”There are Difficulties”
Vol: 114 Issue: 19 Saturday, March 19, 2011
The United States is now semi-committed to half-heartedly participate in a coalition of nations aiming to conduct a war without calling it one against an enemy it is not planning to defeat.
Before going on, let me say that I am as sick of politics as you. But the Omega Letter’s mission is to examine the headlines from a Christian perspective through the prism of Bible prophecy.
So for right now, as much as we’d like to look away, we can’t. It’s all part of the overall Big Picture as outlined by the prophets.
President Obama offered the following remarks after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution authorizing member nations to impose a no-fly zone using “whatever means necessary” to prevent Ghadaffi’s forces from defeating the rebels now holding Benghazi.
UN Resolution 1973 specifically asserts it is not seeking to either invade or divide Libya. Instead, its stated aim is to achieve a cease-fire, not a solution.
It does not call for regime change. It does not call for Ghadaffi’s removal. It simply demands a ceasefire. It calls for a political settlement between the parties – presumably Ghadaffi and the rebels.
It authorizes “all necessary means” but specifically excludes “any foreign occupation force” which is being interpreted as no foreign ground troops. Instead, the “no-fly” zone bans all Libyan aircraft from leaving the ground.
Once the resolution unanimously passed the Security Council (with Russia, China, India, Brazil and Germany abstaining) President Obama explained it to the American people, sort of.
“American leadership is essential, but that does mean acting alone. It means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together.”
Obama “shaped conditions for the international community to work together” by doing nothing. So says “The Cable” — the daily online edition of Foreign Policy Magazine, (the official organ of the Council on Foreign Relations.)
According to the headline, Obama has European governments “completely puzzled” about the US position on Libya.” (Whew! I thought it was just me.)
Secretary of State Clinton refused to commit to any one position, repeating the Obama administration mantra that “all options are on the table” while steadfastly looking away from the table.
“Clinton’s unwillingness to commit the United States to a specific position led many in the room to wonder exactly where the administration stood on the situation in Libya.
“Frankly we are just completely puzzled,” the diplomat said. “We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States.”
On the same day, Clinton had a short meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which Sarkozy pressed Clinton to come out more forcefully in favor of action in Libya. She declined Sarkozy’s request, according to a government source familiar with the meeting.
Sarkozy told Clinton that “we need action now” and she responded to him, “there are difficulties,” the source said, explaining that Clinton was referring to China and Russia’s opposition to intervention at the United Nations. Sarkozy replied that the United States should at least try to overcome the difficulties by leading a strong push at the U.N., but Clinton simply repeated, “There are difficulties.”
One of the “difficulties” that had the Secretary of State hamstrung in Paris was explaining what he meant by American “leadership” from Washington — as his family was busy packing for their vacation in Rio.
“It is not an action that we will pursue alone. Indeed, our British and French allies and members of the Arab League have already committed to take a leadership role in the enforcement of this resolution, just as they were instrumental in pursuing it.”
Maybe I’m more cynical this morning than usual, but it seems to me that what the President was attempting to do was explain leadership by abdication.
On March 3, Obama gave what some confused with a policy statement when he called for Ghadaffi to step down. But Obama articulated a ‘clarified’ US policy statement yesterday.
Ghadaffi doesn’t have to step down. He just has to withdraw his forces to what amounts to the borders of old Tripolitania, dividing Libya among its constituent parts.
Obama demanded the reestablishment of supply lines and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the rebel cities. None of that was included in the UN resolution. That is probably one of the ‘difficulties’ of which Secretary Clinton spoke.
The French have made no secret of their mission in Libya. They want regime change. The French have already recognized the rebels as the legitimate government of Libya. Another ‘difficulty.’
“France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppé, spoke openly this week of his unhappiness with Washington’s slowness and difficulty in defining its position, before the Security Council voted for a no-fly zone.
France and Britain had been calling for a no-fly zone for two weeks, he said Wednesday, but other nations dragged their feet. “It often happens in our recent history that the weakness of democracies gives dictators free rein,” he said. “It’s not too late to break with this rule.” He added that it was not enough just to call on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to quit, as leaders in the United States and other nations had done.”
The US position is baffling no matter what perspective one comes at it from. Are we favoring regime change? Status quo? Division? Perpetual, low level combat?
Invasion and the use of ground troops have already been precluded. Since the United States is “leading” by staying as far back as possible, what if Ghadaffi doesn’t withdraw his forces to the borders of Tripolitania? Another ‘difficulty.’
Will Obama scold Ghadaffi sternly? Despite Secretary Clinton’s assertion that “all options are on the table” — the text of the president’s remarks took most of the options OFF the table.
What is America’s foreign policy? It’s difficult to say.
When Iranian demonstrators appeared to be on the brink of toppling the Iranian regime, American policy was that we would not interfere in Iran’s internal affairs. Too dangerous.
When Egyptian demonstrators appeared to be on the brink of toppling the Mubarak regime, American policy was to demand Mubarak’s resignation.
Not regime change (Egypt’s military government remains intact) but simply the removal of an unpopular leader. Easy-peasy.)
Now that the UN has forced Obama to take a stand, his stand is best articulated this way:
All options are on the table except;
- Ghadaffi doesn’t have to go,
- we won’t use US air power;
- we won’t invade
- we won’t commit ground troops
And finally, and most importantly. . .
“Gosh, I have to go get ready for Rio. . . check with Hillary if there are any ‘difficulties’ — See ya.“
Where is America in Bible prophecy? It is difficult to say. Rio, maybe?