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Tag Archives: Middle East

On Libya and US Foreign Policy

I may have addressed this before, but at the risk of being repetitive, I have to question the rhyme or reason behind the US getting involved in Libya.  Further, I have to look at it from a different view–if we are going in there to help with regime change, or prevent a leader from killing his own people, how do we decide which places to stick our noses in and which ones to ignore?

President Obama publicly rebuked Libya leader Mommar Quaddfi, saying that the US and its allies would get involved in Libya to stop the killng that was going on there.  On the surface, such actions are noble.  who doesn’t want to see an end to slaughter and bloodshed by a tyrannical dictator?  But the issue is a complex one.  If we are going to take this stance on Libya, why not on other countries?  There have been hundreds of thousands killed in Darfur.  The people in Iran tried to rise up and got squashed.  There are numerous countries in the Middle East where the citizens are currently protesting their government.

Of the situations mentioned, there is no plan for intervention from the US or otherwise.

So the question becomes, under what grounds do we decide to jump in?  Does the situation have to be 100% winnable?  Only under NATO approval?  Only when invited by the Arab League?

Someone somewhere needs to spell this out.

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The US problem with Egypt: who to support?

In the last 24 hours, a crowd estimated to be nearly 2 million people took to the streets of Cairo to protest the current government led by Hosni Mubarak.  The people are demanding an end to hs 30 year rule, amid cries of poverty and brutality.  This has the US in a pickle.  Continuing to support him would make it seem that we don’t support “the will of the people.”  Supporting his removal could have major ramifications not only for the US but for the entire Middle East.

Tony Blankley addresses the dilemma in a piece at Real Clear Politics:  “The Historic Dilemma in Egypt.

Revolutions – French, Russian, Chinese and Iranian – have a typical trajectory. They are won on the street with the masses calling for freedom; they are stolen afterward by the best-organized, usually most malicious thugs (Napoleon, Lenin, Mao and the mullahs).
Once in a while – as in our Revolution – the cry of the street slogans becomes the principle of the government that follows – but usually not.
If the revolution in Egypt results in the fall of the existing governmental order, what are the chances that the people will be governed subsequently by a more just system? And what are the chances that America’s interests will be advanced by that result?

someone needs to plug the WikiLeak

Today, the US is in scramble mode due to a website called Wikileaks.  For the uninitiated, Wikileaks has been gathering secret, unpublished documents from the US and publishing them for the world to see.  Previously, the site released secret documents somehow obtained from the US military, documenting information, negotiations, and unmentioned concerns about the war in Afghanistan.  This past weekend, they went one better, releasing thousands of cables (think secure emails) from diplomatic sources around the world, exposing a lot of opinions that were best kept under wraps.   In short, when people are making cracks at other world leaders–referring to them as “weak,” “easily swayed,” “useless,” and even comparing them to Batman and Robin–it can tend to ruffle feathers.

Further, a number of things the US wanted to keep under wraps now come to light.  Like how US allies wanted the US to take out the Iranian nuclear facility.  Or how the King of Saudi Arabia did not want the US to invade Iraq and take down Saddam because the US and Saudi Arabia, along with Saddam’s help, had been able to keep Iran in check.  Even negotiations about a missile shield in Europe came out–which showed that President Obama has not trouble playing hardball behind the scenes.

One politician even called WikiLeaks a “terrorist organization.”  It will be interesting to see how much damage the site can end up doing to the US and its Middle East efforts.