The Smartest Guy in the Room has No Sense of History

Leon Wieseltier has written an interesting piece for the New Republic titled "We Choose Consultations" which highlights the embarrassing passivity of the Obama administration regarding the ongoing butchery in Libya.

Mr. Wieseltier points out that President Obama apparently believes that to intervene in Libya, in order to end the needless loss of life occurring there, would be misinterpreted as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. 

How Libya's internal affairs are sacrosanct, while Israel's are not is a subject for a separate discussion.

But as Mr. Wieseltier eloquently states in the piece:

It is a fine sentiment, Obama's insistence upon the autonomy of the peoples who are making these democratic uprisings; but a number of things need to be said about it. For a start, there already are foreigners who have intervened in Tripoli. They are Qaddafi's mercenaries, the savage thugs whom he has imported to save his regime by sowing fear. The deployment of Western air power over Libya would be an intervention against this intervention. Is Qaddafi to be allowed outside help and the people of Libya denied it? And help, after all, is all that the terrorized population of Tripoli is beseeching us for. The point that weirdly eludes Obama is that assistance does not compromise the autonomy of those who receive it. Sometimes autonomous people cannot do it alone. This does not mean that we should do it for them. Helping them is not doing it for them. Indeed, they are already doing it: half of Libya has been liberated, the regime has been robbed of any semblance of legitimacy and authority, there are anti-Qaddafi forces fighting effectively near Tripoli, the dictator is quite plainly doomed. We, the United States, accomplished none of this. But the death throes of Qaddafi's rule could be terrible, and it is only to thwart a slaughter that we need to act. Even if we intervene, we will not have democratized Libya. Libya will have democratized Libya. And it is both our moral duty and our strategic responsibility to align ourselves with this emerging and emancipated Libya.  (emphasis added)

While it is doubtful that Mr. Obama will read this article himself, there must be someone in the White House who can mention a very obscure fact of history to the "smartest guy in the room."  Without the intervention of France, by definition a powerful foreign nation, during our own revolution, he would not be sitting in the White House today, since we would have remained a British colony.  As a result of that intervention, the United States of America and the French Republic have enjoyed over 200 years of amicable, although occasionally somewhat strained, relations.  The President should also be reminded that at no time has France exercised any power that might reduce the autonomy of the United States.

Both the President and our Secretary of State have an obligation to explain to the American people why we are not actively helping the citizens of Libya in their desire to be free.

 
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, Vietnam veteran and libertarian (small "l").  Jim blogs at
http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com

Leon Wieseltier has written an interesting piece for the New Republic titled "We Choose Consultations" which highlights the embarrassing passivity of the Obama administration regarding the ongoing butchery in Libya.

Mr. Wieseltier points out that President Obama apparently believes that to intervene in Libya, in order to end the needless loss of life occurring there, would be misinterpreted as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. 

How Libya's internal affairs are sacrosanct, while Israel's are not is a subject for a separate discussion.

But as Mr. Wieseltier eloquently states in the piece:

It is a fine sentiment, Obama's insistence upon the autonomy of the peoples who are making these democratic uprisings; but a number of things need to be said about it. For a start, there already are foreigners who have intervened in Tripoli. They are Qaddafi's mercenaries, the savage thugs whom he has imported to save his regime by sowing fear. The deployment of Western air power over Libya would be an intervention against this intervention. Is Qaddafi to be allowed outside help and the people of Libya denied it? And help, after all, is all that the terrorized population of Tripoli is beseeching us for. The point that weirdly eludes Obama is that assistance does not compromise the autonomy of those who receive it. Sometimes autonomous people cannot do it alone. This does not mean that we should do it for them. Helping them is not doing it for them. Indeed, they are already doing it: half of Libya has been liberated, the regime has been robbed of any semblance of legitimacy and authority, there are anti-Qaddafi forces fighting effectively near Tripoli, the dictator is quite plainly doomed. We, the United States, accomplished none of this. But the death throes of Qaddafi's rule could be terrible, and it is only to thwart a slaughter that we need to act. Even if we intervene, we will not have democratized Libya. Libya will have democratized Libya. And it is both our moral duty and our strategic responsibility to align ourselves with this emerging and emancipated Libya.  (emphasis added)

While it is doubtful that Mr. Obama will read this article himself, there must be someone in the White House who can mention a very obscure fact of history to the "smartest guy in the room."  Without the intervention of France, by definition a powerful foreign nation, during our own revolution, he would not be sitting in the White House today, since we would have remained a British colony.  As a result of that intervention, the United States of America and the French Republic have enjoyed over 200 years of amicable, although occasionally somewhat strained, relations.  The President should also be reminded that at no time has France exercised any power that might reduce the autonomy of the United States.

Both the President and our Secretary of State have an obligation to explain to the American people why we are not actively helping the citizens of Libya in their desire to be free.

 
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, Vietnam veteran and libertarian (small "l").  Jim blogs at
http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com

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