At Juan Cole’s joint, the good professor details what the Libya No-Fly Zone has accomplished in just a few days. He concludes:
Pundits who want this whole thing to be over with in 7 days are being frankly silly. Those who worry about it going on forever are being unrealistic. Those who forget or cannot see the humanitarian achievements already accomplished are being willfully blind.
The skeptical and “blind” response to the intervention is completely understandable.
On the broad left, real action on behalf of real people by the real existing forces that are really available leads to a split between the ideologues and everyone else. Members of the latter group tend to be uncertain by nature, and have had years to fall into a complacent oppositionism regarding any use of military force involving the West. We are generally unprepared, especially after the setting-in of opinion against the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures, to accept the idea of an international community that’s capable of backing up its commitments and ideals on behalf of popular sovereignty. It must be a trick!
It may take a while for liberal interventionism to find a voice – thus our quiet president – even though it has remained the American consensus position for around 70 years now. On the left, it’s been easier to let anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism, pacifism, isolationism (transplanted from the right), and other stances hold the floor. When tested, they tend to turn out to be as self-marginalizing as they are passionately held.