James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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The World Next Week: Peacekeepers for Libya?

by James M. Lindsay
August 25, 2011

The United Nations Security Council meets at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on July 13, 2011.

The United Nations Security Council meets at the UN Headquarters in New York on July 13, 2011. (Mike Segar/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I talked about the UN Security Council’s discussions of operations in Libya; how Republican presidential hopefuls are reacting to the news from Tripoli; and the likely resignation of Japan’s prime minister.

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The highlights:

  • The UN Security Council meets to discuss Libya as talks pick up about a possible peacekeeping force. That raises a series of critical but sensitive questions: Whose auspices would the force operate under? Which countries would contribute forces? Would the peacekeepers be military troops or police trained in restoring order? What rules of engagement would they operate under? How long would they stay? And the list goes on.
  • GOP presidential candidates are long on praise for the Libyans for overthrowing Colonel Qaddafi and short on praise for President Obama for helping make it happen. Michele Bachmann hopes that U.S. military involvement in Libya can now end, Rick Santorum thinks that the Libyan people won their freedom in spite of and not because of Obama’s policies, and Mitt Romney and Rick Perry look to be leaving open their options should post-Qaddafi Libya turn sour.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is facing serious internal pressure to resign, something that he pledged to do back in June. Whoever succeeds Kan in office will have to deal with the continuing consequences of the March earthquake and tsunami as well as with Japan’s deep budget problems. These problems are likely to keep the Japanese government focused inward rather than looking out to shape a new East Asian security architecture as some hope.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is 223 percent. Mine is Mustafa Abdul Jalil. Listen to the podcast to find out why.

The Telegraph discusses the Libyan rebels’ seizure of Qaddafi’s Tripoli compound, and the New York Times reports on Qaddafi’s continued defiance. The Washington Post’s “The Fix” rounds up the responses of Republican presidential hopefuls to the fall of Tripoli, but Politico points out that most of the candidates have responded by a move known as the “duck, cover.” The New York Times says that Prime Minister Kan is likely to resign by the end of August, while the Washington Post reports that Moody’s Investors Service has cut Japan’s bond rating to Aa3.

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