President Obama’s great coalition to defeat Libya – NATO, France, Britain, Arab League and the U.S.A. – is fraying at the seams.
The Arab League, the French say, is out of sorts with NATO. The French, as always, are marching to their own drummer and out of sorts with everyone. And our NATO allies have fallen to squabbling among themselves.
When he attacked Libya the President said we were just a backup on a team led by France or Britain or somebody else – who was not crystal clear.
But then nobody had enough Tomahawk missiles to do Gadhafi much harm so we ended up in charge of Phase One of the war, with Obama promising every day hard as he could we’d be handing the bombing and blowing up to France or Britain or NATO or whoever any day.
But, in fact, it looks like we may have been out foxed. We’re now committed lock, stock and barrel to fighting a war with Libya and our allies know we can’t let Operation Odyssey Dawn (I hope there’s not a class at West Point on naming military operations) fail. So our allies know, full well, they can, well, sit back and shrug and say, Well, we’d like to do more but can’t right this minute.
After a week of squabbling NATO now says it has taken command, but that sure sounds like a fig-leaf. And why not? Look at it from NATO’s perspective: Why should our European allies do the heavy-lifting when we’re on the hook to do the job?