More than three months after the beginning of the military campaign in Libya, the outcome remains unpredictable, at least in its final shape and its aftermath. Already, however, the transatlantic partners are starting to draw some first lessons from the intervention.
Cheered in the EU and the U.S., the “Arab spring” also raised the specter in Europe of a destabilizing wave of Arab and African refugees across the Mediterranean seeking to settle in Europe. That surge of fear turned out to be alarmist, at least in terms of actual numbers. So far, comparatively few of the refugees in the exodus from Tunisia and Libya have actually turned up on European soil.
The Obama administration is extending an exceptionally warm reception to Chancellor Angela Merkel even though she recently opposed Washington on Libya and on so many economic issues. Why?
“Bad cases make bad law.” This axiom of jurisprudence can as easily apply to the use of force. What is happening in Libya at the moment is a “bad case” in three ways: military intervention in its civil war does not derive from well-established precedent, does not draw on unambiguous principle, and may not set a course or parameters for future conduct of various nations and institutions in similar – or roughly similar – cases. This conclusion will be tested the next time the U.S., its European and Canadian allies, and others are faced with a situation that seems to cry for outside intervention.
This bold and deliberately provocative book on geopolitical forecasting has smart and suggestive points to make about the whole geopolitical scene, especially the U.S. and Europe.According to the author George Friedman to manage its "unintended empire," Washington will need to learn the doctrine of playing off new regional contenders against each other. He advocates this "Machiavellian" strategy -- sometimes called "off-shore balancing" -- because it seeks to avoid getting U.S. "boots on the ground" and getting sucked into future wars that might resemble Iraq.
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