Ginsberg sees need for “European and Arab boots on the ground to back up” the rebels in Libya

Rebel fighters west of Misrata, June 13, 2011.

From Marc Ginsberg, the Huffington Post:  I have long argued that Gaddafi and his fate is a foolish strategic distraction for the U.S. and that we have no business risking American lives or treasure in Libya since the future of Gaddafi’s regime is largely a European and Arab world matter.

But now that the very reputation of NATO’s military acuity is on the line, not least because of a lack of a clear strategy, well-defined goals, intractable European divisions, and American hesitation, NATO faces a growing crisis of confidence. These divisions do not augur well for NATO’s future, and they surely will have far more consequences than Gadaffi’s longevity if the spectacle of disunity becomes the hallmark of the Libyan campaign .

And yet, the U.S. — the most important anchor tenant in the alliance — has developed a remarkable lack of enthusiasm to find a better strategy to shelter NATO from the public spectacle of Gaddafi defiantly playing chess to adoring television cameras. American reproaches to European NATO fence-squatters for failing to ante up are not going to preserve the Alliance’s integrity.

President Obama recently tried to convince German Chancellor Merkel to ante up…but she balked.

No one would have predicted that NATO’s own status as a unified alliance lies in the balance because of the half-hearted American and European commitments. The operational inadequacy over Libya’s skies highlights the limits of NATO’s military capacity when the Yanks are in the bleachers. . . .

If no negotiation will yield a settlement and the impasse continues, a new, more capable "coalition of the willing" will have to be reconstructed possibly with European and Arab boots on the ground to back up a rebel advance on Tripoli.

Better that than abiding by the rebels’ decaying under Gadaffi’s cunning relentless will to survive and all of the dangers that poses to the rebels, their families, and those who failed to finish the job they were so anxious to start. If Gadaffi is not gone by mid-summer, this may be the only remedy left to fend off an inglorious NATO and UN defeat.

Marc Ginsberg previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Morocco.  (photo: AP)

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