By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Clinton, Obama, Libya, and the New York Times

Yes, I read all of the New York Times‘ two-parter on Hillary Clinton and Libya. Is it damaging to Clinton? It depends on your perspective regarding the use of force.

On the one hand, the reporting shows that Clinton pushed hard to get us involved despite President Obama’s misgivings, thus helping to create the current disastrous situation. On the other hand, you could argue that the disaster flows directly from Obama’s tentativeness—letting himself be dragged into a conflict he didn’t want and then refusing to do what was needed to ensure stability.

For all the outstanding work the Times has done, I suspect that this won’t move anyone’s needle. If you’re a supporter of Clinton’s muscular approach to foreign policy, you’ll think this vindicates her. If you’re more inclined toward Obama’s non-interventionism (as I am), you’ll wonder why the president didn’t say no right from the start.

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  1. Laurence Kranich

    I wish we’d never gotten involved, and I’m also a non-interventionist in most cases. But can you imagine what opponents would be saying if Gaddafi had stayed in power? That’s now viewed as a somewhat better option than the mess that Libya has devolved into. But we’d now be hearing, “Obama and Clinton did nothing, while we had the chance of a lifetime to help the brave rebellion and liberate the Middle East.” Hindsight…gotta love it.

  2. Thank you for your post. The hasty and ill advised use of force by HRC is the issue. And the “we must shoot first and regret it afterwards” is a warmonger’s impulse and is simply not prudent. We might say that “refusing to do what was needed to ensure stability,” is what Kennedy did over the Bays of Pigs and during the Cuban missile crisis. Goals achieved. War averted. It can be done.

  3. peter haley

    But exactly “what was required” to put this place in order? The Americans did not and do not know. The things Clinton wanted implemented after the regime fell would have made no difference. This WILL hurt her.

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