Mike,I am very concerned


I am very concerned about poorly defined objectives for US participation and no real mission statement from the president.

I guess the implied mission statement would be to establish air superiority for our European allies and then retire from the intervention.  What bothers me so far is the lack of an exit strategy for even so simple a mission.  I would have liked to have seen a definite expiration date for American involvement.

As I said earlier, I welcome the Europeans having a more assertive foreign policy and taking on a larger share of global police work.  I think it is a good thing for the world to have a second liberal democratic superpower working towards similiar foreign policy goals as the US.

However, the Europeans have frequently proven themselves to be uncoordinated and philosophically incoherent when attempting to work in unison.  We are now faced with the problem of handing over the reins of this operation to a squabbling fracas.

The French and the Turks do not want NATO to take the reins because its membership would largely imply Muslim exclusion.  The Italians and British rightly expect that such an international operation should fall under the international command structure of Nato.  If they don't sort this out, we might be stuck in the forefront of an operation that we don't even want.  Obama should have made sure such a critical detail was worked out before he committed us.

It sounds like the debate is getting nasty:

The squabbling continued as Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini again threatened to take back complete control of Italian airbases if NATO did not take the reins of the mission.

"Who, if not NATO, can take on this task?" said Frattini in comments to Italian media.

Some Italian politicians sought to settle old colonial scores by cynically noting that if France was allowed to lead this mission, it would get all the Libyan oil contracts and Italy would get all the Libyan refugees.



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