Sarah Palin on Libya

Premature Celebration?

Thursday evening, Sarah Palin published a column On the Future of Libya that sets forth a foreign policy position that neither retreats to the isolationism of some libertarians, nor advances an interventionist foreign policy favored by so-called “neo-cons” preferred by the establishment wing of the GOP.  Her foreign policy prescription would best be described as fiercely American, seeking to protect the interests of our country, while lending sympathy to people seeking freedom, yet mindful that not all revolutions are created equal.  Palin advises caution, and avoiding a rush to premature notions of victory.

Mrs. Palin embraces a reasonable foreign policy that neither rushes to war, nor shrinks from it when no other rational alternative remains when the US comes under direct threat.  One could presume, were she President, that we would not rush into war on the basis of every half-baked notion of what is in the vital US interests, but to war we would go, nevertheless, but with prudence and only when we could ensure victory.

Palin advises caution with respect to the nature of those who seem poised to rule Libya, wary of people with decidedly questionable motives who have ties to terrorists and radical islamists.

“Second, we must be very concerned about the future government that will emerge to take Gaddafi’s place. History teaches that those with the guns usually prevail when a coalition overthrows a tyrant. We must remember that military power ultimately resides with the rebel commanders. This should be a source of some concern. The armed opposition to Gaddafi is an outgrowth of a group called Islamic Libya Fighting Group, and some rebel commanders admit that they have Al Qaeda links. The rebel fighters are from different tribes, and they have a variety of political views. Some are Islamists, some appear to favor some sort of western democracy. We should work through diplomatic means to help those who want democracy to come out on top.”

One thing that can be gathered from this is that she’s studied the players and is quite familiar with the problems inherent in the entire intervention by NATO in Libya.  This means she’s taking foreign policy seriously, despite the tendency of some to focus almost entirely on domestic economic issues.  This makes her position as a potential candidate all the more viable, signaling a well-rounded grasp of issues that is critical to leading a country long considered the world’s leading light, until recently.  Palin also mentions the idea of “nation-building” that has been a general failure for the last half century.  She argues that US troops should never be used in Libya for these purposes:

“That said, we should not commit U.S. troops or military assets to serve as peacekeepers or perform humanitarian missions or nation-building in Libya. Our military is already over-committed and strained, and a vaguely designed mission can be the first step toward a quagmire. The internal situation does not seem stable enough for U.S. forces to operate in a purely humanitarian manner without the possibility of coming under attack. Troop deployment to Libya would mean placing America’s finest in a potentially hostile zone that is not in our vital national security interest.”

This statement is certain to be popular among our country’s reluctant warriors, who will dutifully follow orders, but do not volunteer to serve with a mind to being used for frivolous, or otherwise purely political ends.  For troops who’ve been stretched too far, this promises some relief in the form of a Palin presidency.  It clearly figures into her thinking that American sons’ and daughters’ lives should not be risked for so little.

Clearly, Palin sees a potential quagmire in Libya, and it’s this discernment that separates her foreign policy agenda from those on the interventionist edge who seem willing to engage almost anywhere, or those on the libertarian side who wouldn’t engage in any place until the US comes under direct attack at home.  Either extreme position is unsuitable for a country such as ours, that has trade interests around the world, citizens working in virtually every nation on the globe, and is usually relied upon to lead the world.  If we wish to be the leading light for freedom, we ought to take care to lead.  It’s clear that Governor Palin realizes this, but also refuses to be led or pushed into battles where the security interests of  the United States are not really at risk.

Barack Obama’s approach has been to turn over leadership to European powers in the Libyan engagement, but I think it’s perfectly clear that we should take Palin’s wise counsel to heart, and withdraw from the operation and avoid becoming embroiled in some sort of occupying or peace-keeping force.  This is the policy statement of a politician prepared to lead from the front, and that’s something our fighting men and women around the world most assuredly deserve.

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One Response to Sarah Palin on Libya

  1. PalinSupporter2012 says:

    Governor Palin speaks about proper use of Armed Forces
    http://sarahpac.com/posts/tribute-to-the-troops-w