Saturday, March 19, 2011

Machiavelli and Muamar

It looks like Sarkozy is actively starting the no fly zone
over Libya. I think it's too late and the USA will lose credibility
and create another enemy, from yahoo:

After weeks of hesitation and divisions among his advisers, President Barack Obama on Friday endorsed military action against Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, saying U.S. values and credibility are at stake to stop "the potential for mass murder" of innocents.

I hope it's not, but I think it's too late to help the rebels,
and without going all the way for regime change we'll have pissed
off a guy with a lot of oil income and an army, we'll be looking
at blowback for the next 20 years. As Machiavelli said:

"Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge."

If they had done something a few weeks ago, it would have been
like Afganistan in 2001, just a few cia guys with laser designators
and a few planes with LGB's. Muamar's forces are mostly mercenaries,
just a few magic bombs that kill large groups with unerring accuracy
and they would have headed back home without waiting for paychecks.
That's really the only hope here, (it would have been much easier
back on the coast road though) as Machiavelli said:

mercenaries are disunited and without discipline; bold among friends, yet cowardly among enemies; they have no fear of God, and keep no faith with men. In a word, they are unreliable. If a nation, against his advice, relies on mercenaries for its protection, it keeps its ruin at bay only so long as it can postpone an attack.

(I couldn't find the exact quote, my copy of the prince is still in
a box amongst 25 other boxes of books. I really admire Machiavelli,
when I toured the Palazzo Vecchio I was very interested to see his
office. The Prince is biting satire, but still mostly good advice
if you want to be evil)

It really annoys me that no one in this super intelligent administration
read the prince, or read the history of the africa corps in WW2.
The coast road is the key, the rest of the country is desert. All
of the battles were at one end of the road or the other, in the
middle they were chases supported by air support. It would have been
easier to redeem the full faith and credit of the USA if things were
done two weeks ago.

If I were king, I'd go all out now and shut down the Libyan air force
now and land the marines behind the mercenaries south of bengazi. I
would bet they'd fold up their tents and go home without us having to
retake a city by force.

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