William Keylor comments on allies and Libya

March 24th, 2011

Boston University international relations professor William Keylor, author of “A World of Nations: The International Order Since 1945,” offers the following historical perspective on the allied efforts in Libya:

“The Hobson’s choice Obama faces seems to be a simple one. Either run the operation unilaterally, and incur the resentment of Arab countries and the strong disapproval of many NATO allies, or try to preserve the broad coalition he has assembled which includes several Arab nations, in the face of divergent objectives pursued by its member states.

“Coalition warfare is always exceedingly difficult to manage, as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin learned in World War II. But the alternative is a reversion to a U.S.-dominated unilateral operation as occurred in response to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo in the 1990s. The decision he makes is bound to have many unforseen consequences for the region.”

Contact William Keylor, 617-358-0197, wrkeylor@bu.edu

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