I’m afraid that the lessons we learned from Rwanda were zero. Sure, we intervened to ostensibly prevent genocide in Kosovo and we used Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds as one of many excuses to wage aggressive war against Iraq. The doctrine that came out of Rwanda, and Susan Rice has a lot of blood on her hands for how it played out as many people who worked with her at the time have told me, is R2P: responsibility to protect.
Where has that gotten us? Into Libya? How’d that work out? Almost got us into Syria too.
Libya was such a foreign policy success that the country cannot even control its own oil:
The American intervention is a salvation to the fragile transitional government in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, which would have faced the loss of its main source of revenue and its sole source of political power if renegade militias succeeded in selling Libya’s oil. Despite days of furious bluster, the Libyan authorities were unable to stop the tanker from arriving in Sidra early last week or from leaving with the oil a few days later. The loss of control over oil revenue threatened the government so gravely that the transitional government appeared to teeter, with Parliament voting to remove its prime minister without any consensus on his long-term replacement.
What next, partition?
It’s a serious question. When is it okay to partition a nation? Was it right for the US and NATO to shave Kosovo off of Serbia? Was it right for Russia to shave off Ossetia and Abkhazia? It is right for Israel to flout international law and steal the West Bank? Was it right for a Armenia to pretty much steal Nagorno-Karabakh? Or how about Libya? Is it okay to partition Libya?
From where I sit, it seems to be okay when the West is doing the partitioning, but when anyone else is involved, it is not okay.
Something to ponder.
WaPo on the internal response to Mittens’ hasty, ill-conceived late night Libya presser:
By sunrise the next day, it was clear to Romney that they had acted too quickly. The campaign learned that four Americans had been killed in an attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Even to some Republicans, Romney’s hasty statement looked insensitive.
“We screwed up, guys,” Romney told aides on a conference call that morning, according to multiple people on the call. “This is not good.”
His advisers told him that, if he took back his statement, the neoconservative wing of the party would “take his head off.”He stood by it during an appearance in Florida. Two days later, Obama traveled to Joint Base Andrews to meet the four flag-draped coffins.
Related: “[W]hen you crunch the numbers, the truth is that foreign policy didn’t matter much in ushering Barack Obama to reelection in 2012” (h/t Michelle Shephard)
Greg Scoblete is rather underwhelmed by GOP attacks on Obama’s Libya record:
[W]hile Republicans have every right to seize on the administration’s dissembling, it’s very hard for me to find a foreign policy criticism here, outside of banal ones (i.e. that U.S. facilities overseas need better security and that public officials shouldn’t lie). Many Republicans – and conservative commentators – supported the intervention in Libya. Moreover, if the GOP platform and Mitt Romney’s foreign policy statements are to be believed, Republicans believe Washington needs to be engaged in more direct attacks and subversion of countries in the Mideast.
In other words, if you think the aftermath of the Libyan intervention has been bad for U.S. interests, the Republican answer is to replicate it in more countries.
AP, October 9
Washington – The State Department said Tuesday it never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam, raising further questions about why the Obama administration used that explanation for more than a week after assailants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The revelation came as new documents suggested internal disagreement over appropriate levels of security before the attack, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.
Briefing reporters ahead of a hotly anticipated congressional hearing Wednesday, State Department officials provided their most detailed rundown of how a peaceful day in Benghazi devolved into a sustained attack that involved multiple groups of men armed with weapons such as machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars over an expanse of more than a mile.
But asked about the administration’s initial – and since retracted – explanation linking the violence to protests over an anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, “That was not our conclusion.” He called it a question for “others” to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far.
BBC, October 7
Libya’s Prime Minister-elect has been dismissed from his post, after failing for a second time to win parliamentary approval for a new cabinet.
Mustafa Abu Shagur had called for the formation of an “emergency government”, consisting of just 10 ministries.
The General National Congress (GNC) voted 125 to 44 against the proposal. Seventeen members abstained. Read More
Intelligence agencies are assembling dossiers in what officials describe as a first step toward bringing the killers of four Americans in Libya to justice.
Los Angeles Times, By David S. Cloud & Ken Dilanian, October 2
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon, CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies are assembling dossiers on suspects in the assault on the U.S. Consulate in eastern Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, a first step toward fulfilling President Obama‘s vow to bring the killers to justice, U.S. officials said.
The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command and intelligence agencies “are starting to look at people who might have been involved and starting to tee up options,” a U.S. official said.
The so-called target packages summarize the intelligence that links individuals to the Sept. 11 armed attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission and annex in Benghazi, two Defense officials said. Read More
By Michael Collins
When the Western powers and their pals, the oil oligarchs, target your country, it’s time to run just as fast as you can.
The assault on Damascus by Syrian rebels and terrorist murder of the Syrian Defense Minister occurred just as the Red Cross announced that the fighting in Syria was officially a civil war. This is an odd reward system for military action by the Free Syria Army. Commit enough acts of violence and you’re rewarded with special protections that apply in times of war. (Image)
The rebel Free Syria Army attacks cities and villages, disrupts the Syrian economy, and is in the business of suicide bombing. It has the material and diplomatic support of Saudi Arabia and the other oil oligarchies plus the big guns in NATO. So-called Syrian experts supporting the carnage are amply funded by United States sponsored nongovernment organizations.
Rebel cheerleader Hillary Clinton spans the globe to “build pressure against the Syrian regime,” to “end” it, her exact words. She seeks punishment for who disagree, China and Russia.
It’s hard to tell how the latest regime change project will come out. The real Syrian Army seems to win every engagement. China and Russia support the Assad government. At the same time, despite strong public opposition to any intervention, the Obama government is pushing hard to force Assad out of power. NATO and the Saudis seem unwavering.
Let’s take a look at what the New Syria will look like if United States government, the Saudis, and others prevail.