Analyst view: Obama sets out Libya strategy

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 29, 2011 2:25 PM
Analyst view: Obama sets out Libya strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama set out his strategy for Libya in a televised address on Monday, seeking to refute criticism that he was slow to explain the scope of the mission and his exit plan.

Here is reaction from analysts to Obama's speech.

KENNETH POLLACK, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT, SABAN CENTER AT THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION

"It was mostly intended for a domestic audience. That was always the target. I think it answered the bell for the domestic audience. I think internationally there was only ever so much it was going to do. I think it probably did convince people overseas that the president has a good grasp on why he decided to commit the United States to Libya, what he's seeking to do there, how he's planning to do it."

"I think that he did convince them 'Look you know, I'm not planning to make a bigger American investment in Libya but by the same token I'm also not intending to just simply leave Gaddafi in power forever.' And I think that those are ultimately the major issues."

MICHAEL WOOLFOLK, SENIOR CURRENCY STRATEGIST, BNY MELLON

"Certainly President Obama's words were positive but market players are skeptical as to whether or not Obama himself really has any significant impact on market behavior or market sentiment."

STEPHEN FLANAGAN, NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

"He showed that in fact there was fairly deliberate and decisive action, that this took place over a matter of a few weeks as opposed to a year in the case of Bosnia."

"He made clear that this wasn't open-ended ... In the back of the speech the makings of an Obama doctrine on the use of force where he was saying that we will both defend our values and our interests..."

"I thought it was a very clear statement of how he views and prioritizes the defending of our core interests, our other interests and values when they are threatened."

"It is reminiscent a bit of a speech that President Clinton gave in the aftermath of the Kosovo crisis when people were saying 'Well why Kosovo and not elsewhere and is this an open-ended commitment?'"

WILLIAM LARKIN, FIXED INCOME PORTFOLIO MANAGER, CABOT MONEY MANAGEMENT

"I think that people are going to look at the facts that come out of the Middle East. I think that my takeaway is that it was very clear to me that this was: 'Lesson learned by the American people.' Don't do it alone, the initial passing it over to NATO to do the heavy lifting, they're hopefully going to take care of this situation. It's progress. He's being very transparent about his tactics. All those are positives. The market is going to like that."

STEVEN COOK, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

"He did what he set out to do, which is to explain why we're doing it. I thought he raised all the right points -- why Libya but not other places, which is the thing that's been dogging him most recently."

"It may not satisfy everybody but I think it was pretty effective -- the fact that Gaddafi was going to steamroll over Benghazi ... He raised the humanitarian issue very effectively."

"All in all it was good. The part that was a little bit shaky from my perspective was when he divorced the military objectives from the political objectives."

"Publicly they're not going to say that they're involved in regime change. But in essence what he said by leveling the playing field and allowing Libyans to take matters into their own hands, they're creating an opportunity where Libyans have at least a fighting chance to engage in their own regime change."

SHARON STARK, CHIEF FIXED INCOME STRATEGIST, STERNE AGEE

"Investors decided to flock to the safety of bonds when this all started and I think now that the president has said the immediate crisis is over you won't see that massive exodus out of equities into bonds. However, the situation is still fragile enough that it wouldn't take much for investors to do that again."

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria, Joanne Allen and Eric Walsh; Editing by John O'Callaghan)