The Disregarded Perspective: the great communicator?
Over the past few days, the situation in Libya has become the political center in the media. Like other protesting middle eastern populations, the Libyan people have decided they want to take charge of their government. They have determined that they will fight and protest in order to get their rights. However, unlike many nations, these protesters were met with severe force from their own government.
Although the death toll is uncertain, there have been estimates of up to 1,000 deaths in the past month. The present leader of Libya, Muammar Qaddafi, has explicitly stated that he will use force and violence against the citizens of Libya. Qaddafi has used terrorism in the past and is a well-known enemy of Western countries.
It is apparent that the United States cannot stand aside and allow Qadafi to continue his regime in Libya. In this case, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the Arab League have concluded that the best course of action is to support the foreign protection of the Libyan people’s safety.
The United States and France are both working to implement a no-fly zone above Libya, which would theoretically help protect the citizens. This is the only measure the United States has taken, and it is not clear if there will be additional steps to enforce the security of the Libyan people.
President Obama is nowhere to be seen in this time of crisis. This is a crucial point in our foreign affairs, and we have no leader to look toward. The American people do not know what Obama is planning on doing in Libya, and how far his plans go. Five days ago, he made some remarks on the situation. “Our focus [In Libya] has been clear: protecting innocent civilians within Libya, and holding the Qaddafi regime accountable,” he said. However, this isn’t clear at all.
Our president does not explain what this protection might entail. Is all we are going to do is to help these people survive attacks from their own president? Or does it continue further than that? Economically, Libya is in crisis. Protection is a vague term, and Obama has not spoken as to exactly what this could mean for both Americans and Libyans.
It is unknown whether or not we will continue aiding these people after Qaddafi is out of power. As far as “holding the Qaddafi regime accountable” goes, it is impossible to know what Obama means. It is uncertain if our goal is to completely remove the Qaddafi regime from Libya. If we do not, we leave a people who have only known one leader for 42 years. The president has not announced if we are planning on implementing a new form of government, or allowing the Libyan people to figure out their own form of government instead.
It is evident that our president had no plan for what we are going to do in Libya. It is even more obvious when he spoke of how we would protect the Libyan people. He stated that there would be no ground troops sent into Libya, and he was adamant about this.
This was a clear message. What he did not say, was how we would safeguard the civilians. Since there will be no ground troops, it will be difficult to ensure the safety of anyone in Libya. There is no plan to actually protect these people, and even if there is, it has not been told to the American public.