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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid