By David Kornahrens
In 1969 an unelected dictator rose to power through a military coup to lead an Arab country in North Africa. Forty-two years later, in 2011, an organized, indigenous opposition begins political demonstrations. The same military dictator violently and mercilessly massacres the political demonstrators.
The international community, led by the United States of America, urged on by the Arab League and with the blessing of the United Nations Security Council, has imposed a no-fly zone to stop the military dictator from aerially massacring his civilians. The multilateral military operation successfully stops the military dictator from bombing and strafing his armed opponents. The indigenous political opponents has begun to advance and capture towns within the country.
The situation described above was stripped of labels and names in order to be as generic as possible. It precisely depicts the Coalition Intervention into Libyan uprising as of March 27, 2011. For Americans, the real question does not lie within Libya but instead within our own domestic response to multilateral Coalition Intervention. Both American liberals and conservatives have been unfairly critical of President Obama’s foreign policy in Libya. The legal Coalition Intervention, led by America, exhibits the hallmarks of both conservatives’ assertive triumphalism and liberals’ cautious multilateralism. The eventual Libyan rebel victory over Muammar Gaddafi will be almost entirely dependent on the assertive, multilateral diplomacy of the Obama administration through the United Nations and NATO.
American liberals have been quick to raise concerns the Coalition Intervention in Libya is analogous to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These liberals’ concerns are unfounded and irresponsible. The liberal Obama administration has adamantly refused to commit ground forces to Libya. Furthermore, the Obama administration painstakingly sought and received international support from both the United Nations and the Arab League. The Arab League, composed of Muammar Gaddafi’s Arab contemporaries, urged the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone upon Libya. Five days after the Arab League advised the international community to militarily prevent another Arab country from aerially massacring its civilians, the United Nations took action. On March 17, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which authorized military action to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Under the 1945 U.N. Charter, military action can only be taken in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization. This U.N.-sanctioned multilateral diplomacy is exactly what most liberals rightly demanded from the Bush administration in 2003. Now that Americans have a president who builds official consensus among Arabs and the international community, liberals must unite behind their democratic president.
Liberals should hold their criticism, especially because American conservatives are vigorously criticizing President Obama even when it contradicts conservatives’ previous public positions. For instance, let us examine the public statements of presumptive republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich within the last 30 days. Gingrich has flip-flopped between demanding “a no-fly zone this evening” (March 7) and lamenting that “we should not have intervened” (March 23). Even a cursory examination of the television interviews, which a prominent Republican like Gingrich has given, will show a massive flip-flop before and after the Coalition Intervention in Libya. In Gingrich’s words, Republicans are practicing “amateur opportunism” in criticizing the Obama administration for not militarily intervening prior to the Coalition Intervention and continuing to criticize Obama for other reasons after the Coalition Intervention.
The legitimate Libyan political opponents of Muammar Gaddafi are successfully advancing due to the air-support of the United States, France, Qatar, the U.A.E. and many other nations sanctioned by the U.N. When the Libyan rebels succeed, Obama’s critics will rescind their earlier criticisms and be forced to eat their previous statements.