April 13, 2011 | Commentary on Libya, National Security and Defense

Libya: Now What?

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.

About the Author

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow

First appeared in Big Peace