Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

What drove US decision on Libya?

“President Obama’s decision to participate in the air campaign against … Gaddafi’s regime is a vast improvement over previous policy, a victory for human rights idealists within the administration, and the application of an important international standard known as “the responsibility to protect.”

- Michael Gerson, opinion writer, Washington Post. See his comment here

"This is the greatest opportunity to realign our interests and our values," a senior administration official said at the meeting, telling the experts this sentence came from Obama himself. The president was referring to the broader change going on in the Middle East and the need to rebalance US foreign policy toward a greater focus on democracy and human rights.

See Josh Rigin’s article for Foreign Policy here, on how the US decision came about .

It was important to the US that Libyans and the world understand that this coalition of the willing was more than a US rhetorical construct.

An hour before bombing began Saturday, Clinton spoke to the press in Paris. Asked why military action was in America's interest, she gave three reasons and implied a fourth. A destabilizing force would jeopardize progress in Tunisia and Egypt; a humanitarian disaster was imminent unless prevented; Qaddafi could not flout international law without consequences. The fourth: there's a line now, and one that other countries had better not cross.

- Marc Ambinder, White House correspondent for National Journal and a contributing editor at The Atlantic. See his comment here.

Libya matters to the United States not for its oil or intrinsic importance, but because it has been a key part of the rapidly evolving transformation of the ... world

For Arab protestors and regimes alike, Gaddafi's bloody response to the emerging Libyan protest movement had become a litmus test for the future of the Arab revolution.

“If Gaddafi succeeded in snuffing out the challenge by force without a meaningful response from the United States, Europe and the international community then that would have been interpreted as a green light for all other leaders to employ similar tactics.”

- Marc Lynch, Middle East analyst. See his article in Foreign Policy here.