Welcome again to O-pinion, the Observer's new place for argument.
I'm Kevin Siers, the Observer’s editorial cartoonist, and I, along with the rest of the editorial board, will be bringing you a round-up of opinion from around the country and region.
“But let’s not miss the obvious truth. What Italy, France, Great Britain, and our own country are interested in fundamentally is Libyan oil. The ex-imperial powers are clearly hoping for a humane and representative polity that will be more open to market trade than the vagaries of authoritarianism and pan-Arabism.
“Which is why Libya was the easiest of interventions. In the end, Qaddafi was just an armed screwball with gunmen. Okay, a very well-armed screwball.”
Don’t expect such quick action in Syria, he says, where the stakes are higher and deeper.
Another reason things won’t change in Syria, writes Mark Steyn at the National Review, is that America is very good at getting rid of her allies, but not her enemies.
“Bernard Lewis said a few years ago that, in the Middle East, America risks teaching the lesson that she is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend. So far the score in the Arab Spring is pretty consistent: On the CIA rule, Gaddafi, Ben Ali and Mubarak were SOBs but perceived, to one degree or another, as the west’s SOBs. Baby Assad wasn’t our SOB, and he’s still in business, and getting aid and comfort from a supposed US client regime in Iraq. And the two most assiduous ideological exporters, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have vastly increased their influence. So has the Muslim Brotherhood.”Other analysts are evaluating Obama’s efforts in the region and finding his approach contrasts with that of Bush. David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy says that the success of the Obama Doctrine in this case vindicates the phrase “leading from behind.” The Washington Post points out that technocratic approach may work well in foreign policy, it doesn’t seem to help with domestic issues.