Has Obama kept true to his pro-civil liberties stance? Words say yes but his actions tell us a different story.
Although this may be slightly outdated, there is still information that can be useful. Such as narrowing down exactly what the founding fathers meant when in the Constitution they wrote “to declare war,” which has been quite a spark of controversy.
On March, 19, 2011, President Obama in accordance with the United Nations agreed to a No-Fly Zone over Libya. This was in response to recent uprising throughout Libya. In a formal debate, it is only correct to have the affirmative arguments presented first. Then a rebuttal (rather than trying to prove a negative). What I propose to do, is first review the arguments for it, then rebuttal them. After that I intend to do is show why it is more harmful than it is in our interests.
According to the president, Qaddafi is a “tyrant who murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world — including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.”. It would be foolish to argue against this particular claim. Qaddafi is known for having very bad human rights policies. However, Mr. Obama begs the question; why Libya? There are plenty of countries who have dictators or violation of human rights. Why aren’t we going in there as well? Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Iran, etc. Are there any underlying reasons why Libya is helped yet they are not?
Another argument put forth by Mr. Obama, is the domino effect argument. The president argues, “We have a huge national interest in making sure that those are successful because if Egypt can make a transition from an autocratic regime to a democracy, if Tunisia can make those same changes, they become models for a peaceful transition that at some point may be adopted by other countries in the region.” Unfortunately, this argument defeats its own purpose. At one point he says Egypt and Tunisia become models for a peaceful transition, yet his own take is a violent one. In a later paragraph, I intend to rebuttal the claim that it is in our national interest. For now, Obama, faces a contradiction.
The final argument we will look at is at the very core of the situation. On March 28, Obama gave a speech defending his reason to go into Libya. A main theme was freedom. However, this belief of intervention from another state helping democratize country is very superficial. A study from NYU concluded, “intervention does very little to promote democracy and often leads to it’s erosion and the substitution of largely symbolic reforms.” It wouldn’t be fair if it were just one study. There are more suggesting the same conclusion.
For the first argument against Libya, without an actual rebuttal, is that Obama never went to Congress about it. Although there is much controversy over who has war powers, the “Commander in Chief” or Congress, the reality is very simple. The U.S. Constitution states that Congress, and only Congress, has the right to declare war. If that’s not enough, Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers and author of the Federalist papers, wrote, “it belongs to Congress only, to go to war.” Now, then the question of what constitutes of going to war (declaring war). This, too, is very plainly stated. Written by an 18th century legal writer, Emerich de Vattel, “when one nation takes up arms against another, she from that moment declares herself an enemy to all individuals of the latter.”
Earlier I had mentioned that the intervention when trying to promote democracy is counterproductive. This is seen by the fact that Tunisia, Egypt, and the continuing unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa. When the United States gets involved in other countries affairs, it typically turns out to what the CIA calls, “blowback”. Blowback is the unintended consequences of covert operations. This term first came to use when the CIA over threw the Shah of Iran in 1953 for a friendlier ally of the United States. It wasn’t until 1981 we’d see blowback” It was the overthrowing of the Shah that was cited as the reason for the Iranian hostage crisis. In fact, Osama bin Laden has cited blowback as a reason he attacked the United States on September 11th.
In closing, we see, not only that there are reasons not to go, but that the reasons that were given, we’re not given much thought. Contrary to what the president says, the core argument of liberating Libya fails, since most studies show that interventions rarely helped. Perhaps next time he will let the country fight their own battle and have a much better government and much more prosperity like the United States in 1776.