preferred memes: beta-males, the great Jihad motor-boat invasion of 2007, James Cameron disappearing into obscurity after his titanic failure with Avatar, Ron Paul being all wrong about the gold standard, etc.

doda pilii said...

Call me stupid or unwashed or something, but I have got to ask this question: how does the oil market work? Let's say there are all these oil producers (A, B, C, L, etc), each with their own little bucket of oil (some littler than others) and they all band together and call themselves OPEC. Then they take their respective buckets and dump them into this big communal bucket. Then the buyers gather 'round, each with their empty buckets but pockets full of money, and the OPEC guard by the big communal bucket takes their money and fills their buckets. Now, at this point everybody pays the same (or do they?), because OPEC says what the price should be. Also, there is no way of telling the primary source of the oil in any buyer's bucket since it comes from the big communal bucket. So then, how can anybody say "country such-and-such takes n% (where "n" is usual very big) of its oil from producer L".
Am I way-way oversimplifying? Am I missing some important pieces/steps?
D.P.

Mr. Anon said...

"headache said...

err.. ok..sorry. My mother tongue is German, so I don't consider myself a fluent speaker/writer, but thanks for correcting me anyway."

Entschuldigung, Kopfweh. Ich habe nichts boeses dabei gemeint.

TGGP said...

How does our intervention make oil cheap? War tends to disrupt supply. We also used up a lot of oil maintaining motorized divisions, shipping over stuff in planes etc.

Assorted posts at my blog refuting Whiskey are here. Since it's still fresh in my head, I went over the Putin vs Yeltsin meme he sometimes pushes here.

Svigor said...

Bush, Obama, McCain, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Edwards, Romney, and all the rest serious presidential candidates are more alike, in terms of values and personality, than any of them are like normal people, even normal smart driven successful people.

One of the lessons the Condottieri taught us (yeah, me and the damned Condottieri again) is that groups like this will tend to rig the game. The Condottieri were mercenaries the medieval Italian princes brought in, largely foreigners, to constitute their militaries and fight their wars for them. Eventually the Italians cottoned on to the fact that some of the battles seemed to be more smoke and mirrors than fighting and dying. See, you had these mercenaries who had more in common with one another than they did with the people who hired them. And sometimes they were expected to, you know, do some killing. And what do you know, the people they were expected to kill were often other Condottieri. This wasn't like raiding and looting the locals. These guys were professionals, and they could fight. Inevitably, a lot of game-rigging was the result.

Maybe we should try demarchy, government by jury. I know one thing, representative democracy is way past stale. It's started to rot and stink up the place. This ain't the 18th century. It only takes my vote a fraction of a second to go from my phone to a server, and a fraction of a second more for it to be recorded, counted, sorted, etc. What do I need a rep for, again? MAYBE if we were talking about a bunch of scholars, but they're more like game show hosts AFAICT.

Sturmgrenadier Svigor said...

Kopfweh means headache, hehe. At this rate, I'm going to be fluent in German in about a hundred thousand years. :)

Trump/Sheen '12 said...

I wonder if Trump's birther pot stirring will trump Obama's war hero posturing?

I wonder if Trump's out to ruin Obama, or pull a Perot.

Anonymous said...

A-saurus:
We obsess over Barry Bonds' medications. Shouldn't we similarly have access to Obama's medicine cabinet.

We obsessed over Larry Eagleton's electroshock therapy and alcohol habit. Why should Obama be free from such scrutiny?

Dr. Michael D. Evans said...

This is why we have wars. People doesn't seem to understand each other. Even simple warnings that may lead to another thing.

jack strocchi said...

Steve S. said:

it will eventually dawn on him that his alternatives are now:

1) Lose to Crazy America-Hating Terrorist Moamar Khadaffy, or

2) Drop More Bombs.

So he will choose what's behind Door #2.


Longer Sailer: Obama has so far opted for regime change lite. But that strategy is clearly failing.

His options are now:

1. No regime change at all - ie the UN/US forces defeated by Gadaffi

2. Regime change by going in heavy ie drop more bombs

3. Sit tight and hope the whole issue just goes away.

I think he will sit tight ("3.") which will probably be good enough to politically quarantine the issue, so long as the US does not lose casualties and the UK/FRA are doing most of the obvious military heavy lifting.

Hopefully this whole minor fiasco will convince the Great Powers of the futility of more Middle Eastern wars.

If we must help these people then I suggest we give them more foreign aid tied to improved accountability.

If we must.