Obama in Libya: Wrong Words, Right Moves

US pushes loyalists to defect, hopes for regime change: David Brooks
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 1, 2011 1:20 PM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks about Libya at the National Defense University in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – There’s a big gap between what the US is doing in Libya and how the administration is describing it—and while the White House’s explanation is "maddeningly ambiguous," the actual operation is right on, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. Regime change is the ultimate goal, and insiders see three ways it could happen: Moammar Gadhafi could be defeated; he could be “persuaded to flee the country” (more likely); or his supporters could defect, resulting in the government’s fall (most likely).

To that end, the US is using a “Squeeze and See” strategy, explains Brooks, pressuring loyalists and helping the opposition, and then waiting to see what happens. While the explanation of how and why we're doing all this may be weak, the sentiment is a noble one: "to combat evil." And "it is being done without self-righteousness and with a prudent awareness of the limits and the ironies of history." It may not work, but "at worst, the Libyan people will be no worse off than they were when government forces were bearing down on Benghazi. At best, we may help liberate part"—or all—of Libya.

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