Sunday, March 27, 2011

Muddling through Libya isn't bad

Click here for the best post I've seen about why intervening in Libya is a good idea, on the best blog about the Middle East I know of. It's worth reading in full, but here's the heart of it:

Americans prefer their wars to involve overwhelming force, applied on a strict timeline, accompanied by a plausible exit strategy, so as to achieve a satisfactory and stable end-state. Obama's Libya mission in contrast has been labelled "poorly conceived", "muddled", etc. But here's the problem: while in general, it's probably a good idea for a president to explain his or her war goals to the public, too rigid an adherance to the decisive force/clear mission/clear exit strategy set of parameters can be counterproductive in terms of actually accomplishing a stable status quo. It neglects what ought to be a rather key conceptual principle behind any intervention: it's not about us. ("Us", because I'm writing here as an American). Or rather, it might be our blood and our treasure, and hopefully our national interest, but it's some other country's factions, some other country's dynamics, some other country's agendas. Our main hope in intervention is to influence the actors to behave in a way that suits a larger goal, and in the mean time, provide as much disincentive as possible to slaughter civilians.

It's much longer than that, go read the rest.

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