"Did the United States win legitimacy through the vote at the UN? Hardly. Five huge world powers abstained: India, Brazil, Germany, China and Russia. Using its enormous clout as the world’s last, if declining, hyperpower, the United States had to dragoon tiny little countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Portugal to vote yes, or it couldn’t have won the nine votes it needed to pass the resolution. At one point, Susan Rice had to scurry out to find the South African ambassador, who’s apparently tried to avoid the vote. The vote almost didn’t pass, since the United States, the UK and France ended up with only ten votes in the UNSC.
Did the UNSC resolution that passed demand that Muammar Qaddafi step down? No, it didn’t. While it gave open-ended permission to the United States, the UK, France, and other powers to attack Libya (short of an invasion), it has nothing whatsoever to say about regime change. (Go ahead, read the whole text.) It calls for “the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians,” demands “ a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people,” and “demands that the Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law.” That, however, hasn’t stopped President Obama from acting like he has a mandate for regime change, and US officials are making it clear that even if Qaddafi accepts the UN's terms, he can't survive. And Susan Rice says that the United States is prepared to go beyond the UN resolution, by arming the anti-Qaddafi forces.
So who’s in the new “coalition of the willing”? So far, it looks like it’s the United States, the British, the French and that bastion of democracy, the United Arab Emirates. That vicious and undemocratic kleptocracy, whose troops recently invaded Bahrain to put down a democratic rebellion there, is sending its jet to participate in the attack on Libya. In a painful and delivious irony, Clinton was meeting with the UAE’s foreign minister in Paris, and here’s how the Times described her dilemma: “In a Paris hotel room on Monday night, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton found herself juggling the inconsistencies of American foreign policy in a turbulent Middle East. She criticized the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates for sending troops to quash protests in Bahrain even as she pressed him to send planes to intervene in Libya.” Or was it really a dilemma? Qaddafi has long been a thorn in the side of the United States, so toppling him is a good thing, but the rulers of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf have long been subservient stooges, so why not keep them around?"
Kucinich Warns Obama on Libya War
"Support for war against Libya has risen to a fever pitch even among liberals. I would point out that Russia, China, India, Brazil and Germany abstained from the UN Security Council vote yesterday, belying the Obama administration’s contention that bombing Libya has worldwide support. There is very little difference between George Bush’s 2003 “coalition of the willing” and Barack Obama’s “alliance” in 2010, since it is comprised of the US, UK, France and a handful of reactionary Arab states in the Persian Gulf who are meanwhile using brutal force against their own dissidents and rebels.
In response to President Obama’s warlike declaration of intent against Libya, Representative Dennis Kucinich issued the following statement today. Needless to say, I agree. Here is the statement:"
Pressure Builds for a No-Fly Zone in Libya
"UPDATE Tuesday 2:30 pm:The entire conclave of neoconservatives, virtually an identical collection to the cohorts of the Project for a New American Century and the pro-Iraq war lobby before 2003, issued another call for President Obama to intervene in Libya, including air strikes on Libyan military positions.
Says the statement issued by the Foreign Policy Institute (FPI), Bill Kristol’s thinktank:
"Thirty-eight former U.S. government officials, human rights and democracy advocates, and foreign policy experts expressed concern Tuesday regarding the ongoing crisis in Libya, urging President Obama to: urgently institute a no fly zone over key Libyan cities and towns, recognize the Libyan National Transitional Council, and explore the possibility of targeted strikes against Qaddafi regime assets."
You can read the whole letter at their site. Signers include Randy Scheunemann, who is chief foreign policy adviser to Sarah Palin, Martin Peretz and Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic, Gary Schmitt, Tom Donnelly, and Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, Robert Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, Bill Kristol of FPI and the Weekly Standard, Eric Edelman, Reuel Marc Gerecht, and many others.
UPDATE Monday, 4:45 pm: The United States public is overwhelmingly opposed to U.S. intervention in Libya, according to a new Pew poll:
"The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 10-13 among 1,001 adults, finds that 63% say the United States does not have a responsibility to act in Libya; fewer than half as many (27%) say the U.S. has this responsibility. Opinion about U.S. responsibility to take action in Libya is comparable to views about the conflict between Serbs and Bosnians in 1995; just 30% said the U.S. had a responsibility in that case. By contrast, far more Americans said the U.S. had a responsibility to take action in Kosovo in 1999 and in the Darfur crisis of 2007. …
"Roughly half of Americans (51%) say that the best argument for not using military force in Libya is that U.S. military forces are already overcommitted.""