Monday, March 21, 2011

Podcast interview re a Libya no fly zone w/ Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom (USAF, Ret.) @ Electric Politics

Dear Michael,

This one is almost overtaken by events -- namely, the vote by the UN Security Council Thursday evening to approve military actions against Libya. Except, buried in its dense diplomat-ese, the Security Council Resolution sets limits. I've rarely, indeed, seen a more confused Western response to an international crisis. And, I must say, I find it inexplicable that Western governments show zero awareness of the fundamental contradiction between supporting on the one hand "peaceful demonstrations" in favor of democracy and, on the other, military actions to back up not-so-peaceful demonstrations that haven't worked out well for the opposition. The idea of "protecting" civilians who are brandishing Kalashnikovs makes no sense to me. Indeed, my hunch is that by taking drastic steps with regard to Libya the West will set back by decades the prospect for true democracy in the region.

My own views aside, I wanted to hear from someone who knows about no fly zones. Here, my guest is Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom (USAF, Ret.), a veteran combat pilot, former Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado and, currently, the Director of the National Security Program at Harvard's Kennedy School. Also, formerly, for a time, in command of the southern no fly zone in Iraq. Before talking with the General I had absolutely no idea what his views might be; I was pleased, then, to find that we see things very much in the same way.

Even if you favor a no fly zone I hope you'll pay some attention to the General's perspective.

Thanks for listening and, as always, if you like the podcast please feel free to redistribute the link.



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