In recent years, Libya has been an ally in North Africa, forsaking its nuclear program and partnering with us to defeat al-Qaeda. However, the bonds between allies can be broken when one nation’s actions are antithetical to the principles and ideals of the other. Libya’s unjustifiably violent acts against its citizens have reached that point. The U.S. can no longer stand idly by and watch the turmoil in Libya.
America’s options are poor and limited, but we should not pass on the opportunity to display principled leadership.
First, America must take the lead by forcefully expressing support for American values. It is vital that the U.S. lead in promoting freedom, equality, and opportunity.
Second, the U.S. should support severe economic sanctions. American leadership must take a principled approach; the U.S. must not publicly condemn the attacks against Libyan citizens yet indirectly finance the war by continuing to trade with Libya.
Finally, establishing and enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya is an appropriate and measured response to its use of military aircraft against its citizens. America should not undertake this operation alone. The administration should emphasize that it will participate in this endeavor only with the full support and commitment of the international community.
— Pete Hoekstra is former congressman from Michigan.