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America’s Interests in Libya

10:38 AM, Mar 14, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton writes in the Daily that “President Obama’s indecisiveness has unquestionably limited American options, making almost any potential intervention riskier and less likely to succeed.”

Bolton goes on to list at least the top three U.S. interests in Libya:

First, Gadhafi has never faced his richly deserved retribution for numerous acts of terrorism against innocent Americans, including blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 and bombing the La Belle discotheque in Berlin in 1986….

Second, either a Gadhafi victory or a protracted, low-grade civil war, both of which are entirely possible outcomes, could again make Libya a base for terrorism. Gadhafi’s own history on this score leaves little doubt he would revert to the terrorist tactics he knows so well….

Third, in any scenario in which Gadhafi prevails, there is every prospect that he will restart and vigorously pursue his WMD programs.

Bolton, though, does not think the U.S. can’t do anything – even if it isn’t, and even if inaction is making “steps America can take to protect our key strategic interests … increasingly limited.” Instead, he suggests “a no-fly zone (now belatedly endorsed by the Arab League) and possibly a no-drive zone for Gadhafi’s military vehicles, plus recognizing Libya’s opposition as its legitimate government.”

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