The Libya Stalemate


No huge surprise that the Brits and French are disappointed in NATO's strict interpretation of UN Resolution 1973. Even less surprise that hotheads like John McCain will keep on carping that we did not unilaterally intervene much earlier (as if that's gonna help anyone at this point). But it seems to me that Obama, having made this decision, should insist on patience for it to work. He's trying a half-war, combined with sanctions and diplomatic isolation. So far it has done nothing to resolve the civil war except freezing it in place. But as a strategy, it inherently requires time to work – like the incremental but relentless isolation of Iran. And since the alternative is either to abort the mission or escalate it into a second Iraq, Obama's patient minimalism is the best option we now have.

He needs to keep his nerve on this. And we just have to wait.

(Photo: A Libyan rebel rests outside a destroyed house near the western gate in the town of Ajdabiya, on April 12, 2011. An official of the rebel Transitional National Council says that some 10,000 people have already been killed by forces loyal to leader Moamer Kadhafi. By Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)