Saturday, February 9, 2013

Non-Buyer's Remorse

There has been a lot of gnashing lately about the failure of the US/NATO to stop the flow of arms from Libya.  Well, given the "no boots on the ground" components of the UN resolutions and of the policies of the NATO countries, how could the outsiders have done anything to stop the flow of arms.  NATO has been trying to stop the flow of arms into Afghanistan for the past decade (plus or minus) without too much success, and it has had a heap of troops in the neighborhood plus much in the way of intel and air assets nearby. 

My basic point here is a simple one: the flow of arms beyond Libya is not a surprise, but very few folks were advocating a serious NATO deployment two years ago.  So, we now have some remorse that more was not done, but it was quite unrealistic to expect outsiders to do much/enough to make a dent the past few years.  It is not that we forget about Libya, it is that we didn't care enough about Libya to invest sufficient resources to affect the flow of arms.  After two American wars in the Mideast, the US was not up to another war (again, my concept of a war cap seems to apply).  NATO, exhausted by Afghanistan, was not going to send enough troops to make up for the missing Americans. Who was left?  Exactly. 

Of course, the funny thing is that when the US did focus its effort on a country, it still messed up on containing the weapons, but I blame that on Rumsfeld.

Anyhow, I am waiting for someone to figure out how one can stop the flow of weapons without putting troops on the ground.  Anyone?

1 comment:

Jay Ulfelder said...

I think most critics are lamenting NATO's intervention in Libya, which they see as the cause of Qaddafi's fall and therefore the flow of weapons, than are lamenting the subsequent failure to stop the outflow of weapons. It's more of a "We should have done less" than a "We should have done more."

Of course, that version of the critique presumes that Libya would have righted itself without NATO action, and I think that's plainly bullocks, too. It's just as easy to imagine a dragged-out disintegration with similar consequences as it is to imagine the genie being stuffed back into the bottle.