Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Calls for action from those who can do nothing

Government leaders from around the world are saying that the actions of Gaddafi of Libya are unacceptable, including Hilary Clinton and Ban Ki-Moon.  However, many commentators from bloggers to the Wall Street Journal are calling for more concrete action.

But what can any government do without making matters worse?

First, they have to get all their citizens out of Libya safely.  There are many thousands from dozens of countries who have to not only get to an airport or a harbor, but the countries have to supply sufficient craft at places where they won't be attacked by pro-Gaddafi supporters.

Second, if they did supply limited military forces at these embarkation points, would that very act put their countrymen in even more danger?  When dealing with delusional leaders, one does have to expect the worse.

Third, if they did invade beyond the embarkation points, would that unleash an even bigger massacre of civilians, Libyans and foreigners alike?

About the only military action would have to be from the Arab League, and many of the members have their own upheavals to deal with.

That leaves only the Libyan Army to resolve the problem.  We are starting to see many units join "the people".  How effective they will be outside the areas that "the people" control remains to be seen.

As more and more cities come under control of anti-Gaddafi groups, we may see an acceleration towards a conclusion favorable to these groups.

Meanwhile, really the best others outside Libya can do is keep up the verbal pressure, make sure information flows out of Libya, and make sure some information gets back in.