Jonah Goldberg on Obama's 'Missed Break' in Libya There was a moment in February when the uprising in Libya was gaining steam--even a small intervention might have been able to achieve the necessary work of toppling the Qaddafi regime, says Goldberg in The Los Angeles Times. But "Obama slowed things down to set up the play he wanted rather than the play the moment demanded," Goldberg says, and because of it the United States faces an increasingly complex situation in Libya. "Now that America is rescuing losing rebels rather than lending support to winning ones, we will 'own' the next Libyan regime," Goldberg says. He also wonders why it's more important to secure the votes of the Arab League and the UN Security Council than it is to secure the support of Congress.
Dave Eggers on Teacher Layoffs Every year of the past four--and 9 of the last 20--thousands have teachers have been laid off. The pink slips harm everyone in the education system; from the morale of teachers who receive them, even as many are eventually hired back by August, to the school children who face an education system in perpetual upheaval, Dave Eggers, the co-founder of 826 Valencia and author says in The San Francisco Chronicle. The high rate of teacher turnover alone costs the United States $5 billion alone, he says. "There is no child psychologist who will tell you that children thrive amid chaos and uncertainty. Children need stability, regularity, continuity. And yet every year, we shake up their lives at will." Eggers makes an impassioned case to consider seemingly innucuous costs of what is increasingly a common practice.
Michael Kinsley on Libya Once again we are intervening in the Middle East, as the leader of the UN coalition's efforts in Libya whether we like it or not. "If Kadafi is still in power a year from now, even if he is obeying the no-fly rules, it will be regarded worldwide as more evidence of America's decline as a great power," writes Michael Kinsley in The Los Angeles Times. He thinks there might have been another approach between doing nothing and intervening directly. "We could've done what we did for Eastern Europe, which helped bring victory in the Cold War: verbal support and financial support for dissidents and democrats." It may seem an overly modest form of action, but "our track record with bigger ambitions in smaller situations has not been impressive."
Caroline Glick on Why America Ignores Its Own Interests Caroline Glick offers a provocative perspective on the U.S.'s recent foreign policy decisions in the Jerusalem Post, today. Glick argues that America's approach to the Middle East choas, particularly in Egypt and Libya, reflect the agendas of three different U.S. camps. Obama, she explains, represents the "anti-imperialist camp," the goal of which is to "end US global hegemony." Obama's opponents, the neoconservatives, constitute the anti-tyranny camp, which doesn't differentiate between "pro-U.S. despots and anti-U.S. despots." And, finally, the opportunists, led by Hillary Clinton, "support whoever they believe is going to make them the most popular with the media and Europe." Glick writes that all three of these groups promoted ousting Mubarak from Egypt and taking military action against Qaddafi in Libya, despite the fact that these actions are in no way in the U.S.'s best interest, the Muslim Brotherhood being a distinctly worse option than Mubarak, who kept the Suez Canal open and cracked down on extremism. Glick points out that, in Libya, the rebels actually seem more closely allied with Al-Qaeda than the United States. "The significance of the U.S.'s descent into strategic irrationality bodes ill not just for U.S. allies, but for America itself," she concludes. "Until the US foreign policy community is again able to recognize and work to advance the US’s core interests in the Middle East, America’s policies will threaten both its allies and itself."
Katerina Dalacoura Predicts the Muslim Brotherhood's Demise In today's Financial Times, Katerina Dalacoura clarifies that, despite its involvement in Egypt's recent constitutional referendum, the Muslim Brotherhood will not actually come to power in Egypt. Though the group is probably the best organized opposition in the country, Dalacoura argues that it's only a matter of time before "the poverty of its political message" will be exposed. The Brotherhood's main political objective is to form an Islamic state. The success of such attempts in other countries have been limited and questionable at that. The components of such a movement are largely social with the potential to damage "women's rights and freedom of expression. But they do not add up to a political programme." Dalacoura does not deny that the Brotherhood is powerful, especially right now, but is skeptical of how far it will get in Egypt's new political landscape. "The most effective way to diminish its power is encouraging it, or at least allowing it to participate in a more open political field," she writes. "The youth-led movement calling for change in Egypt is already leaving it behind."