Saturday, January 02, 2016

Remember, Doing Nothing is a Choice, Too

Libyans are suffering insufficiently to put away thoughts of total victory for their own faction. France needs to step up to keep their problem from continuing to be Europe's problems of migrants and terrorists.

Behold Libya where we led from behind in 2011, helped kill the dictator, and stayed out of the way after:

Despite the growing prospect of massive starvation and total economic collapse, many (apparently most) of the factions in the Tripoli and Tobruk governments refuse to approve the December 17 peace deal. This self-destructive sense of entitlement and resistance to compromise is common throughout the region but Libya is an extreme case. Unless this factionalism and corruption is overcome there is no possibility of avoiding a catastrophe. At the moment the only ones benefitting from this are criminals (especially smugglers, of people and goods) and really extreme religious fanatics like ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant).

Yeah, this approach is working out swell. I'm so old that I remember when it was the apex of nuanced foreign policy thinking to argue that our presence on the ground prevents locals from working out their problems on their own.

I think France needs to take the lead in Libya:

I think it is absolutely a mistake [for France] to react to the ISIL attack on Paris by simply increasing France's role in the Iraq-Syria front.

Given that France took the lead in overthrowing Khadaffi back in 2011 and endured the blowback from that war in Mali, where the French led a counter-attack in 2013 against jihadis who had taken over the northern part of Mali, it makes sense to me that France should take the lead in Libya where ISIL has carved out territory rather than up their role in the Iraq-Syria campaign from 3% of coalition air strikes to 5%--or whatever the actual small percentages might be.

Funny enough, in yet another example of how I forget what I wrote about earlier and then write about it again the same way, a year ago I called for France to take the lead in dealing with Libya.

I may not always be right, but I do seem to be consistent!