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Harle

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  • Top Ten Myths about the Libya War
    • It's sad but not surprising that blatant neocolonialism is a popular foreign policy in France. To who ever mentioned the Ivory Coast above, the French are heavily invested there, responsible for 40-50% of all capital investment, which isn't to say that intervention wasn't justified. With Italy on the verge of a debt crisis (or at least closer to one than France), I suppose they are fairly limited in how autonomous their foreign policy can be. The Libyan people should be rich given their oil wealth; I hope they don't get screwed in this aftermath.

    • The Socialist Republic of Vietnam survived 6,727,084 tons of bombs.

    • Ah, good point. I see on a second look that the "days not weeks" quote was taken out of context by a bunch of media sources. But the US never became a "junior partner."

    • I'm glad that Professor Cole is getting this right on the most important points that Gadaffi is odious and his removal was justified and achievable. Still, there are some misleading statements in this myth busting-- particularly #10. While it is reductionist to say intervention is exclusively about oil, the NY Times article "The Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins" clearly documents the fact that oil producers and consumers expect and expected to benefit greatly from Gaddafi's fall. Obviously, that influenced the decision of NATO countries to invest in an expensive intervention in Libya while employing a very different strategy in Yemen, Bahrain, etc.

      The downside risk of a spike in oil prices was downplayed or underestimated in the early days of the war. Remember Obama's "days not weeks" quote. That it has taken months means that there has been something of a stalemate (Myth #4), even if at this moment of triumph we can look back on a progressive march. It seems now that the short term price increase was worth a much greater control of oil production over the long term.

      On Greenwald's claim (#8) that "NATO would never have gone forward unless the US had plumped for the intervention in the first place," we should recall the complaints by the US that NATO allies were incapable of carrying out the mission without US expertise and hardware. Moreover, it remains ridiculous to think that NATO could undertake such a project without US approval, participation, and leadership. That said, I think credit should be given to Obama's strategy of minimizing the appearance of US leadership, which has blunted the association of the Libyan intervention with our failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. If there is a final accounting of the costs of the Libya intervention, the US' share will be much more than that of a "junior partner." See the Financial Times, June 9th, "Pentagon sees Libya military costs soar," which states "Although it is working under Nato, the US is by far the largest contributor to operation Unified Protector." It is (smart) PR to claim anything other than that the US is playing a leadership role.

      Let's hope that Professor Cole is right that this is not a civil war and that it won't become one following the fall of Tripoli. I can't help but be skeptical of the articles popping up today claiming that the lessons of Iraq have been learned this time.

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