Free Markets, Free People
You probably remember it – it was to have a coalition of UN members establish a no-fly zone to keep the Libyan government under Gadhafi from using aircraft to kill civilians. Right? Then it was to hit tanks and artillery that were being used to kill (or endanger) civilians.
And what did Gadhafi’s forces do? Adapted. Made it much more difficult to do by using similar vehicles as the rebels and by moving into the urban areas.
So, now where are we? Well, NATO’s having a bit of a problem. In fact, NATO has discovered what any good infantryman could have told them:
NATO Brig. Gen. Mark van Uhm said his forces have destroyed more than 40 tanks and several armored personnel carriers in Misrata. However, there’s always concern of inadvertently harming civilians in such airstrikes, he said.
"There is a limit to what can be achieved by airpower to stop fighting in a city," said van Uhm.
Ya think? I have to wonder what they expected Gadhafi’s forces to do.
So, what’s a defensive alliance chartered to come to each others defense in case another members is attacked to do? Oh, here’s a good idea:
“We need a force from NATO or the United Nations on the ground now,” committee member Nouri Abdullah Abdulati told reporters Tuesday.
Abdulati said that the Judicial Committee’s signed request had been sent to the Transitional National Council in Benghazi, the de facto capital of the opposition-controlled east, but that no reply had been received. The council, the only link between Misurata and NATO commanders, has said that it does not want foreign troops in Libya.
“We did not accept any foreign soldiers on our land. But that was before we faced the crimes of Gaddafi,” Abdulati said Tuesday. “We are asking on the basis of humanitarian and Islamic principles for someone to come and stop the killing. The whole Arab world is calling for the intervention of the West for the first time in history.”
What a deal. But here’s my question – where’s the Arab League? Surely they could send in soldiers. In the past they were able to whip up any number of Arab forces to attack Israel. What, do “rebel” Libyans fear them more than the West? Is this a case where the West is actually the lesser of two evils?
Of course now, if the West and NATO don’t respond it will be because the West chose to desert these people and let them die. And if they do help, it will only be a matter of time before the same people demanding their presence to save their bacon are demanding the infidel soldiers quit their country post haste.
In the meantime, the UK is actually considering sending in troops to escort humanitarian relief convoys to Misurata. What happens when Gadhafi forces pop one of them?
Yeah, this is looking much like a “days not weeks” campaign.
Oh, one other little quote that caught my eye:
Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of NATO’s military committee, said that even though the military alliance’s operations have done "quite significant damage" to the Libyan regime’s heavy weaponry, what Gadhafi has left is "still considerable."
Asked if more airpower is needed, Di Paola said any "significantly additional" allied contribution would be welcome.
Any question as to what ally Di Paola is referring?
I guess today is a bit of GOP potential candidate day. And the good news is:
Newt Gingrich raised a meager $53,000 into his political action committee in the first three months of the year, highlighting potential fundraising difficulties as the former House Speaker girds for a campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.
Not going to happen. And thankfully so. Not that I don’t think Gingrich is a good idea man – and that’s where his contribution should come from – but he’d be a sure loser presidential candidate. The man has more baggage than Delta Airlines. And within “family values” circles he’s a non-starter, or should be.
Most importantly, he simply hasn’t got what it takes to attract independent voters and he’d be a lightening rod in a presidential campaign taking much of the attention off of Obama, which, by the way, I think the Obama campaign would welcome for a change. Remember Obama has to run on an actual record this time – and it ain’t so hot.
Gingrich has a very powerful Political Action Committee, American Solutions, which is rolling in dough and gets huge contributions (back to that “ideas man” point I was making above). But that’s quite different than a presidential campaign fund:
But his presidential campaign would not be able to accept such large contributions and would instead be restricted to limited hard money donations of $2,500 per individual — half as much as the $5,000-per-individual maximum contributions that can be accepted each year by his leadership political action committee, American Solutions PAC.
The PAC brought in about $34,000 in March, according to a report filed Tuesday night with the FEC, bringing its total haul for the year to $53,000, and its total since being created in late 2009 to $790,000. That pales in comparison to the $13.7 million raised in 2010 alone by Gingrich’s 527, American Solutions for Winning the Future, which won’t have to report 2011 fundraising figures until July.
Perhaps the best poll of all may be the money poll. I know it is early and he hasn’t really formally put his hat in the ring (he’s doing “exploratory” work at the moment) but what he’s been able to take in thus far is not awe inspiring.
We may revisit this later, but at the moment, the money poll doesn’t look too promising for Newt Gingrich.
I was going to append “as a candidate”, then “as President”, etc. But I realized that “as a candidate” he’d never reach the presidency . His mouth would never give him the opportunity. And should he somehow (hey, Obama did it) reach the presidency, it would be an unmitigated disaster. The fact that in some polls he is running a “strong second” among GOP supporters says more about the rest of the GOP presidential field than it does about the validity of a Trump candidacy.
Why would he be a disaster? Because, for the most part, he’s an ignorant loudmouth who doesn’t think his way through anything. He blurts half formed ideas. Here’s an example where he is talking about OPEC:
Trump: Look at what’s going on with your gasoline prices. They’re going to go to $5, $6, $7 and we don’t have anybody in Washington that calls OPEC and says, "Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore." I don’t know if you saw yesterday, Saudi Arabia came out and said very strongly there’s plenty of oil. "We’re going to cut back." You know what cutting back means? They’re going to drive up the price even further.
Stephanopoulos: So, what would you do to back up that threat?
Trump: Oh, it’s so easy George. It’s so easy. It’s all about the messenger. They wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for us. If it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t be there. These 12 guys sit around a table and they say, "Let’s just screw the United States." And frankly, the rest of the world.
Stephanopoulos: And so finish this sentence. "If you don’t produce more oil…"
Trump: Look. I’m going to look ‘em in the eye and say, "Fellas, you’ve had your fun. Your fun is over."
Wow. That’ll have ‘em shivering in their boots. Of course the fact that we import the vast majority of our oil and still haven’t taken the steps necessary to exploit our own resources is the real reason we’re in that shape and at the mercy of cartels like OPEC. But he doesn’t address that. Instead his idea is to be confrontational and threatening.
I think everyone who reads this blog realizes that there’s plenty of oil and natural gas out there to keep using it as fuel for the foreseeable future. It’s about where it is, not how much there is anymore. And as long as the majority of that oil remains in the control of the OPEC cartel, we can “look ‘em in the eye” till doomsday and it won’t accomplish a thing. Not unless we’re willing to do the unthinkable and take over their oil fields.
Oh? Well that would be perfectly fine with President Trump:
Trump: George, let me explain something to you. We go into Iraq. We have spent thus far, $1.5 trillion. We could have rebuilt half of the United States. $1.5 trillion. And we’re going to then leave. So, in the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.
Stephanopoulos: It would take hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the oil fields.
Trump: Excuse me. No, it wouldn’t at all.
Stephanopoulos: So, we steal an oil field?
Trump: Excuse me. You’re not stealing. Excuse me. You’re not stealing anything. You’re taking– we’re reimbursing ourselves– at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.
We’re going to reimburse ourselves for doing something we chose to do? Hey, would the same thing apply to Libya? And how do we “reimburse” ourselves for Afghanistan – get in the opium trade?
This guy is entertaining as hell, and we all may appreciate and enjoy his willingness to say things out loud a lot of us think about certain issues and situations (like turning to the Ron Paul supporters at CPAC and saying, “you know your guy can’t win). But he’s serious about this nonsense above and you have to understand that and understand what that means. He’s as naïve about foreign affairs as is the present occupant in the White House. The problem with Trump is he’s not only naïve, he’s confrontational by nature. He’s the other side of the same coin as Obama when it comes to foreign affairs and we would find ourselves neck deep in conflict if the guy ever got within sniffing range of the Oval office.