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March 27, 2011
Gates: Libya Isn't In Our National Interest, Clinton: Yes it Is
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Gates was asked, "Is Libya in our vital interest as a country?" He answered, "No, I don't think it's a vital interest for the U.S., but we clearly have interests there, and it's a part of the region which is a vital interest for the U.S." Gates' statement wasn't an entirely convincing rationale for a major military commitment, and moderator David Gregory responded by saying, "I think a lot of people would hear that and say well, that's quite striking -- not in our vital interests and yet we're committing military resources."
We have to go to war when France and Italy's vital interests (aka Libyan Oil) are at stake? Really, that's the story Hillary is sticking with? No War for Europe's Oil!
The amazing thing is we've been engaged in
Breaking news update....I've just been informed we do have "A President". Here's the current holder of the office.
President Empty Suit*
As for Clinton's idea that it's in our vital national interest to stand behind our allies when they decide to go adventuring...um, no. The reason they went to Afghanistan is because they were pretty much bound to by a little thing we like to call the North Atlantic Treaty which declared an attack on one was an attack on all. We don't owe them a solid for living up to their sworn obligations. If we're keeping score, I'd say even factoring in Euro 'help' in Afghanistan, the whole, "thanks for saving us from the Nazis and keeping the Soviets in check for 40 plus years" account isn't quite even yet. But who is keeping score?
Oh and Hillary would like the world, especially Bahir Assad, to know this Libya thing is a one off and we're not going to get involved in Syria. So you know...take care of business, we're not going to say or do anything.
Arguing that Qaddafi's longstanding history of brutality distinguished itself from the regime of Syrian President Bashir Assad, Clinton said Syrian circumstances had not aligned in a fashion to suggest that the U.S. would undertake military operations there.
I'm not advocating going into Syria (that's a job for Joe Lieberman) but Assad isn't as bad as Kadaffi? Really? I don't think the US Secretary of State should be laying out a road map for a dictator like Assad to follow to keep the killings under some threshold for concern. There's a little thing called "strategic ambiguity", it can be helpful to keep the bad guys guessing what might set you off. But no, Hills just said "have it at Doc!".
If this is Smart Power(tm), I think I would like some old timey Stupid Power about now.
One other thing, some guy over at the New Republic is pretty bummed that Obama hasn't gotten a bump in the polls out of his Libyan, er, thing. (safe link to the Daily Caller). You'll never guess whose fault that is.
A week into American and allied action in Libya, one political result is already clear: Barack Obama has not benefited in the polls. If anything, Obama’s Gallup approval numbers are actually down a few points since American involvement in Libya began.
As Mickey Kaus points out at the link maybe it's not the criticism of the policy (which has been pretty mild and there's been a lot of GOP support) but the policy itself. But it can't be that! Obama is awesome and France and the UN said ok! It must be those evil, anti-war Republicans who won't get on board with this awesome new war.
I'd go back to the empty suit nature of this presidency. Obama launched a war and then went to South America for 5 days. Since returning he hasn't been seen in public except on Friday to celebrate Greek Independence Day. President's get support because they lead and ask for it. Obama has hidden first behind military leaders (Admiral Mullen was the only figure on the talk shows last week) and now Clinton and Gates (who can't get their stories straight). Obama will be MIA for about 10 days before we hear from him tomorrow night. I think people would like to support him but he's got to tell us what the hell we're supposed to be supporting first.
*Courtesy of the man, the myth, the legend...Slublog.
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