Magazine April 18, 2011, Issue


Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi in Tripoli, March 2011 (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)
Against a ‘responsibility to protect’ in foreign affairs

President Obama’s use of military force in Libya has come under intense criticism across the American political spectrum. There is widespread disagreement over what U.S. objectives should be, and many fault Obama for his initial hesitancy to act, his incoherence in defining our mission, and his ineptness in rallying domestic political support.

The best reason for using force is to secure the removal of Moammar Qaddafi. Even that objective has its complications, not least the question of what kind of regime will succeed him. But Qaddafi’s declared intention and demonstrated capacity to return to international terrorism, and the risk he would

John R. Bolton is a former national-security adviser, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and the author of The Room Where It Happened.

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The Week

The Week

To be fair, Obama is right: Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has to declare kinetic military action.


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