Full video here. (52.52 min long, originally aired 04/04/11)
Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb, and others discuss the Libya intervention. Henri-Levy defends the humanitarian approach (appealing to the ‘creeds’ of France, America and Britain). The video gets interesting when Gelb gets involved at about minute 14:00, and wonders why the U.S. is stuck carrying most of the water, with so many downside risks (weak rebel forces, a still well-armed Gadhafi, a hypocritical and weak Arab league, high potential for deeper and deeper involvement).
Even if you are grateful for a change in U.S. foreign policy, and think like most people the humanitarian approach has worthy objectives (hammered from past atrocities and experiences on the ground in other countries, towards global governance) we are still using our political and military resources (people, maybe your friend or neighbor) and potentially subsuming our sovereignty to a framework for very questionable returns, and with so many risks.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome. Here’s a quote from a previous post:
‘According to my observations (for which I claim nothing by that they are all I have to go by) inaction is better than wrong action or premature right action, and effective right action can only follow right thinking. “If a great change is to take place,” said Edmund Burke, in his last words on the French Revolution, “the minds of men will be fitted to it.”‘
Addition: As a reader points out, if you make the Gadhafi/Saddam Hussein comparison, there is general agreement on how tyrannical, and dangerous, both leaders were/have been, but also general [sic] agreement that the injustices each visited upon their own citizens partially led to U.S. involvement:
How are the two most recent president’s definitions of freedom (Bush’s human freedom…Obama’s arc of history…) getting crafted into foreign policy? Any president will have to deal with the bureaucratic and institutional structures in place.
Another Addition: Perhaps it’s worth noting the backdrop of French colonialism, Northern Africa, and the French intellectual Left (Henri-Levy, Derrida, Camus to some extent). Henri-Levy is essentially asking for more Western involvement (including the use of military force) because presumably, the Arabs can’t do it for themselves (neo-neo colonialism?). So, if Henri-Levy did get Sarkozy’s ear on this, and Obama waited on the French to form some semblance of political consensus for action…was it worth the wait? What American interests are at stake?
Related On This Site: Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’…From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”…From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…From CSIS: ‘Turmoil In The Middle-East’…From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’…A Few Thoughts On Watching Operations In Libya