Obama’s Lap-doggish Libyan Foreign Policy
Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown
Dogs are interesting creatures. This morning while on a walk, one of my dogs broke away from our pack and into the yard of a dog obviously defending her boundaries. After a momentary altercation, tuck-tailed, my dog willingly rejoined our pack – ego broken but a bit wiser – because he not only learned his place, he discovered that sometimes a dog’s bark is just as big as his bite.
With the world’s attention turned to Libya in recent days, I think back to a moment in history when President Ronald Reagan tried to show Muammar Qaddafi, whom he described as “The Mad Dog of the Middle East,” his place in the world’s “pack.” Reagan launched a bombing campaign in Libya in retaliation for the 1986 Berlin night club bombing, but a thick-headed Qaddafi learned nothing and instead claimed himself victorious – because he survived. Soon after, Qaddafi rabidly responded by bombing the Pan American flight over Lockerbie Scotland that killed 270 people, including many Americans.
Qaddafi’s “Mad Dog” image seemingly mellowed until this year when he began losing much of his country to rebels and vowed he’d “die a martyr” before losing power. Hinting that he might finish what Reagan had started, Obama announced that Qaddafi must “step down” – but somewhere between then and now, his fervor waned and intentions changed – when the United Nations’ tail began wagging the dog and Obama committed America to participate from the backseat of a humanitarian air campaign.
Obama genuinely believes that relinquishing America’s “alpha dog” status will make the world a better place. But he’s wrong. There will always be a top dog, so it may as well be America – who has the strength of a pit bull but the personality of a retriever in that we may bite your leg off, but we’ll bring it back and help you sew it on.
The present dilemma we find ourselves in could have been prevented had Obama taken swift and specific measures when Libyan rebels owned the momentum. But, we are where we are – and what began as an emergency action to prevent a potential Benghazi bloodbath has quickly transitioned to committing America’s overstretched military to a third front in a Muslim country, namely – The Libyan War. Opening up a new combat front with no clear strategy or end game, and expecting our troops to do the impossible to protect Libyan citizens from Qaddafi at 30 thousand feet above the ground – sounds more like a job for Wonder Dog.
One would hope Obama is spending every waking moment working with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron on a coherent Libyan strategy that includes investigating exactly whom it is we are spending billions of dollars on to protect.
Back in 2007, U.S. Special Operations commandos captured a cache of al Qaeda documents, known as the Sinjar Documents that were analyzed at West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center, finding that 20 percent of the foreign fighters within Iraq came from Libya.
This statistic begs the fair question, is it worth the cost of diverting our military and intelligence assets to assist unvetted rebels who could pose a threat to U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq? Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said the principal difference between a dog and a man is if you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he won’t bite you? How do we separate rebel from Qaddafi loyalist when both claim their actions to be righteous and “for the Libyan people?”
Foreign policy helps us determine a president’s character. Obama currently looks weak, indecisive, sluggish, ingenuous, unprincipled and lap-doggish. Call it what he will,but most of the tomahawk missiles are ours, and as it currently stands, America owns Operation Odyssey Dawn. So we should be in it to win it. We must take the lead to present a clear-cut mission to enact a regime change with an end game. Otherwise, a dangerous precedent will be set and we will be expected to fade into the pack and participate in humanitarian intervention crusades across the Middle East.