When Political and Military Goals Align

Adm. James Stavridis, head of US European Command, said Tuesday the coalition’s military goals in Libya are clear, but he acknowledged that they aren’t necessarily configured to bring about the stated political goal of the Obama Administration and many world leaders in seeing Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi step down from power. “I don’t think the two are directly linked, but they may connect over time,” Stavridis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The coalition’s military operations are concentrated on protecting Libyan civilians from violent attack by Qaddafi forces. Even with the present disconnect, Stavridis said the military activities may indeed end up laying the groundwork for Qaddafi’s ouster. “[B]y our participation in protecting the people of Libya, we create a safe and secure environment in which the people of Libya can make a determination, and . . . have the ability to undertake the kind of effort that would, in effect, create regime change, as we’ve seen in other nations in the Middle East.” That is particularly the case if the coalition applies additional elements of statecraft such as a “financial squeeze” and travel restrictions, he said. (Stavridis written testimony; caution, exceedlingly large file)