NATO Proves Critics Wrong

Libyans celebating the fall of Tripoli

From Barry Pavel, the New Atlanticist:  The naysayers were proven wrong last night, as the Libyan rebels, much more quickly than even the closest observers predicted, took the Libyan capital from its dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled with an iron fist for over 40 years.  The spark ignited last December by a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire out of frustration with the oppression of his daily life toppled another dictator in the Middle East. . . .

[T]he NATO Alliance has proven itself relevant to advancing US and allied interests in what some have called the Arab Spring, or “Arab Awakening.” The no-fly zone worked, and NATO did its job of protecting civilians from being massacred by Gaddafi’s thugs. As many of us who have observed this operation also anticipated, NATO may have gone beyond its UN mandate in providing effective close air support for Libyan rebel forces. But these efforts paid off. Thus, all of those who said that NATO is irrelevant, and is nothing but a drain on American and European taxpayers, were wrong.

Barry Pavel is director of the International Security Program and director-designate and Arnold Kanter Chair of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council. Photo credit: Getty Images.

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