So NATO is “saving” Libya. Doesn’t that seem kinda 19th or even 16th century to anyone? An enlightened West which knows best will now impose order in a North African country. Buena suerte.
It’s clear that French President Nicolas Sarkozy sees domestic advantage in projecting French power abroad. He’s running for re-election next year. Sarkozy’s big threat is to his right. Re-inventing France’s mission civilisatrice could well sell to the voters Nic needs to save his rear-end.
What’s less predictable, and even more discouraging, is the bellicose enthusiasm of British PM David Cameron and America’s inexperienced President Barack Obama. Obama declared war on a trip to Brazil. At least it appeared he understood some of the domestic political risks, and the fretting abroad that might arise from an overt appearance of American dominance in the mission. Cameron’s performance in the early days was sadly risible (unless you were under a British bomb). He strutted out under full TV lighting to a designated spot in front of 10 Downing Street to announce in a lame Churchill-like manner that British forces were in combat in the skies over Libya. Puh-leez!
Of course, Cameron faces serious street protests over his attrition budget. Perhaps like Sarkozy, he hopes that appearing to save the world will gain him favour at home. Obama just seems confused. As Niall Ferguson has argued, Obama seems to be making foreign policy up as he goes along – in Libya, as in Egypt, and, as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His only foreign policy certitude, it appears, was to ramp up the war in Afghanistan. How’s that working out?
As for Canada? We joined NATO’s bombing party without discussion or debate. Apparently matters such as going to war are not even worth discussing in Parliament. I hope the doughnuts arrive safely. Given that we are now in an election campaign, that’s the last Canadians will hear of the matter until at least May 2. Why discuss something substantive in election campaign? That would be downright non-Canadian.
So…favoured nations, you’ve made your priorities clear. At a time when Japan is suffering unspeakably, you’d rather use your war toys in North Africa. What’s next? Syria anyone? How about Gaza? Yemen?