Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who is leaning heavily on her supposed foreign policy expertise in the 2016 race, continues to assert that the U.S.’s efforts to destabilize Libya represent “smart power at its best.” But it looks like leaders in the UK are more inclined to agree with President Barack Obama’s “sh*t show” assessment.
“I think President Obama made the right decision at the time. And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy. Because of the Arab Spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed,” Clinton said during a primary debate last year.
What Clinton didn’t mention is how her State Department aggressively pushed Obama to back the Libyan regime change or how it’s a decision that Obama has come to publically say he regrets.
In fact, everyone besides Clinton seems to be able to see that the careless overthrow of Libya’s government created a power vacuum that has since been filled by violent extremists.
Army Gen. David Rodriguez, who heads U.S. military operations in Africa, told lawmakers earlier this year that it would take “10 years or so” for any measure of stability to return in Libya.
“The continued absence of central government control will continue to perpetuate violence, instability and allow the conditions for violent extremist organizations to flourish until the (government) and appropriate security forces are operational within Libya,” Rodriguez said.
And now, a report out from the UK’s parliament declares that the Clinton-led mission to topple Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is directly responsible for “political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.”
“It may be that the UK Government was unable to analyse the nature of the rebellion in Libya due to incomplete intelligence and insufficient institutional insight and that it was caught up in events as they developed,” the UK report says. “It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.”
In other words, the Americans said Gaddafi was going to hurt his people so the world responded. But the so-called humanitarian efforts have led to more pain for Libyans than Gaddafi could have ever managed to inflict.
Smart power, folks.
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