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LT Calvin White Question #1 Midterm TSDM

The first two countries of the Arab Spring, Tunis, and Egypt included protesting and

subsequently the ousting of their President, both were relatively peaceful without much in terms

of civilian casualties, which is directly related to the globalization of the internet that has allowed

the normal citizen to voice their opinions to the world and it wields enough power to topple

governments in a very short period of time. However, Libya is a very rich country in terms of oil

and gas reserves, much more than Egypt or Tunis during their uprising, which gives Libya the

ability to buy off dissent...and that led to the start of the fighting between the protesters/rebels in

Benghazi on February 16, 2011.

Responding to the situation in Libya is not an easy subject for the political heavy weights in D.C.

Some are in the corner of keeping out the Middle East due to the past decade of war in Iraq and

Afghanistan. In TSDM 7-2 it talks about failing states as places where security/law, political,

social structures have collapsed or are weak, which have given way to chaos and insecurity,

Libya is a prime example of a failing state The current National Military Strategy (TSDM 13-3)

plainly puts into view why POTUS eventually made the decision to act militarily on the current

regime in Libya. Per the NMS it says that those states that have failing, corrupt governments will

be a threat to National Security because they will increasingly be used as a safe haven for an

expanding array of non-state actors that would bring more instability to the region. The

escalation got to the point where the Regime used heavy weapons against the protesters, and then

during a news blackout a minimum of 61 protesters were killed, this falls directly into the

category of a corrupt government and POTUS has the authority to make a decision that would

stifle the regime of Qadhafi in its efforts to suppress the uprising and protect its innocent citizens

from harm.
LT Calvin White Question #1 Midterm TSDM

Another tidbit in TSDM 12-2 brings up the Energy demand that America has, and will have over

the next 50 years. Our thirst for hydrocarbons is vital to our National Security and could be one

of the main reasons for the first Gulf War. Putting that into perspective, Libya is an oil-rich

country that was recently (2003/04) allowed to compete in the global market after Qadhafi

reversed his stance on WMDs and terrorism. Once the fighting began against the uprising (Arab

Spring), it was hard for the politicians to solidify a decision on how to act with Libya due to the

vast amount of wealth and power that could come out of there, if handled correctly it would a

fruitful relationship with the new Regime (in my opinion). However the rebels do not have a lot

of political background in Libya due to the suppression of free speech, and most of them do not

have much in terms of training, which led to Qadhafi using his wealth and military might against

those who do not have any capabilities to speak of to make a change in their country.

The Presidents NSC, HSC and cabinet members all were against intervention with Libya.

SECDEF Robert Gates even told Congress that the operation would be costly, complex and draw

on resources still being used in Afghanistan. He also said it is not a question of whether we could

do it, but a question of whether its a wise thing to do. Hearing that from his staff, both civilian

and military would have led to his indecision until air strikes began on March 19, almost 30 days

since the uprising began. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that we refrained from action

because the safety and well-being of Americans was our highest priority. Even after everyone

was evacuated President Obama did not want the stigma of empire or neo-colonial attached

to the USA. He wanted to stay out the Middle Eastern affairs as much as possible and not assume

the leadership role if there were any actions to be made against Qadhafi, he insisted that it must

be done by the international community and have approval from the United Nations. In essence

POTUS had to convince the American people that it is imperative that we would be involved in
LT Calvin White Question #1 Midterm TSDM

the Libyan conflict, and not in a war standpoint but as aide to the civilians and rebels who want

to instill democratic ideals in a country with a corrupt leader, and in the process oust said leader

and create a true on corrupt government, and on top of that garner the same support from the UN

and the International Community.

One glaring issue that the President had in making a decision is the lack of understanding

between civilian (politics) and the military (machine). They are increasingly unable to accurately

understand what it takes to run an operation in the Department of Defense. Many of them asked

for a no-fly zone to be established in Libya, but none of them understood what that meant in

terms of resources and manpower. In TSDM 5-2 The other 1%, it brings up the issues between

civilian and military and how it has affected Congress since WWII. Less than 22% of those in

office are veterans, which mean they do not understand the traditions, trials and tribulations, and

the requirements and planning involved in any operation. When the U.S. poll came out saying

that 56% of Americans support US military aircraft in creating a no-fly zone, it amplified the

Presidents indecision at that time. Even the leader of the Rebels who received his education in

the United States did not fully understand what it meant for the creation of a no-fly zone. When

SECDEF Robert Gates was giving his speech to Congress urging caution on the Libyan crisis, he

even stated just enacting a no fly zone does not simply work by telling them do not fly planes.

We would have to attack Libya to destroy its air defenses in order to even begin the no-fly zone

and that isnt going to be the solution to the problem.

In summation President Obama had a lot of influences and actors that were a part of his decision

and the timeline it took to reach said decision. His NSC (NSS), was adamant that we do not walk

into another ground war in the Middle East, and that we must use extreme caution in aiding the

rebels against Qadhafi. The help must come from the International Community with the approval
LT Calvin White Question #1 Midterm TSDM

of NATO so that it is a concerted effort to make a change in Libya and to protect the innocent

civilians that were being targeted in the uprising. The American people even had a hand in his

decision to implement robust military measures in Libya, and that was through polls and social

media. Although it seemed they wanted to enact a less intrusive measure instead of an assault, it

was eventually realized that we (including the international community) needed to act to protect

the civilians and rebels from a corrupt leader who controlled the wealth, media, and political

power over the other 6.5 million people who reside in the state. In the end President Obama

made the decision about foreign policy (as it is his to make) and the rest of the Country followed

suit to protect those who need protecting, and to end the regime of a corrupt leader with our

military might and foreign influence.