Friday, April 22, 2011

What Is Our National Security Interest in Libya?

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism

Historically wars between nations have been waged because the rulers of one country wished to expand their economic power and political influence at the expense of another country(s). The desire for increased wealth and power has always been the motivating force behind war.

As Ayn Rand correctly argued, the only justification for military action (war) is in response to an act of aggression by one country against another. In other words in defense of your national sovereignty, or self defense.

Makes perfect sense to me. I believe most people would agree.

So I can't help but wonder why our national leaders {since the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan] keep getting our nation involved either in civil wars (Korea and Vietnam, or military engagements for the purpose of "regime change." Other than our military response to 911, which falls under - in response to an act of aggression - our actions have essentially been interventionist, without clear justification, and at great cost in American lives and national treasure.

The answer rests partially in the opening paragraph. By defending the enemy of our enemy we felt we would gain influence and greater power. We were also feeding the vast Military Industrial Complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us of in his 1961 farewell speech to the nation.

The nation's leaders also chose not to heed the advice of our founders to be wary of foreign entanglements. The result has been we've become the world's policemen at a great economic cost, and certainly not in our nations long term interests.

Fast forward to Libya, essentially a civil war between the supporters of Qaddafi and the rest of the country. Libya presents no threat to our national security. Even given this President Obama unwisely chose to engage our military in a third conflict ordering air strikes in conjunction with NATO, and has  just authorized the use of predator drones to beat back Qaddafi's forces..

I can almost hear the sound of American boots on the ground.

There are many so called conservatives that support our intervention into Libya and some in fact wish for a deeper engagement. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is one of the "hawks" espousing stronger military action and involvement.

Bolton makes the case that Obama's decision to intervene was late and to limited in scope.

Obama is hypersensitive to the Vietnam analogy — arguing, for example, as he authorized a U.S. “surge” in Afghanistan in 2009 that it is not another Vietnam. course, Vietnam became a “quagmire” because of U.S. unwillingness to persevere to reach our objectives. Obama ignored the critical point that Gen. Creighton Abrams’s strategy had placed us on the path to victory in Vietnam, and that it was a failure of American will, not battlefield defeat, that humbled us there.

And just so is Libya now increasingly a “quagmire” — because Obama’s decision to intervene was perilously late and limited, and compounded by his mistake in drastically curtailing U.S. strike missions. Two immediate steps are required to prevent the stalemate from becoming permanent.

First, we must reverse course now and declare regime change to be our objective, followed by substantial airstrikes against Gadhafi’s forces, whether or not they are imminently threatening civilians. Even now, U.S. airpower should be intimidating enough to permit an opposition victory.

Our NATO allies will welcome our return to active strike missions. So too will the Arab League, whose leaders must be appalled that Obama and NATO are risking failure, thus risking an armed and dangerous Gadhafi remaining in power in their back yard.

Second, because Libya’s opposition leadership is still inchoate at best, we must identify anti-Gadhafi figures who are pro-Western and find ways, overt or covert, to strengthen their hands. Failing to identify reliable leaders now may make any post-Gadhafi regime, already problematic, even more dangerous. Read More

Bolton is correct with respect to the ultimate outcome in Vietnam. The point really is we never should have been there in the first place. Now the question is do we really want another Iraq on our hands???

Looking at past and relative recent history our leaders {and former diplomat}, would be well advised to consider deeply paragraph two of this post.

Cross posted to the Left Coast Rebel

Via: Memeorandum


  1. "As Ayn Rand correctly argued, the only justification for military action (war) is in response to an act of aggression by one country against another. In other words in defense of your national sovereignty, or self defense."

    Then under Randism, it was perfectly OK for Hitler to exterminate European Jews... as they were not American citizens.

    My ideals of conservatism are about human rights, not special American rights (and all foreigners are inferior or something, and can die off for all we care).

    About Libya, it is in the best interest of human beings to have one less socialist leader. Sorry, I don't hold the lives of Libyans to be of less value than those of Americans.

  2. dmarks,

    You said:
    "About Libya, it is in the best interest of human beings to have one less socialist leader. Sorry, I don't hold the lives of Libyans to be of less value than those of Americans."

    No disrespect intended, but at first glance your comment here looks promising and hopeful. However...

    Those who are seeking to overthrow this moronic and dangerous dictator are no better than he is. So we, and I use "we" as generically as possible, are supporting these rebels simply because we feel they are better than MG himself.

    Sorry, I simply don't see it.

    I wholeheartedly contend that MG should have been assassinated years ago, to be sure. (Yes, harsh to say, but can anyone truly blame me for saying it?) He is a nutjob, the Middle Eastern equivalent to that freakshow in N Korea, Kim-Jong Il. The best thing for Libya is if he was either thrown down or killed. There is no redemption in this man.

    But to wish to support the rebels who are of the terrorist-affiliated sort, in favor of having a madman run Libya, is not a scenario I would wish to see.

    Like I said, no disrespect intended. Obviously neither you nor I can influence the situation in Libya or our mistake in supporting the rebels. Nope, just a friendly conversation between Americans on RNUSA.

    Thanks for reading.

    Donald in Bethel, CT

  3. Donald, actually that was an excellent counter response.

    Many of my opinions on Libya are formed from a good friend of mine, who is Libyan, very Westernized, very anti-Khadaffy, and very pro-rebel.

  4. dmarks - Your entire argument boils down to that of the American internationalist, with the U.S. being the power that is best equipped {both militarily and morally I assume) to police the entire world and thereby insure everyone has the same human rights.

    As determined by, what and whom?

    In your view every conflict in which people wish to topple their government would deserve the support of The United States in so long as they could make the case the result would improve their human rights.

    Certainly a sure recipe to feed the military industrial complex on the basis of altruism, and ultimately impoverish the United States in the process.

    As to Your assertion that Rand felt genocide was okay...

    In her words "There is no principle by which genocide - a crime against a group of men - can be regarded as morally different from (or worse than)a crime against and individual: the difference is only quantitative, not moral."

    If everyone actually understood and followed the principles of Objectivism nobody would be having this discussion.

    Rand on war...

    "Wars are the second greatest evil that human societies can perpetrate. (The first is dictatorship, the enslavement of their own citizens, which is the cause of wars.)"

    and this...

    "If nuclear weapons are a dreadful threat and mankind cannot afford war any longer, then mankind cannot afford statism any longer. Let no man of good will take it upon his conscience to advocate the rule of force - outside or inside his own country. Let all those who are actually concerned with peace - those who do love man his survival - realize that if war is ever to be outlawed, it is the use of force that has to be outlawed."

    I leave it to you to to connect the dots. All I know is your world view will perpetuate war ad infinitum with the U.S continuing to be the worlds policeman.

  5. Donal - I have long felt that the man should be taken down. But by a mafia hit squad financed by Libyan currency. They would likely get the job done cleaner and without billions of American tax dollars! ;)

  6. "All I know is your world view will perpetuate war ad infinitum"

    No, it would end war, by going to the root causes and taking care of the problems.

  7. dmarks - You think?

    Think again.

    Please elaborate on your premise.

    Thanks, and have a great holiday weekend.Brought to you by the efforts of the American labor movement.


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