DB Grady (The Atlantic): …There are many ways to describe U.S. policy toward the Arab Spring. “Cowboy diplomacy” is not one of them. President Obama gambled that Tripoli would collapse under the weight of a tyrant 40 years overdue for retirement, as Tunis and Cairo did before it. The president avoided every appearance of hostility, imperialism, or American interest in the region…..
….however tarnished, the U.S. is the last superpower, and in times of crisis, the world still looks to it. The choice was to bear witness to an atrocity, or to end it. President Obama chose the latter.
….The argument follows that the United States is somehow hypocritical for bombing Libya but not the other oppressed Islamic nations using violence against its citizens. The implication of this position is that the choice is either war everywhere at once, or no war at all; the president appears to have answered it with a policy based on patience and opportunity, one country at a time…
….protesters elsewhere in the Arab world might be emboldened by the coalition’s willingness to prevent atrocity. There is some cleverness in striking Libya instead of Bahrain or Yemen….
…Why Libya? Because the struggling revolutions elsewhere need time, and Libya buys that time. The winds of change that swept through Tunisia and Egypt have slowed, and need invigoration. The departure of Moammar Qaddafi and the dawn of a new Libya will provide it. President Obama has taken a long view of the Arab Spring. Change will require patience, and patience is now policy.
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