Finally Choosing Sides, Huh?

This isn't terribly surprising, but it seems that some NATO states have finally made their preferences publicly known.  The UK is sending a small group of military advisors to Libya to…well, advise, and train Libyan rebels.  This is apparently part of a joint British and French operation.  

I don't think it was a secret that most of the states involved in the intervention in Libya wanted Ghadaffi gone—They have said as much.  However, I think most of these states expected that their objective could be achieved under the guise of acting on a UN mandate, whereas the prolonged fighting has now led these states to a point where they must become more directly involved to achieve their desired outcome.  What will be interesting to observe is how far they are willing to go—the rebels have seemed to be on a seesaw over the past few weeks, and their victory (whatever that looks like) is far from guaranteed. 

NATO has already been calling for additional jets, suggesting that their resources are fairly limited (apparently no other NATO partners are willing to pitch in any more).  Although, this may simply be the British and the French wishing for their gradual escalation of involvement in Libya to appear more multilateral than it really is.  Alternatively, it may be that the British and the French, having exposed their enthusiasm for removing Ghadaffi, have sent a signal to their partners regarding their willingness to carry the weight.  Hmm…Some guy wrote about this sort of thing once…  In any event, it seems that there are increasing costs to the British in the French in terms of manpower and material, or, possibly in terms of reputational costs. 

About Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Binghamton University in 2013. His research focuses on the political and economic determinants of foreign economic and security policy, security issues, and state repression.

3 Replies to “Finally Choosing Sides, Huh?”

  1. Ah, mission creep. Who could have seen that coming?
    But I’m sure we’ll draw the line at military advisers. Worked out well in Vietnam.
    I think you’re mostly right about burden sharing within NATO. Germany ain’t getting behind this. Neither are Poland or Turkey. But if the US doesn’t send some advisers of its own, I’ll be pretty surprised.

  2. I, personally, feel blindsided. Although now that we’re essentially at that point, I think sending anywhere from 50 to 500,000 advisors would be an appropriate move. We invest in education domestically, so why not invest in education abroad?

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