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mollysmithee's avatar

Why is the United States barely responding to the massacre in Libya?

Asked by mollysmithee (154 points ) February 25th, 2011

The death count is more than 1,000. I am at a loss for words…

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12 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

At this point, how should the U.S. respond? This is the response on the international level:

Before the vote, Eileen Donahoe, the U.S. ambassador to U.N. Human Rights Council, said in a statement that Libya has a “responsibility to protect its population.”

“It is failing to do so,” she said. “In fact, it is attacking its population. By convening this session on an urgent basis this week, the international community is sending a strong, unified and clear message that the Libyan government’s violations of human rights are clearly contrary to international norms and must end.”

Going further might require military action – such action is a violation of national sovereignty, and the U.S. already has a bad reputation for acting unilaterally as the international police force.

thorninmud's avatar

One factor may be that there are still (as of yesterday) an estimated 600 US nationals and several thousand dual US/Libyan nationals in Libya. If the US were to take a strongly antagonistic stance toward Gadhafi before they can be evacuated, they would be vulnerable to reprisals by the regime.

holli's avatar

I’m not convinced we always need to get involved.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. And on a similar note as @holli,‘s we simply don’t have the resources to make sure nothing bad happens to anyone in the world.

iamthemob's avatar

See below also:

The Geneva debate comes just days after the U.N. Security Council issued a nonbinding statement condemning Libya’s violent crackdown on Libyan protesters. The United States, Britain, France, Germany and other governments are now in negotiations over a binding Chapter 7 resolution that would condemn Libya’s conduct and consider imposing unspecified sanctions on the regime.

A binding Chapter 7 resolution would enable the international community to enforce sanctions against Libya, and therefore it seems like we’re heading in the right direction.

thorninmud's avatar

Hard to imagine sanctions having any real effect. Gadhafi didn’t seem to mind sanctions much even when he wasn’t facing an existential threat from within. He has cultivated all kinds of connections with other African countries that won’t give a hoot about international sanctions. In his current situation, sanctions are the least of his worries.

iamthemob's avatar

@thorninmud – Too true – but what is the alternative in the end?

wundayatta's avatar

It would be a big mistake for us to get any more involved than we already are. We are witnessing the most radical foreign policy strategy ever—if we manage to keep on doing nothing. It’ll also be the smartest policy—but then, Hillary is awfully smart. And experienced.

In any case, we’ve helped prop up Gaddafi, and if we were to take sides again, that would taint the victory of whoever won. They need to create their own democracy. Big brother should not “help.” In fact, big brother can not help.

If they create their own democracy, we can be hopefully that they do reach out to us as equals, and don’t hold us responsible for Gaddafi. But if we try to help them, they will always be seen as being the US puppet. Not good.

And don’t forget—a lot of people died in our revolution, too. I’m not saying it’s good. I’m saying that it’s worth it.

YoBob's avatar

And just how do you think we should be responding?

If we rush in with the military (or even humanitarian aid, for that matter), then we will be painted (yet again) by the international press as opportunistic imperialistic pigs using the situation as an excuse to involve ourselves in the affairs of that part of the world, no doubt to take over the operations of an important oil producing nation.

Actually, from the standpoint of promoting freedom and democracy, the best thing that can happen is that the people of Libya overthrow the current regime on their own without the assistance (often perceived as “meddling) from the west.

tedd's avatar

We have outright criticized them on a global forum, and that’s about all you’re going to see us do for the time being.

If we went in and toppled Ghadafi ourselves people would blame us should the country fall into some kind of civil war or turmoil.

Our military is FAR too pressed to occupy a third country (even with worldwide help, which we may have in this situation).

The situation is quickly working itself out as it appears the revolutionaries are going to win.

If it prolongs and the atrocities continue, expect to see a no fly zone over Libya, likely enforced by American aircraft. Also further sternly worded dis-approvals and sanctions from the UN are likely.

mattbrowne's avatar

The UN and the US and Europe are responding. Faster than ever before.

No civilized nation can watch massacres and say and do nothing.

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