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March 21, 2011

Intra-DA Libya Smackdown
Posted by Michael Cohen

So the folks at bloggingheads decided to make it interesting with an intra-blog showdown between me and Heather - it's probably just preparation for when Shadi and I have the bloggingheads equivalent of Thunderdome smackdown. Until then, watch two foreign policy pundits try to make sense of this whole Libya intervention:



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The international cooperation Heather promotes here is not a duty to attack-and-invade-on-demand.
There was no "game-changer," as Heather and Hillary Clinton have claimed. If the Arab League wanted an intervention to topple a rival dictator, let democracy and human rights champions Saudi Arabia and Egypt do it with their money, their weapons and their Security Council charm. The USA could have voted with Brazil, India and Germany on the principle that Obama claimed he believed in when he ran for president: no more wars unless there is an imminent danger to the USA and/or a Congressional authorization.
The game-changing came not from Arabs but from the left-right US warist coalition, which includes Susan Rice, Samantha Power and John Kerry as liberals and the usual horde of warmongers conservatives: McCain, Lieberman, Bolton, Gingrich.
The international demagoguery, inflammatory drama-queening and ranting about saving the "martyrs" of Libya came largely from Sarkozy, but the USA did not need to get sucked into it. Bob Gates was right; Clinton was wrong.
There are dozens of ways to help Libya and avoid humanitarian crises without ba-ba-bombing.
Michael, I'm disappointed to say, also sounded favorable to "rapid-response" UN-sponsored intervention actions, for which Libya could supply a felicitous

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Does anyone know who is in charge of this war?

The UN authorized it, but did not put anyone in charge. NATO does not have agreement of its 28 members to get involved. The EU is not doing much. The Arab League seems to be flip flopping. Britain and France pushed this but nobody else seems to want them in charge. The US seems to want to take out the Libyan air defenses and then leave it to someone else to actually be in charge. The Libyan rebels seem to have no organization. So who is in charge of this war?

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The first part of what the President said is sort of boilerplate: we won't impose democracy or our system of government on another country, yada-yada, even when we do.

So the folks at bloggingheads decided to make it ... when Shadi and I have the bloggingheads equivalent of Thunderdome smackdown.

Obama's third war In a broader package of materials the Obama administration is sending to Congress on Wednesday defending its Libya

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