03 May 2011

The Endgame in Libya Led By... France?

There's a compelling argument over at Small Wars Journal about why France will finish off Gaddafi.

Let’s make something clear, the civil war in Libya will not end in a stalemate. The French will likely intervene with ground forces and topple the Gaddafi regime, and they will probably do it within a month. It is quite possible that they will do so with Italian help. President Obama has fervently wished for America to be just one of the boys; in the end, this may be a case of wishing for something so much that you get it. America has abrogated the role of global marshal that it assumed after World War II. Every posse needs a Marshal to lead it. The French will likely pick up the tin star they found lying in the street of the global village.

When General Petraeus asked the famous question, “tell me how this ends?” early in the Iraq war, he was signaling unease about launching conflicts with no clear idea of how the world should look after the fighting stopped; the military calls this an “end state”. When he had a chance to do something about it, Petraeus as a caveat for assuming command in Iraq, insisted that the civilian side of the government craft a clear end state and give him adequate forces to pursue it. By the 2008 election, both candidates were promising never again to get us involved in an open ended conflict. Fast forward to 2011, where we have embarked on a military campaign with no clear strategic objective other than to “do something”; having done something that is clearly not enough, the administration seems at a loss. At this point, we have a strategic leadership vacuum, and the French will probably fill it.

By: Brant

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