Jim Hoagland at the Washington Post may be a classic example of “Where I stand depends on where I sit.” So just Where does Hoagland sit? It would appear to be at the feet of France.
We refer to NATO warplanes playing a crucial role in the rebel campaign when we actually mean French warplanes. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has borne the brunt of NATO’s third successful direct use of force to protect civilian populations.
“Playing a crucial role” and “borne the brunt” are quite imprecise. Reconcile Hoagland’s take to what NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said
"The fact is that Europe couldn’t have done this on its own… The lack of defense investments in Europe will make it increasingly difficult for Europe to take on responsibility for international crisis management beyond Europe’s borders."
Yes, Hoagland fails to address the U.S. provided air defense suppression, aerial refueling, and intelligence in the Libyan effort, an unintentional and minor oversight, I’m sure. Back to the Hoagland article:
Sarkozy is the big winner in the international political sweepstakes surrounding the Libyan campaign… And French companies are likely to benefit in a new Libya oil rush.
So this is about French politics, oil, and French business?! Where’s a George Clooney movie when you need one?
There’s also Hoagland’s assumption of success:
Gaddafi’s downfall brings us closer to closing a dark chapter in Arab history — an era when dictators spent their vast oil revenue to finance international terrorism against the West as well as to suppress their own people.
Some consider the Shah of Iran to have been a dictator. How’s that worked out for the United States since 1979?
Hoagland closes with this:
We must not rush past this opportunity to recognize success, even as it revealed shortcomings, and to encourage Europe to take on more responsibility (and burden-sharing) in an alliance the United States still needs.
Excuse me, but how does the United States still need this alliance and how did this conflict demonstrate such a thing? Does it fulfill some sort of Freudian need to lead from behind in a non-war with Libya that benefits France?