CFR Prez Bashes U.S. Policy on Libya

In blistering testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass criticized American and allied policy toward Muammar Gaddafi and said the dictator may remain in power. Allied intervention was based on faulty assertions that a humanitarian crisis was imminent and that Libya could set a precedent elsewhere in the Middle East. What’s more, he said, President Obama’s decision to call for Gaddafi’s removal early on, without the willingness to commit ground troops, undermined the effort to topple him. Given the lack of skill and organization among rebels, Haass said the international community must press for a cease-fire, prepare to commit peacekeeping troops, and accept that Gaddafi may remain in power—at least for now. “The United States cannot do everything everywhere. This consideration would have argued for avoiding military intervention in Libya; now it argues for limiting this intervention in what it seeks to accomplish and what it requires of the United States.” (A Council on Foreign Relations spokesperson says, “Richard Haass’s statement and testimony reflect his personal views and not those of the Council, which as a matter of policy takes no institutional positions.”)