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14 March 2011

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WP

Col.

I have just finished listening to your piece. You made the statement that the US in Libya has been made to look "weak and impotent." Your take seems to be accurate to some extent. More than "weak and impotent," it seems to me that the overall impression is that the US is mostly just ruthless and unwilling to do anything that will keep it from supporting the authoritarian friends who oppress their people as long as the oil flows. Obama's words in his Cairo speech were empty and cruel, and to the extent they invited democratic action, outrageously deceptive. The American actions speak to show that the US has no real committment to freedom abroad in the MENA. I agree with you that as people learn the true value of US pronouncements seldom followed by action, US influence in the region among the greater portion of its population will diminish. More and more, the US will be associated with the opression and its false and hypocritical taunts of "freedom and democracy."

We fail because we do not remember who we are as a nation!

Saleh is pounding the protesters and no one is protesting. Suadi Arabia has attacked the Shia in Bahrain. The army is in still in dictatorial control in Egypt. The old status quo has prevailed. In a post several weeks ago, after the first rumors of Israeli support of MQ by importing mercenaries, I stated that the most ruthless and organized will win and that the revolutionaries did not stand muster. Unfortunately, my prediction was right. The protesters were not ruthless (they used peaceful rather than violent protests) and they were very disorganized--in the end it was just a children's crusade. It seems that this chapter of struggles against authoritarian rule is finished but for the cleanup. Many innocent and naive young people will soon be dead--and we will just "speak out" in hypocritical horroe, but do nothing.

The long-standing deal between the US, Israel, and the authoritarian kings of MENA is affirmed. My guess is that Ghadaffi had to serve some sort of seisen-in-deed or other homage to silence US threats of action and to buy his peace from US, Israel, and the Saudis. The oath of fealty was sworn when he gave up his WMDs and diplomatic relations were normalized and reaffirmed by the latest events. Certainly, Obama's pronouncements of support were for the consumption of the masses only and were never considered to be serious warnings by MQ as he always knew he was a protected vassal as always.

Overall, to the powers that be, the uprisings have been a mere distraction and are finished.

The question is whether the group of protesters who survive will learn and become ruthless to bite back in the future. One can expect very little reform. We can expect continuing blowback as things happen and it will be bad for US. Obama should have remembered his nation's founding ideals.

Obama is now a full member of the club of the powerful and ruthless whether he can admit it to himself of not. Obana should STFU about freedom and deomocracy, he has not a clue as to what it means. He and we have no more credibility with the people of the region as to our belief in freedom and democracy. Our actions prove we are only interested in the power to get oil.

Without oil, everything would be different. Now, it is all that counts. Our "interests" in the oil have caused us to forget who we are as a people!

The American Dream and Ideal of Democracy seems dead and hypocritical, both here and abroad for now, but the universal yearning for freedom and human rights is not. Like in 1905, the revolution is probably not over. The urge for freedom will simmer and mature and will break forth again.


Will Reks

@WP

I'm not so sure our founding ideals calls on us to enforce freedom and democracy for all across the globe.

"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." - Words of John Quincy Adams

That being said, it appears some favor an invasion of Libya, which is what it will take to remove Qadhafi, so that they can feel good about themselves.

I ,too, want to feel good about myself. Since the Europeans consume ~75% of Libya's oil I would very much like for them to provide the manpower for this effort. I think I will quite satisfied if the US sticks to providing humanitarian relief and naval power from offshore.

The Euros and the Arab League nations can use their fresh manpower and shiny unused airpower to take Qadhafi out

I welcome the Europeans developing an independent power projection for themselves. For decades our presence in Europe has allowed them to spend freely on their people's social concerns while neglecting our own. It is time for some shared sacrifice, no?

Patrick Lang

Wil Reks

"it appears some favor an invasion of Libya, which is what it will take to remove Qadhafi"

Are you blind or just incapable of thinking outside your box? Did you not read TTG's piece at the top? pl

Will Reks

I believe TTG's analysis is sound and thought as much when I read it two weeks ago. I think most are right here in that Obama should have acted quickly, taking a day or two at the most to deliberate.

I agree only because I think prevailing opinion is what will force the WH to act on this and not any kind of principle. So, in that case, the earlier the better. The longer we dither over no fly zones and such the harder it will be effectively carry out a limited operation as the one TTG outlined.

In this case, the pursuit of multilateralism and consensus has hurt the cause.

I suppose that's me thinking outside the box. I do not agree with the substance of our foreign policy but I am capable of understanding your viewpoint.

Norbert M. Salamon

Wil Reks:

Oil is a world wide commodity, loss of Lybian oil effects the USA as eould the loss of any oil [as the efect on pricng and availability], especially now that Japan will need 2-300 000 barrels a day extra to comnpensate for losses in nuclear power generation - and trying to find [building] housing etc for the stricken citizens of NW Japan

Fred

Norbert,

Just where, other than transportation, is Japan going to burn 300,000 barrels a day in oil? I don't think they have any oil fired plant mothballed. In addition the electric transmission grid is as damaged as the road network, though it is probably easier to repair.

Clifford Kiracofe

1. "Ali Errishi, a former Libyan minister, spoke to Al Jazeera about the situation in Libya.

"We are frustrated, the UN should live up to its moral and legal obligations, and do what is right, we are disappointed with the US for not exercising leadership."

2. The window for action is closing. SST military experts can advise as to the timing.

3. The Arab League voted in favor of a so-called "no fly zone" and thus adequate political cover for immediate military action was given.

4. EU countries can do as they wish individually without any further EU consensus. NATO is not necessary. Further debate at the UN is not necessary. There is enough consensus. There is no legal need for a UNSC resolution. Countries can recognize the Benghazi National Council and work with it to defeat Q.

5. A "coalition of the willing" could have moved the day the Arab League reolution passed. France has already recognized the National Council at Benghazi. Cameron has gone out front in the UK and in Europe on the issue. Obama has said Q. must go and etc.

6. There is enough of a flotilla out there by now for action it would seem.

7. The White House has put US prestige squarely on the line. Thus, if the US is seen to back down with no effective follow through now to remove Q, our long range interests and security will be impaired, IMO.

Norbert M. Salamon

Fred :
diesel generators - the [sole emergency power source on short notioce], cement production, recall they have to rebuild housing for 400 000 plus in short order. They do not have excess housing as the USA [approx 11 000 000 empty units as reported in varioous economic blogs].

In past emergencies diesel locomotives and oil powered ships were used to provide emergency power in various parts of the world such as Quebec after the ice storm]

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