During the first GOP Presidential Debate in New Hampshire (June 13, 2011), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann questioned President Obama's actions over Libya. Last week on the campaign trail, Bachmann hammered President Obama on his so-called delay in taking action against the Syrian Government.
Can you say political double-speak?
Why Libya? It's not complicated. America's NATO allies (who directly supported the U.S. in Iraq and/or Afghanistan) were afraid of a FLOOD of refugees landing on Europe's doorstep (i.e. hundreds of thousands of BOAT people). In the case of Syria, because of its geographic location, Turkey is the main regional player. The Turkish military is protecting the refugees crossing over its southern border. For folks who forget, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 damaged this country's relationship with this important NATO member. This time around, President Obama is working with the Turkish government in formulating actions against the Syrian regime.
NATO's continued military actions in Libya is/was intended to create & maintain safe havens WITHIN Libyan borders. President Obama supported the political leaders of France, Spain, the UK, and Italy to meet this specific military objective. Welcome to the reality of our geopolitical world! Prior to direct US involvement in Bosnia (i.e. with boots on the ground), it's how the Europeans (under a failed United Nations mandate) responded to the fighting (and genocide) in the Balkans. Unlike 1995, this time around, NATO (not the UN) brought enough firepower to the party which PREVENTED a Srebrenica-type massacre in Benghazi.
Former Defense Secretary Gates' public frustration with NATO was in response to the organization's continued inability to do the heavy lifting to meet a European specific military/political/economic objective without DIRECT U.S. support.
Anyhow, could somebody PLEASE plug in Bachmann's brain? It's one thing to create some mythical fairy tale about the original intent of this country's founding fathers, it's quite another to create revisionist history from recent current events.
If you're an American against this country's continued membership in NATO, here are two regional issues which continue to have global implications: North Korea and the South China Sea. Confused? The United Nations is a paper tiger. Basically, folks need to remember that NATO's geopolitical influence reaches far beyond Europe's own borders.
Arab Spring Update
October 20, 2011:
Moammar Gadhafi killed in Sirte.
Photo of American Soldier on M-42 Duster, Fort Bliss, Texas (Summer 1982).