Tuesday, March 15

No we're not all Libyans now

UPDATE March 17
France is trying to make an end run around Germany at the UN -- and if the security council votes in favor of military action against Gadhafi, they're not going to limit the action to a no-fly zone. Americans are being backed into another war:
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said late Wednesday Washington wants the resolution to authorize a broad range of actions that include - and "perhaps go beyond" - a no-fly zone. France, one of the sponsors of the draft resolution, sent its foreign minister to New York Thursday to try to secure a quick approval of the resolution.
Meanwhile the armed forces under Gadhafi are still on a fast march (see the VOA link above), although they've said they'll call a hiatus on Sunday to give the rebels time to surrender.
World's greatest war tacticians, so it's a good thing they're only a foot tall

My fellow Americans, as it stands at this minute, our butts have been saved by the Germans, who hung tough at the G8 meeting in the face of British and French pressure to establish a no-fly zone over Libya. (See the AP link I provide below for details.)

I understand that the French government is gravely concerned that France will be overrun by Libyan refugees if Gadhafi isn't quashed. It's a valid concern but if they were all that alarmed, they should have hung back to see how Gadhafi played his hand before they rushed to recognize the revolutionary 'government.' So now France is all the way out on limb, and now they hearing a sawing sound coming from Tripoli.

That's unfortunate. What's even more unfortunate is that Japan's crisis might mean they can't continue being the second largest buyer of U.S. treasury bills and bonds (the Federal Reserve is the first). The Japanese people finance their government's debt but now they're also going to have to finance the rebuilding of a large swath of their country.

What this means for the USA in the near term is that it can't to afford to get embroiled in another open-ended war. We owe it to the Afghans -- and the Iraqis -- to finish what we started, which is a big enough financial drain. We cannot and should not ask China's government to pick up whatever shortfall comes from Japan's financing in order to bankroll our engagement in another hot war.

So if the British and French want to establish a no-fly zone, they can go right ahead. If they want to arm the rebels with heavy weapons and put military advisors on the ground, go for it. If they want to send troops in, fine. But by God, for Americans the battle cry of this century must be, "America is not the maid!"

Memo to the entire world: From here on, if you want Americans to do the dirty work then we get absolute authority, as we had in Germany and Japan at the end of World War Two, to dictate how a new government conducts itself after we've overthrown the old one. You can't find more civilized societies than the German and Japanese ones. So the American exercise in true imperialism worked out very well.

Since, however, we've been conducting faux imperialism. This has translated into putting our military in the role of The Maid -- and our foreign office in the role of the CIA, as State pussyfoots around the world with USAID in tow, sowing phony democracy revolutions then shrieking for The Maid when its scheming and plotting blows up.

And thus, we find ourselves today in the poetic position of depending on the Germans to think straight for the United States of America. This has saved us from being dragged into a civil war, in which our only right would be to pretend that the scoundrels we rescued from Gadhafi were dealing honorably with us.

I caution that we're not out of the woods yet. There's no end to the machinations of State and critters such as Senator John McCain. Yesterday McCain teamed with Senator Joseph Lieberman to introduce a Senate resolution calling for prompt U.S. intervention in Libya, including recognizing the rebel 'government' and establishing a no-fly zone.

And there is a faction in Washington that's trying to make political hay from President Barack Obama's dislike for playing Beulah every time the Europeans in NATO snap their fingers. And while he's previously shown an ability to resist pressure from Britain and France he tends to govern by popularity polling. So if McCain et al. can whip up enough support among the American voting public for U.S. intervention, Obama might cave in, despite the advice from his secretary of defense to stay out of fray.

The best that sensible Americans can do, in answer, is speed-dial their congressional representatives and shout into the phone, 'No we're not all Libyans now.'

Before I return to finishing up part 2 of the Optical Illusion post, I should mention there have been big developments on the military front in Libya. See this report from Associated Press. Gadhafi is creaming the opposition, and he's now being lavish in the use of air power.

He's also taken a page from the meerkat clans of the Kalahari Desert, who shoo poison snakes from their burrows by surrounding the snake in a wide circle, leaving an opening in the circle, then (carefully) harrying the snake until it takes the hint and leaves. As it stands now that's his plan for Benghazi, only he intends to pick off the rebels in the desert as they take the opening he leaves for them on the outskirts of the city.

The plan will save many civilian lives and save Benghazi from being bombed to rubble. So I hope the rebels take the opening before Gadhafi closes the noose, and that they don't make Benghazi non-combatants into human shields.

The rebel leaders should get out of Libya by any which way, right now, so they live to fight another day. Set up Radio Free Libya in Paris and study real hard on how to set up and run a truly democratic government.

They should also stuff their ears with cotton and chant, 'Lalalalala we're not listening' if State approaches them with a plan for how to stage a really cool peaceful democratic revolution in Libya.

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