A No-Fly Zone over Libya? Take a Deep Breath First

Kim Holmes /


What to do about Libya? First of all, we need to be clear about our national interests. Since we have lived with the Muammar Qadhafi regime for years—and particularly because Libya gave up its weapons of mass destruction program—there is no immediate vital national interest requiring the use of force. That could change. Qadhafi could establish links with terrorist groups that threaten America. He could take Americans hostage or attack our citizens and assets or those of our allies. He could threaten the region’s oil supplies. Any one or a combination of these actions could warrant a military response of some kind.

Of course, the United States has other interests besides security in Libya and the region. In the long run, we would like to see Libya evolve into a more open, free, and democratic society. However, in the short run, especially with a civil war raging, that appears not to be a near-term prospect. Of course, any actions we take now may influence this outcome, but that is not the immediate question on the table. We should not automatically assume that any action we take, no matter how well intentioned, will lead to that outcome. (more…)