Obama's grand strategy: Step away, do nothing, pat self on back

Let’s get this straight: The Western governments that overthrew Muammar al-Qaddafi but declined to disarm the militia that would predictably wreak havoc in Libya are now condemning the efforts of allied regional governments intervening to stanch the rise of Islamists who are dictating political outcomes contrary to election results. So we are now in favor of continued violent squalor for Libya? Because that is what our policy amounts to.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that know a little something about the way Islamists can hijack democratic processes and that are directly threatened by fundamentalist parties fomenting violence in frayed political communities, have evidently conducted airstrikes in Libya, in support of the elected government, to degrade the military forces of Islamist militias. These are the very sort of airstrikes we conducted in Libya and are conducting in Iraq. Meanwhile, the United States government, and the governments of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, issued a statement calling on all Libyan parties to accept a cease-fire and engage “constructively” in the democratic process, “abstaining from confrontational initiatives that risk undermining it.”

No doubt this lukewarm missive will deservedly draw exasperated responses from regional governments and the “Arab street,” as it exemplifies how we who live in coddled safety condescend to people facing urgent problems. It takes no responsibility for setting in motion the current violence by removing the government without ensuring that its successor had the ability to control its territory. It takes no notice of the fact that the government of Libya is too weak to disarm militias itself. And it offers no appreciation for the American allies willing to commit military force in assistance of the elected Libyan government.

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