Monday, March 28, 2011

An International Response

Less than one hour ago, President Obama updated the American people of the current situation in Libya. One key piece of information to take away from his message is that our response to the crisis in Libya comes as part of an international effort to prevent the prospect of “violence on horrific proportions” and ensure that Moammar Gadhafi is held accountable for his brutal actions.

Since the start of this conflict, as was the similar case for the recent Egyptian uprising, Obama has repeatedly emphasized that it is the responsibility of the Libyan people to take charge of their government. Unlike Egypt, however, the Libyans are being brutally and violently suppressed in their quest for democracy.

By joining an international coalition, alongside nations like the UK, France, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. is simply helping to enforce the United Nation’s Security Council’s resolution to free the Libyan people.

As Obama said in his speech tonight, “American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.” This is the kind of leadership we have shown in Libya.

However, we must not equate this situation with our response in Iraq. Instead, Obama is committed to having the U.S. play a limited, but supporting, role in Libya. We are fulfilling our responsibility to our allies, acting WITH the international community, and taking advantage of the fact that we can prevent mass genocide and help a nation’s oppressed people WIHTOUT deploying ground troops.

Soon, with NATO taking command of the operation, the U.S. would have fulfilled our pledge to assist the Libyan people while still serving America’s best interest. As the president emphasized:

“America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya's borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful — yet fragile — transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. [Also] The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security.”

Inaction would have greater costs for the U.S. and the world community by putting a heavy, and most likely deadly, toll on the men, women, and children of Libya.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A United Response

On Saturday, following the U.N Security Council’s authorization of open-ended military action by member nations, including a no-fly zone, President Obama called on U.S. military strikes in Libya that “will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. After that we'll take more of a supporting role."

By acting as part of a global coalition and ensuring that no U.S. ground troops would be deployed, Obama has recognized the danger faced by the people of Libya and the importance of an international response to the crisis.

Many Republicans argue that Obama should have been more forceful in his actions and has waited too long in his response. However, we must realize that this is not only a U.S. problem, but also a global issue.

In fact, this is why the United Nations was created in the first place: for peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. By providing a platform for dialogue, it is the U.N.’s prerogative to work with the 192 member nations across the globe to resolve the Libyan conflict.

We should not, as President Bush did during the Iraq War, bypass a coordinated response by the international community and place the U.S. in a tougher position. With limited support from our allies and an inability to properly fund a full scale war, the mistakes in Iraq should not be repeated in Libya.

As President Obama has said, we must not deprive the Libyan people of full ownership of their struggle for freedom. Instead, I believe we must work with our global allies to create a stronger, more unified, and more sustainable response that puts the Libyan citizens first.

“Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced,” Obama said. “That is the cause of this coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Role in the Middle East

Thank you all for your ideas and comments regarding the topic of discussion for this week.

With the recent wave of “people’s revolutions” in the Middle East, I feel it is important to discuss America’s role in promoting its democratic ideals while ensuring a self-sustaining and longer lasting government in the region that is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Let’s begin with Egypt. According to the U. S. Department of State, Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world. With the region’s largest publishing and broadcasting center, Egypt has long been the cultural and informational hub of the Middle East. It has also served as a strong military and strategic partner of the United States, playing a key role during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis (Egypt had the third-largest coalition force, after the U.S. and U.K). Given this, our role during the Egyptian revolution needed to be one of careful deliberation.

With mass demonstrations against the 30-year rule of their President, Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian people demanded greater freedoms and a more democratic government. To ensure that we did more good than harm, President Obama and his administration allowed these people to free themselves and build a greater pride in their country that was not inspired by hate to the Western world.

In the past, our efforts to engage with foreign nations to spread democracy have rarely turned out well. Instead of creating lasting peace, we have only fueled anti-American sentiments and deterred citizens from achieving a sustainable form of government. Specifically, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, it quickly became all about us and American imperialism, and much less about getting rid of Saddam and instituting a stable democratic government.

This time, by preventing a full scare war in the region and supporting a peaceful transition toward a democracy led by the Egyptian people, the U. S. has strengthened its relationship toward a key ally and allowed its people to pursue a longer lasting form of happiness.

Our response has been similar in response to the recent uprisings in Libya. Instead of using force, Obama has called on the help of international leaders to work together on building a stronger, more unified defense against Moammar Gadhafi’s repressive regime to help the Libyan people.

"In a volatile situation like this one, it is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice, and that has been our focus," Obama said.

While condemning all violence in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and other North African and Middle Eastern nations where protests have erupted in recent weeks, the Obama administration has taken the correct measures to ensure a true and self-sustaining democracy prevails in the region.

As the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stressed, "we are not dictating outcomes, and we are not telling the people of any country who their leaders should be or should not be."

I think this should be a key element to any foreign policy the U.S. ensues, and one that has been severely underrated in the past administration.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Should I Write About?

My blog has officially reached over 2000 hits!

In appreciation of your support, my next blog post (3/11/11) will be based solely on your political topics of interest.

Please post any ideas you have here. Thanks!