NATO Mission Creep Underway

NATO Mission Creep

From James Joyner, the New Atlanticist:  A month to the day of my post Libya Mission Creep Inevitable, the creeping began in earnest with the announcement that the Brits and French will send in advisors to the Libyan rebels. Today, the Italians are following suit. One can almost hear the pitter-patter of American boots in the distance. …

My preferred alternative–not intervening in the Libyan civil war to begin with–has been foreclosed. That leaves three obvious options: 1) Continue the strategy of Hope and Pray, 2) declare the humanitarian crisis at the center of Resolution 1973 averted and wind down, or 3) adjust NATO tactics to coincide with the political strategy.

Of those, the second is not a real option. Having staked so much political capital on Gaddafi’s ouster, there is no "declare victory and go home" exit strategy here. Sarkozy has staked his re-election on it and, to some extent, so has Obama.

And, as Cordesman makes clear, there’s zero reason to continue hoping that Gaddafi’s ouster is going to happen organically. The rebels lack the will and means and the glimmers of political isolation we saw a couple weeks back with the fleeing of Gaddafi senior advisors have since faded.

So, the question now is whether to allow the mission to continue to slowly creep–likely at great humanitarian cost for which the interveners have assumed responsibility–or get on with it. My fear is that that former is far more likely.  (photo: Reuters)

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