Back in 1986 President Ronald Reagan referred to Moammar Qaddafi as the “Mad Dog of the Middle East” for his actions against American civilians. Twenty-five years later, we find ourselves confronting him again as he and his rebel forces continue to wreck havoc on Libyan civilians.
As the United States, along with France and the United Kingdom, impose air strikes and a no-fly zone over Libya, it is clear that the United States has publically taken the lead militarily thus far. But President Obama stated that we intend to move from a leading to a supportive and logistical role, as we look to transfer military leadership to other allies.
Given our sizable initial engagement coupled with President Obama’s perceived intention to pass leadership to other foreign allies, it seems that the administration is sending mixed messages in terms of our goal in the region. What we need is an outlined mission from the Obama administration as to what role we should play in containing the political unrest that has pervaded the region.
Perhaps what we need is an Obama Doctrine on foreign policy, one that will send a clear message to both our citizens and our allies of what exactly our goals are. President Obama declares that Qaddafi must go, yet we seem to be taking a step in the opposite direction by conveying our interest in backing down as a military contributor.