Has the U.S. involved itself in yet another costly foreign entanglement?
By Micah Hanks
Well, looks like we may have done it again. With the death of Osama bin Laden, questions over removal of troops from places like Afghanistan, where costly US operations over the last decade have helped siphon dollars from defense budgets, are on the table yet again. And in lieu of this, it seems that our presence in Libya now may be for an extended period, too. It seems the U.S. has a problem these days with getting its foot stuck in the mud of every country it seeks to help or liberate.
An Associated Press report yesterday noted that the U.S. and NATO would follow through with their military operations in Libya “as long as Moammar Gadhafi keeps attacking his people,” according to a statement from the White House. Is it wrong for the U.S. to support opposition to the likes of Gadhafi, who obviously seeks to uphold his totalitarian regime at the detriment to those who oppose him? Perhaps not… but isn’t it strange how aid will be given in some areas, such as Libya, while other places around the world world where trouble has been brewing remain virtually ignored (consider some of the terrors that have occurred in the African Congo in recent years, and literally just miles from nearby U.S. embassies). And yet the most stark irony of the present Libyan conflict–and something that is hardly new to us here in the States–is that we’re now opposing Gadhafi’s weapons–provided by the European Union–with more European Union weaponry.
However, there could be potential backlash from providing aid and arming opposition groups, according to sources. “Geographically, Libya is a gateway from North to Central Africa and is positioned between Eastern and Western Africa,” Simba Russeau wrote for the website AntiWar.com. “Human rights advocates warn that by arming opposition groups, tribal conflict could spill outside of Libya’s borders. This would also be in direct violation of the U.N. mandate,” despite the authorization for aiding and protecting Libyan civilians as outlined under UN Resolution 1973.
This also brings to mind the question of strategic advantages Libya may provide, which NATO presently denies. However, Libya and China, the latter representing great concern to the U.S. for their growth and expansion in recent years, had been working to secure energy partnerships with Libya; in fact, Beijing reportedly had 50 “investment projects” designed to secure China’s place as the third largest buyer of Libyan oil.
According to Pepe Escobar, author of Obama Does Globalistan, Gadhafi represents a nuisance to the Pentagon. “He’s in charge of a strategic stretch of the Mediterranean; and he’s made deals with China, Escobar wrote in his April 20th Asia Times column. “As a nationalist with a pan-African streak allowing China access to the Mediterranean, he’s the ultimate scourge of Africom’s agenda of militarizing Africa for American benefit.” Escobar also asserts that China has seen economic losses due to the North African conflict. “Its new contracts in Libya totalling $18 billion have declined by nearly 53 percent,” AntiWar.com reported recently. “This was the aim of U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) strategic policy to minimize China’s economic interest in Africa.”
So in the end, it appears that there may be more to the notion of a “strategic disposition” than NATO is letting on… and regardless, the end result will likely be another costly intervention on behalf of the U.S., drawn out for years (if not decades) in an attempt to control the vital flow of North African black gold and maintain stratification between the nations of the Dark Continent.