THE ROAD TO HELL: How Barack Obama’s Good ‘Intentions’ Destroyed Libya.
Humanitarian crusaders trot out a variety of excuses to evade responsibility when their military interventions go awry. One frequent excuse is that a failure is because the U.S. and Western commitment to the mission was either inconsistent or insufficiently robust. Another popular explanation for disappointing results is that the effort would have succeeded if not for malign foreign interference. That rationale has become a favorite for the architects of the Syria debacle, who contend that Russia’s intervention beginning in 2015 saved Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered, evil regime. One striking feature is the absence of diminished confidence that a more determined U.S.-led effort can succeed or that Washington has a moral and strategic obligation to make the attempt, even when the previous meddlesome policy has imploded.
When those excuses are not available, defenders of a failed humanitarian crusade insist that their intentions were good, and that they should be judged according to that standard. The good intentions dodge is perhaps the most maddening. Barack Obama seemed to recognize the inherent deficiency when he first met Samantha Power, an advocate of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine, and a passionate proponent of U.S. involvement in multilateral military interventions for humanitarian goals. Obama reportedly praised Power’s book on the Rwanda genocide, but then he observed that it “seemed like malpractice to judge one’s prospects by one’s intentions, rather than making a strenuous effort to anticipate and weigh potential consequences.”
Obama was right, but he didn’t heed his own insights. Not only did he choose Power for a series of high-level policy posts when he became president, culminating in her appointment as ambassador to the United Nations, but he launched several disruptive, catastrophic interventions, most notably in Libya and Syria. The unintended negative results of those crusades continue to reverberate nearly a decade after the initial U.S. actions.
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Related (From Ed): Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, The ‘Pharaoh’ Toppled By The Arab Spring, Dies At 91.
Curiously, CTL-F “Obama” in Reuters’ obit above brings up zero results. But as John Schindler wrote in 2016, “When his regime was collapsing in 2011, Hosni Mubarak, who had led Egypt for three decades as a loyal ally of America, was coldly abandoned by the White House. President Obama, against the advice of his own national security experts, cut Mubarak loose to the mob, refusing to take his panicked phone calls pleading for help.”