The coherence of international efforts will depend on setting out from the start a clear set of agreed principles toward which the Libyans and international community will work. This can best be done in a new Security Council resolution; if that proves politically impossible, it could also be done in a statement by the contact group or under U.N.-E.U. leadership. The goals should include a united and sovereign Libya within its well-established borders and under the rule of law that can sustain, govern and defend itself through inclusive democratic institutions, using Libya’s resources transparently and accountably for the benefit of all its people.
If a U.N.-E.U. effort fails to ensure stability in Libya, the United States should be prepared to mobilize and support a NATO-led effort, including, if necessary, the deployment for a limited duration of U.S. ground forces. Only NATO has the military capacity required. Unilateral U.S. intervention would entail risks without commensurate gains to vital national security interests.