We can hope we have not lost the possibility of an America-friendly Libya, but we will have to change our policy to keep the hope alive. Libya has a long coastline on the central Mediterranean Sea – a chokepoint whose vulnerabilities we have not had to think about much since World War II. The last time we did, in the late 1980s, Muammar Qadhafi was firing missiles at Sicily and challenging US and NATO forces with fighter jets.
The Libyan coast is a few hours’ ferry ride from Italy. It takes a bit longer to get to France or Greece. Typical intermediate-range missiles launched from Libya could reach most of Europe; small aircraft or speedboats from anywhere along the Libyan coast could wreak havoc with international shipping. Libya’s geography makes her politics significant. If the nation is not unified and effectively controlled by a central government with moderate tendencies and aspirations, Libya can quickly become a real regional headache.
If the terrorists at work in Libya were more wary of U.S. power, they would at least be more circumspect. But they are losing their wariness. They won’t stop pushing. Either we change our policy – and ideally, our president – or this keeps getting worse.
Visit J.E. Dyer’s blog, the Optimistic Conservative.