News / Africa

    Can NATO Sustain Future Operations like Libya?

    An F-16 jet fighter bound for Libya takes off from a NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy, March 20, 2011. (file photo)
    An F-16 jet fighter bound for Libya takes off from a NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy, March 20, 2011. (file photo)

    Anti-Gadhafi forces now control most of Libya, thanks to help from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Some question, though, whether  the Western alliance can sustain similar operations in the future.

    For six months, NATO warplanes have been attacking forces loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Analysts say the alliance in essence became the air force of the anti-Gadhafi fighters who, at the outset of the war, were on the verge of defeat but now control most of Libya.

    Paul Rogers, professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University in Britain, said he is not surprised at the length of the war.

    “If anything is a surprise, it is the speed with which it has suddenly come to an end. There have been pretty clear signals in the last four to six weeks that the regime has become more and more isolated and really coming toward the end," he said. "But I would have to say that by the end of the first two or three weeks of the war, I’d expected it to last right through the summer and maybe right through into Christmas. So in that respect, I, like some other analysts, were wrong.”

    Many analysts are asking once this NATO mission is completed, can the Western alliance sustain similar operations in the future?

    Charles Ries, a NATO expert and former U.S. ambassador to Greece, said it can.

    “In an environment in which the United States is pulling its forces out of Iraq and moving towards reductions in Afghanistan, which will likely be matched by other NATO member countries, and the wind down of this [Libyan] enterprise in NATO - after a period of refit, maintenance and so forth, NATO should be ready to meet other challenges it might face,” said Ries.

    But Sean Kay, a NATO expert at Ohio Wesleyan University, disagrees.
    “Maybe too much has been expected from NATO and it may well be time to start to think about how to bring it back into a more sort of defensive posture, rather than taking on these out-of-area missions,” he said.

    Kay said in the United States, there is a war weariness. He said for the first time in NATO’s history, the United States has relinquished the operational lead to the Europeans. And that, said Kay, could be the way of the future - if NATO decides to engage in other military ventures.

    “After the Cold War, after World War II, Europe has to be able to take responsibility for at least its own backyard in terms of these kinds of operations," said Kay. "And I think there is going to be more and more pressure on them to figure out ways to better coalesce their defense cooperation, so the United States does not have to be leading it all in these kinds of things because the United States has global responsibilities and just can’t be there for every single crisis like this that happens.”

    But Kay said European members of NATO face major economic problems that will affect defense budgets.

    “America keeps saying Europe has to spend more and has to have more capabilities to do these things - but Europe is in a massive debt crisis, which is the real security threat to that entire region. The entire euro zone is potentially going to unravel. And so here we are, saying they should spend more on defense,” he said.

    Analysts also point out, however, that the U.S. defense budget will be cut in the years ahead, which inevitably also will affect NATO’s capacity to engage in future military operations.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.