Sunday, January 04, 2015

Leading From Waaaay Behind?

So where did leading from behind on Libya get us? Other than a dead ambassador and three other Americans, plus jihadi blowback in and around the territory called "Libya?"

The French are calling for action to contain the problem of post-war Libya:

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday world powers must tackle instability in Libya but he stopped short of openly backing the military intervention called for by regional powers in the Sahel.

France took part in the original Libya operation in 2011.

And they did step up to lead a military response to the rise of jihadi control of northern Mali that was partly the blowback of the Libya War.

So I'm not going to complain that the French are basically calling on America to lead a response to the current problem.

Which might be interesting in the sense of measuring just how far behind those doing the lifting can we be and still be said to be leading?

I'm still waiting for the anguished New York Times focus on what went wrong with the Obama post-war plan for Libya. Unlike the one for Iraq, the Times editors likely won't find one for Libya.

The only thing one can say we really achieved is that we made good on the president's insistence that Khadaffi had to go. As Secretary of State Clinton cackled at the time, "We came, we saw, he died."

So the sum total of the president's foreign policy success is represented by two dead thugs--Khadaffi and Osama bin Laden--and a growing legion of living thugs that I suppose provide potential for more such victories if they are put on the presidential "kill list."

In the meantime, Libya has not sorted out its post-dictator internal problems on its own without our "destabilizing" presence. That's a useful lesson for many, I suppose.

UPDATE: France will cope with unrest rippling out from Libya to threaten their former colonies in Africa, but will not tackle Libya itself:

French President Francois Hollande is ruling out unilateral military intervention in Libya but says French forces will strike Islamic extremists leaving the country to bring arms to Africa's Sahel region.

Hollande urged the United Nations to take action to stem growing violence in the North African country.

Recall that France jumped the gun on NATO operations against Khadaffi to get pride of place. That was fun, but not so much any more, I guess. Now everyone wants to lead from behind on Libya.