Streetwise Professor

March 11, 2011

The Obama Sanction

Filed under: Military,Politics — The Professor @ 10:35 pm

I read this headline–“US ‘Tightening the Noose’ on Khaddafy, Obama Says”–and I wondered: Are the rebels advancing?  I thought I just read that Khaddafy’s forces were advancing, so that can’t be it.  Are the Marines returning to the Shores of Tripoli, 206 years after their previous visit?  I knew that wasn’t happening.  So just how is the noose tightening, exactly?

So I read further.  The “noose” is–wait for it–sanctions.  Really:

“Across the board we are slowly tightening the noose on Khadafy,” Obama told reporters at a White House press conference Friday. “He is more and more isolated internationally both through sanctions as well as an arms embargo.”

Because, of course, sanctions have a proven track record of causing murderous, lunatic, dictators fighting for survival to stop in their tracks, quaking in fear.


How many years were sanctions in place against Saddam?  How many against the mullahs in Iraq?  North Korea?  Sudan?  Please, don’t insult us all–and especially, don’t insult those fighting against Khadafy–with high sounding but empty phrases about “the international community” and quack nostrums like sanctions–the last refuge of the policy coward.  If you’re going to do something, do something.  Otherwise, STHU.

There’s more:

Obama stressed that the US and its allies were moving with unprecedented determination to isolate the Libyan leader and invoked the massacres in Rwanda and the Balkans, saying that the international community has an obligation to prevent a “repeat” of those tragedies in Libya.

Obama said the ultimate goal is for Khadafy to step down.

As usual, the gap between words and deeds is vast.  Yammering about sanctions gives the impression of doing something, while actually doing absolutely nothing; that’s actually worse than saying nothing at all, because it would actually take some courage to say that he doesn’t believe that what could be gained by an intervention that could actually achieve something is worth the cost and risk to the US.  That would be cold, but it would have the virtue of honesty.

I’m not saying the choices are easy; it will take military force to stop Khadafy, and the amount of force and the consequences of its use are very difficult to predict.  What and who follows Khadafy are unlikely to be any prizes.  So the case for military involvement is hardly clear-cut.

But I can say with near metaphysical certainty that sanctions will have no effect whatsoever, and that even to suggest that they would have the slightest possibility of forcing Khadafy’s ouster, or preventing a bloodbath is either a lie or a delusion, and a mockery of the people who will be on the receiving end of Khadafy’s wrath.  This is just more moral preening intended to disguise a complete abdication of leadership.  It would be leadership to send in the Marines.  It would be leadership to say, frankly, it’s not in America’s interest.  It’s the inversion of leadership to pretend you’re taking strong action when you are in fact doing nothing that will have the slightest impact.

I’ll bet Khadafy and his thuggish sons are having a great big laugh right now.  “Sanctions!  Stop it Barry, you’re killing me!  No, actually, we’re doing the killing here–but still, you’re a riot, kid!  Keep it up!”

Outside of the Khadafy compound, though, it’s not funny.  It’s sad and pathetic.

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  1. After weeks of heavy fighting, where are all the bodies? I know they like to bury their dead quick (hot climate and all), but they are not squeamish about parading their dead either. I’m sure they have enough cell phones with cameras.

    Comment by So? — March 12, 2011 @ 1:07 am

  2. I agree. There is way too much oil in Lybia for USA not to invade it now. If instead of this Kenyan Muslim commie Obama, our country were ruled by a Republican, the American troops would already be in Lybia, turning it into another prosperous democracy like Iraq!

    Are the Marines returning to the Shores of Tripoli, 206 years after their previous visit?

    Tom Lehrer put it best 45 or 50 years ago, and it is as true today as it was then:

    Fortunately in times of crisis just like this America always has this
    number one instrument of diplomacy to fall back on. Here’s a song
    about it:

    When someone makes a move
    Of which we don’t approve,
    Who is it that always intervenes?
    U.N. and O.A.S.,
    They have their place, I guess,
    But first — send the Marines!

    We’ll send them all we’ve got,
    John Wayne and Randolph Scott.
    Remember those exciting fighting scenes?
    To the shores of Tripoli
    But not too mississippily —
    What do we do? We send the Marines!

    For might makes right!
    Until they’ve seen the light,
    They’ve got to be protected,
    All their rights respected,
    ‘Till somebody we like can be elected.

    Members of the corps
    All hate the thought of war.
    We’d rather kill them off by peaceful means!
    Stop calling it aggression.
    Oooh we hate that expression!

    We only want the world to know
    That we support the status quo.
    They love us everywhere we go.
    So when in doubt —
    Send the Marines!

    Comment by Ostap Bender — March 12, 2011 @ 2:51 am

  3. Well Gostapo, please explain why the US does not occupy Canada and Mexico, its two biggest suppliers of oil? Which also happen to be right next door, and in the case of Canada, an easy mark for takeover.

    On the subject of invading places or sparking separatist movements in order to control oil and gas, maybe that is the reason for Russia supporting separatist movements in places like the Georgian region of Abkhazia?

    Abkhazia has sufficient resources for successful economic development, President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh announced at a press conference in Sukhum Sep 2, 2008. He said that Abkhazia is rich with natural resources and fossil minerals — ”we have oil and gas.” Bagapsh noticed that up to 10 billion rubles is going to be invested in developing the country’s economy in the coming two or three years. Besides, he informed, foreign investments is going to be welcomed.

    Comment by Andrew — March 13, 2011 @ 4:29 am

  4. “Well Gostapo, please explain why the US does not occupy Canada and Mexico, its two biggest suppliers of oil? Which also happen to be right next door, and in the case of Canada, an easy mark for takeover”

    The first was done, and we got the parts we wanted.

    The second has been tried. Didn’t go too well.

    Comment by rkka — March 13, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  5. Reverse that…

    Comment by rkka — March 13, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  6. @ RKKA:

    Don’t feed the troll. If you try to engage in civil discussions with Antdrek, you will get nothing but infantile abuse from him. Just ignore him. View it this way: the biggest victim of his trolling is SWP, whose blog he is littering. If SWP doesn’t mind him – then we should ignore him too.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — March 13, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  7. Now Gostapo, surely a even kapo such as yourself can agree that it does look suspiciously like Russia supported Abkhazia simply to get control of its oil, and to deny said oil to it’s legitimate owners, the Georgian state.

    Once again, you are unable to argue the facts, though we should be used to it by now.

    How many factual spankings, to quote SWP, do you have to receive before you study some history?

    And RKKA, you are talking about the 18th/early 19th century there, and Gostapo was referring to the 20th. Sure the British & Canadians fought of a series of attempted US invasions in revolutionary war and the 19th century, but they sure as hell could not do it now.

    So if the US was really invading countries for their oil, those two would be the first to go.

    Comment by Andrew — March 14, 2011 @ 12:11 am

  8. Here are a couple courtesy of Robert over on LR for you Gostapo:

    Foreign military intervention in Libya is inadmissible in any form, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Thousands of people have been killed in Libya since the first protesters began demanding the end of Gaddafi’s 42-year rule in mid-February.


    At the same time, “Russia’s Envoy to NATO”, Dmitry Rogozin publicily admits the invasion of Georgia was “of course” a “war crime” and an “illegal intervention”.

    RT: Would unilateral invasion by NATO be a war crime?
    DR: Of course. Any invasion would, be it an initiative of NATO as a whole, or of any NATO member state. If an action is not authorized by the UN, it is an illegal intervention.

    Well, well, well, where was the Russians authorisation from the UN to invade Georgia and interfere in its internal matters?

    Russian actions were illegal, resulted in massive war crimes being committed by Russia and its sock-puppet separatist parties in the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and as we now hear, even the Russian ambassador to NATO admits, were a war crime.

    Comment by Andrew — March 14, 2011 @ 8:11 am

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