The escalation and the attack on Qaddafi’s Lybia to enforce the no-fly zone is a brilliant strategic move of Nicolas Sarkozy and the French nation. Sarkozy’s right wing challenger Marine Le Pen took a more traditional French position, and voiced scepticism in recent days. Even Internal Market Commissioner Barnier intervened in the matter, a highly unusual move for an EU official. It is common knowledge that France had good relations with Qaddafi which makes the French intervention and Sarkozy more credible. Even the abstention of Germany in the UN security council perfectly fits the scene because it strenghtened the leadership of the neighbour on the matter.
US president Obama prematurely announced a few days ago he was not interested to lead the effort. Today the Pentagon severely struggled to admit that they don’t lead the ad hoc military action or to explain the objectives. Furthermore the EU’s foreseeable unability to initialize action only plays in the hands of the French and cannot be seen as a midterm weakness, institutionally the prior EU, UN and Arab league consultations backed the swift French leadership on the matter. A broader European coalition takes part in the warfare. The US is in a similar position as the German Kaiser was in his preassigned support for Austria in 1914, they have to engage, win the conflict and overtake the risks. The US were coerced into the confrontation theatre and have to contribute substantially to regain a leadership role.
The news was French military air crafts, not US and UK missiles. While the European leaders convened in Paris, the US media spin machine had to overstress the UK and the US role and diminish the French one. Though NATO may build a new expensive headquarter in Brussels it loses massive political ground in European security affairs. Any follow-up response on the Atlanticist side, and you can expect Germany’s political class to be very supportive, would strengthen European influence within the occidental forces. Lybia is not Iraq, because the ad hoc coalition responded to popular pleas from Lybia and a sympathetic rebel movement close to military defeat.
Hillary Clinton: “We did not lead this” or even more confusing Director of Joint Staff Bill Gortney “We are on the leading edge of a coalition military operation.”
Other WP article: Here Clinton is keeps even more distance.
- In German television ZDF Brussels correspondent Udo van Kampen tried to make sense of the NATO confusion about their role in the Lybia coalition’s command and control.
- The United States claims that the objectives of establishing the No fly zone were reached.
- Silly rumours and confusion in NATO, NATO gossip questions the French ability to lead this.
- Turkey opposes NATO involvement which strengthens EU defense options for the maintenance phase.