On the possible tensions within the democratic party surrounding military action in Libya, Mead notes:
‘President Obama beware: If US troops are fighting in Libya in 2012 the ‘humanitarian hawks’ will likely be out campaigning against you in New Hampshire.’
Also, waiting for a coalition of international support and the benefits of doing so, while losing valuable time, still leaves the UN sending a mixed message:
‘More, the political objectives of the UN resolution are unclear. The resolution aims to ban Gaddafi attacks on rebels, but doesn’t call for removing him from office. Literally interpreted, this amounts to a call for an informal partition of Libya into pro- and anti-Gaddafi portions with foreign air forces keeping the peace between them.’
‘At this point, we must live in hope: hope that the President and his team know what they are doing, and hope that an international show of force will bring a better future to Libya (which means a future with no Gaddafis in it) without further bloodshed.’
When I think of the choice between McCain and Obama, I still think Obama is the better choice on foreign policy. But even if he has a deeper vision for the Middle-East rooted in liberal internationalism, some broader experience or understanding, and somewhat of a more left and universalist set of Western ideas (if not a clear strategy), he still must be the Commander in Chief and handle many of the same institutions and limitations as the last President. Least of all he’ll have to handle his own party.
Libya country profile here.