Last week’s interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman brought a rare admission from President Barack Obama.
Friedman asked, “What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned doing foreign policy?”
“I’ll give you an example of a lesson I had to learn that still has, you know, ramifications to this day,” Obama replied, “and that is our participation in the coalition that overthrew Gaddafi in Libya.”
The president was quick to defend the “lead from behind” 2011 intervention, itself, as “the right thing to do,” because “had we not intervened, it’s likely that Libya would be Syria, right?”
Or Iraq, perhaps?
He decided to attack Libya militarily, Mr. Obama went on to explain, precisely “because Gaddafi was not going to be able to contain what had been unleashed there” (via the Arab Spring) and thus, “there would be more death, more disruption, more destruction.”
Does that make any sense? Was Gaddafi’s inability to wield more complete and total power over his rivals within the country plausibly be the rationale behind the NATO intervention?
In acknowledging his error, the president said, “What is also true is, I think we underestimated . . . the need to come in full force — if you’re going to do this. Then it’s the day after Gaddafi’s gone, when everyone’s feeling good, everybody’s holding up posters saying ‘Thank You, America!’ At that moment, there has to be a much more aggressive effort to rebuild societies that don’t have any civic traditions.”
Of course, it isn’t possible to “re-build” that which you admit never existed.
And it isn’t the role of the U.S. Government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.