How did our interference in Bosnia help the US? Answer that, Ron.
You can make the argument that we were opposing genocide, i.e. no more Nazi holocausts. But we didn't intervene in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge slaughtered 1/3 of the population and we didn't intervene in Africa when one tribe decided to slaughter another.
A double standard???
Keith Olberman. Politics does make strange bedfellows, doesn't it?
The ghost of Jack Kevorkian for President's Physician: 2016
It is Corporatism that makes strange bedfellows. It's getting all that OIL into the Big Energy Corporate Distribution Network named Total, Exxon/Mobil, BP, ETC. They pay big money to get the politicians they own to do their bidding. We are abserving bidding. Sort of like an auction, don't you think?
Having said that, the U.S. can ill afford to ignore Russia's critical interests. There, Russia can and will act to safeguard those interests. Georgia's failed attempt to use force to resolve its own internal dispute provides one lesson that Russia will act when it feels its critical interests are impacted. Russia's near abroad is considered vital to Russia. With respect to the Libya situation, Russia's strategy going forward could involve a number of measures aimed at "punishing" the U.S./West. Those measures could include, among other things:
1. A guaranteed veto of any future UNSC resolution that does not provide specific limits on what is authorized e.g., a resolution would need to authorize a no-fly zone, define what that means, and actions beyond those required for to implement and maintain it would be barred e.g., attacks on armor that have nothing to do with the NFZ would be barred.
2. Reduced cooperation on the Iranian issue. There are limits to how far Russia could proceed on this front, barring a political development that allows Russia to accept a nuclear-armed Iran (still quite unlikely).
3. A greater degree of resource nationalism. Russia has demonstrated in the past that it will use its resources to pursue what it perceives to be national interests (actually, this should not be surprising, as resources offer a dimension of power).
4. Further deepening of relations with China. There are broad common interests (especially economic/resources) that are driving a tightening of the relationship. Balance-of-power objectives could gain prominence, especially if Russia is able to appeal to China's wariness about outsiders interfering in the internal domestic affairs of states (China has issues concerning the Tibet region and Taiwan that it views as vital internal domestic matters).
On issues of mutual benefit to the critical interests of the U.S. and Russia, progress is not likely to be blocked. Hence, if the U.S. and Russia were to pursue further nuclear arms reductions, the technical details not Libya would present the greatest challenge.
Finally, in this case, Russia's concerns are valid. There is an elevated risk of a civil war in Libya should the Gadhafi dictatorship be driven from power. The regime still enjoys significant popular support. Tribal rivalries are real. The anti-Gadhafi elements had shown poor political and military skill prior to the international air support being provided to shift the battlefield situation. It remains to be seen whether those elements, largely agreed on Gadhafi's ouster but not much more, could form a broad-based transitional government that would provide stability in the face of the power vacuum that would exist following the departure of Gadhafi's regime. Such a transitional government would need to include much more than just the anti-Gadhafi elements and that would be a tall order. Mistrust or worse would exist on both sides.
If one recalls, pre-war military planning for Iraq all but ignored the extreme risk of civil conflict there. The pre-war narrative was simply that once Saddam Hussein fell, Iraq would 'live happily ever after in peace and stability.' In short, that narrative ignored both Iraq's history and the general risks associated with the emergence of power vacuums in states with longstanding ethnic rivalries. A long period of insurgency and violence followed, something that General Zinni had warned about in his 1999 Desert Crossing exercise, but was ignored in the run-up to the 2003 war.
While I do not believe Libya is going to evolve into another Somalia--Libya has substantial valuable resources that can readily be produced (especially oil) that could provide for growth that would benefit all parts of the country, unlike Somalia's essentially zero-sum framework from fewer resources able to be produced/famine risk from a combination of climate and bad policy--tribal rivalries, secular-Islamist divide, and signficant divisions among Libya's people could lead to at least a period of post-Gadhafi violence, perhaps civil war. The coming international conference on Libya does not assure that that risk can be managed. Such an approach proved inadequate in the face of the challenges in Afghanistan, though I believe Libya's risks are lower than those in Afghanistan, which remains fundamentally a highly decentralized society.
Does NATO have a plan to assure a broad-based transitional government? Does NATO have a contingency plan should violence begin to materialize following the departure of the Gadhafi dictatorship? Does NATO have a plan to prevent wholesale purges of those suspected to support or sympathize with Gadhafi? Those are real questions that need to be resolved.
In any case, it is those dangers and the absence of a critical U.S. interest in the outcome that led me to oppose anything more than a strict NFZ. I do not support the current approach of providing close-air support, even as I hope that the anti-Gadhafi forces will prevail. As previously noted, I believe the revolution should be waged, won, or lost by Libyans. That is not the case today by any stretch of the imagination. NATO air power is playing a decisive role in the battlefield outcome. Objectively, if the revolution is won, it will have been won largely by non-Libyans.
The danger in Egypt, Libya, etc. is that the young, educated, democracy oriented group is fractured or a disorganized minority. The truly organized groups are the Muslim fundamentalists - The Muslim Brotherhood. The MB has a strong base they can appeal to. The uneducated, poor, peasantry that get their direction from the only guys who can actually read the Quran, the mullahs and imams.
Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
Alexis de Tocqueville