Before discussing the next move re Libya, let’s take stock of what we know now.
We know, for sure, that the current adventure is far from over. We also know that Gadaffi isn’t going anywhere. We know that NATO is starting to lose interest. And we know that, from the start, the Arab League was just interested in playing to the crowd. (Any lingering doubt on this score was removed by its recent call for a no-fly zone over Gaza.)
With such fair-weather friends, U.S. leaders have few options for playing a positive role going forward. And there is only one option that allows the U.S. to play a positive role and protect its interests, without getting bogged down in Libya. It is worth investing in the future of Libya if-and only if-the U.S. can find a credible opposition to Gadaffi. That’s an essential prerequisite.
The only groups we should be helping to “build capacity” are those dedicated to protecting and justly governing the Libyan people and fighting extremism. It would be senseless to try build where there is no promise of a foundation. The best way for America to secure its interest in Libya today is to develop a legitimate regional strategy, one that looks to our future interests throughout the Middle East. It’s a dicey and dangerous neighborhood, but an improvement of the situation in any part of that neighborhood helps improve conditions elsewhere.
What is needed, then, is a more proactive policy, one that: pushes Iran back in its box; strengthens U.S. support for Israel; finishes the job in Iraq; and changes the balance of dictatorships and democracies in that part of the world.
James Carafano is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in Big Peace