The Libya situation is complicated. I envy no president stuck with the task. Among the complexities, the most daunting unknown is what’s behind the opposition. We would all like to see Moammar Gaddafi tossed to the ash-heap of history, but the rub is who, or what, would replace him. What a tragedy it would be if America intervened only to see Gaddafi replaced by an Ayatollah.
President Obama has a tough situation in Libya. I was more certain about what to do with Saddam, in 1990-91 and 2003, under two presidents named Bush, than Libya now.
That said, it’s disappointing to see liberals rally behind Obama in Libya in a way they refused under the Bushes in Iraq. I won’t go through all the maddening double standards, but there are two that really struck me after President Obama’s speech on Libya, and seem to mount by the minute, namely: coalition size and cost.
President Obama stressed that America has not “acted alone” in Libya, and is joined by a “broad coalition,” a “strong and growing coalition.” He named 11 countries: the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Obama used the word “cost” several times. He assured us that “real leadership” meant working “with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs.” He gave no numbers.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."