Monday, August 29, 2011

Coast to Coast

I have been spending the morning on radio stations throughout Canada via CBC syndication, talking about NATO and Libya.  For those not having access to radio stations based in Thunder Bay, Corner Brook, Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Calgary, Kelowna, and Vancouver, here's how it played out:

Is the last day's bombing in Sirtre mission creep for NATO?
No, once NATO interpreted protecting civilians to require striking at Qaddafi's forces, the mission has been pretty consistent--attacking Q's forces.  These forces in Sirtre just happen to be some of the last remaining potential targets.  Regime change may not have been the mission the UN approved, but given Qaddafi's threats and actions, protecting civilians did essentially require changing the regime.

What about hunting Qaddafi or NATO peacekeeping mission?
The mission creep question moves to this concern about next steps.  I suggested (contra Rathbun's advice) that the outside countries would be unlikely to do either.  NATO will help the rebels find Qaddafi via drones and other recon/intel, but not participate.  I raised some doubts about a NATO PKO as its members are exhausted from Afghanistan and are facing deep budget cuts, especially in defense budgets.

What about the Special Operations Forces by NATO countries?
I explained that countries often deploy forces outside of NATO command structures even as they participate in a NATO operation, as in the cases of Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.  That some countries will be more enthusiastic or have different ideas about what needs to be done so they send troops that are independent of NATO command and control.  In this case, the British and French SOF apparently are training the rebels, coordinating them, and helping them communicate with the NATO forces.  

What is Canada doing now?
Six F-18's striking at Libyan targets, recon and refueling planes, one ship off-shore, participating in NATO command structures, including the head of the mission, LtG Bouchard.

What is the future of NATO in Libya?
Again, I basically suggested that NATO was too tired to do much more.  Also, rebels are not looking for an NATO pko.

It is always kind of fun to see how the questions mostly stay the same (they are given a script by CBC syndicated) but then one or two stations will throw a curveball.  The last one asked me about whether the disorder now will make it harder for subsequent international war crimes tribunals.  Um, don't know, but they managed elsewhere.

Of course, doing this first thing in the morning is a bit of a challenge--not too awake.  Oh well.  I think I didn't suck too badly.  The proof of that might be whether they ask me back to do a 9/11 anniversary interview.


JWells said...

What do you think of a renewed spirit (perhaps even willingness) of cooperation after French involvement in Libya through NATO?

Steve Saideman said...

See the subsequent post: