I read articles like Discord Fills Washington on Possible Libya Intervention and I think to myself, “why the hell do we think we have the right to intervene in another sovereign country’s internal affairs?” Yes, we are the lone superpower and consume a disproportionate amount of the world’s natural resources. So that comes with a certain responsibility to the world (i.e. our Navy essentially polices the seas, enabling secure shipping routes).
But Libya is in civil war, its people want to overthrow the regime. I don’t think we have any place taking sides and intervening, no matter what we think of Qaddafi. Most Libyans don’t even want our help or foreign intervention. Yes, some of them want the UN to impose a no-fly zone but that’s multilateral action by the UN. Not unilateral action by the United States. This is exactly why we’re hated by many in the Middle East. We meddle. And no matter what is said publicly about freedom or whatever, no country makes major moves without its own self interests at heart.
That fact that the conversation is even framed as “should we or not?” is troubling. We don’t own the world. I read something interesting a long time ago that basically said all US foreign policy is based on the underlying opinion that we rule the world. Except that’s not true. We’re just continuing to overstretch ourselves at a time of great fiscal distress. We’ve been at war for the last 10 years!
Do people realize enforcing a no-fly zone involves destroying all of Libya’s anti-air defenses? This means actually ATTACKING them – bombing military installations in Libya. It’s not as neutral or non-violent as it’s made to sound.
Humanitarian relief? Okay. Military intervention? No way.