U.S. Foreign Policy

From the time it took the mantle from the Soviet Union as the World’s Super Power, the U.S. has intervened in almost every international and domestic conflict in other countries. From the 1890s operations in Chile, Argentina and Haiti, to the most recent interventions in Iraqi and Libya, the U.S. has strived to promote democracy and protect basic human rights. More often than otherwise, the U.S. military’s interventions in other countries result from domestic conflicts and civil wars, which endanger the lives of civilians. They could also degenerate into the breakdown of social order, resulting in lawlessness and crime, as witnessed in Somalia. In this regard, the U.S. intervenes to ensure that such situations do not arise. The latest U.S. intervention is in the deployment of her military in Libya, to counter the Libyan government’s attacks on civilians. Together with France and the U.K, the U.S. imposed a No Flying Zone to prevent Gaddaffi’s aerial assault on unarmed citizens. In relation to the U.S.’s foreign policy, this paper discusses the reasons for the use of the American military in Libya by President Obama’s administration.

After forty years of oppressive, dictatorial rule of Muamar Gadhaffi, Libyan citizens found it hard to swallow all the miserable, deteriorating, humanitarian conditions facing them under this tyrant.  Despite the fact that Libya has large potential in oil production, the revenue generated from oil exports has never boosted the poor living conditions of the civilians, with malnutrition becoming a common health problem among the citizens. Throughout Gaddafi’s regime citizens lived in fear due to the absence of the fundamental freedoms and rights of the civilians. These rights were buried by Gadhaffi’s oppressive rule, which involved the control of the economy and abuse of human rights including.


Consequently, the quest for democracy by Libyan, as witnessed in other Arab countries such as Tunisia, Libya and Syria, sparked off a nationwide riot demanding aimed at breaking the chains of tyranny. However, the Libyan government responded with force and brutality, attacking helpless civilians with airstrikes and live bullets. The agony, mistreatment and slaughter of innocent lives by the Libyan forces through the air, hanging of people and the needy humanitarian crisis, made the United States of America, in cooperation with her NATO allies, to come into the aid of the Libyan people. In this regard, the U.S foreign policy aims to promote human rights throughout the world, by interfering in situations where the lives of citizens are threatened by their own governments.

The United States of America tends to favor a foreign policy on international aggression in situations where international bodies such as the UN could not assert their authority. In the Libyan case, Gadhafi and his administration was given a chance by the international community to cease its attacks on civilians, but Muamar Gaddafi instead intensified his attacks claiming and in the process killed many civilian lives. When it became worse, president Obama, through the American policy which according to the Foreign Policy Agenda of the U.S Department of  State has a role to “ create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community “(Legro, 2005, p. 7). In addition, there was a global outcry for intervention in Libya, since the Libyan government was deaf to pleas to stop using brutal force on unarmed citizens. As expected of a Superpower, the U.S. responded by launching a military action with the sole aim of protecting noncombatant civilians.

In relation to the Rational Model in international relations, President Obama had other pressing issues which were internal and needed the government’s attention; however, when American lives were at stake as a result of the Libyan crisis, the government evacuated the American Embassy in Libya and offered assistance to any American life in need. Broader sanctions were imposed on Libya alongside threatening to hand over Gaddafi and his government to the United Nations Security Council. He blatantly dismissed calls for a ceasefire, with one of his sons declaring an all-out battle to defend the status quo to the last bullet.  Owing to this, there was the need to reduce the intensity of the attacks on civilians. After Obama’s administration watching all the happenings, it took part in ending the anarchy in Libya by directly involving its military upon the president’s order.

The Rational actor model includes making hard choices while recognizing the state as the primary unit that analyses while the international relations becomes the context of analysis. This means a state makes decisions or choices while minding its allies besides its sovereignty in decision making. A state makes choices taking into account the values maximization in conjunction with the preference ranking. In Rational decision a state takes the following into account; goal setting and ranking, profit maximization, assessment of consequences and consideration of options. In this regard, Libya is also seen as haven for terrorists, and the U.S intervention can be interpreted as aimed at countering terrorism. This is because Gaddafi has been historically connected to terrorist acts around the world (Davis 1990, p. 35). Decision making is not entirely made by the president but he receives advice and consent from the senate. Because Gaddafi’s atrocities to his people endangered the lives of Libyans and many of the American allies and partners, there was need for the American administration to safeguard their interests and the cries of the cry of the innocent civilians in Libya. With the main goal to stop the mass killing of innocent lives and securing the interests of their allies and partners, president Obama led other coalition allies to use military to enforce a no flying zone in Libya besides the heavy sanctions on the Libyan government.

All the options given by the international community to Muammar Gaddafi fell on deaf ears. The use of sanctions and threats to be held accountable for the atrocities committed against humanity never worked. Instead, Muammar Gaddafi launched a series of aerial attacks proclaiming to have no mercy on the civilians. Lives were lost in the battle between the security forces and the citizens who were determined to fight for their freedom form tyranny. The bloodshed intensified paralyzing the normal lives of people in Libya and all those who depended on Libya especially on its oil leading to escalating oil prices in neighboring countries affecting the entire region. This made the international community led by America to lender efforts in trying to prevent the killings. America’s continued efforts to safeguard innocent lives besides insuring the practice of democracy by leaders was landed in Libya to reinforce the coalition allies’ efforts to earn the Libyan citizens their freedom. The no-flying zone enforcement was meant to curtail the aerial attacks by the Libyan security forces. They ensured no flying of military troops by weakening their potentials by attacking the major Libyan military bases. This could hinder aerial attacks on the civilians in hospitals leading to their disappearance and making them not target Benghazi land other major places where aerial attacks targeted.

Likewise in assessing the consequences, attacking the Libyan military bases and paralyzing its ability was not a big deal compared to the atrocities it committed to the civilians. Seeing Gaddafi step down could bring hope of attaining the long awaited democracy in Libya, accountability of the government to the needs of its people with equity including provision of water and electricity to all areas and bringing to an end an Era of dictatorship. Besides this, America leading other coalition allies could have safeguarded civilians from the mass killings opening a new chapter of new hopes of better governance to the Libyans. The American Foreign policy that works to promote good relations with the entire world, could attain one of its goals of protecting lives round the globe as a superpower .Lastly in use of the rational model, profit maximization affect decision making in that, the decision by Obama deploying U.S military forces to enforce no-flying zone in Libya, the positive impact weighed more in that different interests of America’s allies and partners were safeguarded.

As superpower, America has a role to play in ensuring international security and the safeguarding of innocent lives from oppression through the entire globe. Its foreign policy protects the American lives and interests, besides their sovereignty (Bragg, 2005, p. 182). Different American diplomats champion the need for respecting human lives throughout the world and acts in support for the democratic governments. Its respect for the interest for its allies and partners makes it struggle to ensure global security. It takes a lead in fighting tyranny, terrorism ant atrocities against humanity. As a superpower it has a larger economical and p[political influence around the globe hence making economic sanctions to states. Due to this political influence many nations call for their support in cases where leaders commit abuse of power. Political influence among other reasons made president Obama respond to the cries of innocent citizens in Libya who yearned break out from a long time tyranny and corrupt government which slaughtered its own people.

Reasons why president Obama used U.S military to enforce no-flying zone in Libya

The pleas of the Libyan civilians who had been motivated by the fight for democracy in the Arab countries got the attention of the effective coalition powers of NATO and the American government at large. Cording to president Obama, America has a responsibility as a leader to protect the needs of fellow humans at stake. Many lost lives as a result of the series aerial attacks by the Libyan forces, curtailing of humanitarian assistance to the people by Gadhafi’s administration, inability to access essential needs as water and electricity among other problems needed attention. The protestors were strangled and others hanged as Gaddafi swore to slaughter them giving a deaf ear to sanctions and warnings from the international community to cease fire on innocent lives. Obama joined the other coalition allies to use force to succumb the oppressiveness of the government to the citizens who needed change. Respect for human life had become extinct and Gadhafi’s opponents became an endangered species eroding any chance of democracy in Libya as every citizen lived fearing for their lives. The coalition powers got the military, capital ant logistical support by the U.S military and imposed ma No Fly Zone in Libya.

The U.S military’s intervention strengthened the coalition allies’ intention to prevent Gaddafi from defeating those opposing him. He had shown no respect to human lives and swore to slaughter civilians without mercy. Besides the bloodshed, there was the danger of a humanitarian crisis as a result of refugees fleeing from their homes. Refugees strain to provide a decent living for themselves hence resulting to social crimes. An increase in the number of refugees could eventually affect the healing Egypt and Tunisia which fragile in its transition. By preventing Gaddafi from massacring civilians could ensure protection of both innocent lives and the interests of the American allies and partners. This also aimed at forcefully ensuring Gaddafi was out of power to give the Libyans a chance to witness and enjoy a democratic government.

The willingness of the NATO-based coalition to support the U.S military acted as one of the catalyst to enforce a No Fly Zone. With all the anticipated support from its coalition allies, President Obama rose to the task to take a lead to restore sanity in Libya to bring to an end the people’s attacks through the air and stopping the oppressive nature of the government of Libya to its citizens paralyzing what was no longer protecting the civilians but rather killing them. The joined arms performed a series of attacks on the Libyan military bases even eventually attacking Gaddafi’s premises claiming lives of his family members all with the intention of bringing him down with his administration.

President Obama’s administration received a wider support from the Arab world. Libya being an Arab country, widely with open arms asked for the America’s intervention to save lives and help them to realize their freedom by joining them to fight against Muammar Gaddafi.In his response for the call from the Libyan civilians, Obama in his speech to the American people, he says he refused to wait for mass slaughter and graves for him to take action and its was to be a betrayal turning their back to fellow humans in need.

The ability of the U.S military to suppress Gaddafi’s tracks conducted by his forces was possible without deploying ground troops. This was possible through aerial attacks on Gaddafi’s military bases, paralyzing their operations. This gave the U.S military the confidence of ending the prolonged mass killings by authorities. This justification differs from the U.S military’s participation in international wars like in Iraq, where there was no serious danger to the lives of civilians. As it were, Iraqi was an outright invasion of foreign territory for political reasons, and not an intervention to protect civilians.

In conclusion, the U.S intervention military intervention in Libya was aimed to avert a serious humanitarian crisis. As the world’s superpower, the U.S has a responsibility of promoting democracy, human rights and respect for human life anywhere in the world. This is a policy that the U.S. has historically pursued, as evidenced from previous operations in countries like Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Panama. The overall objective of these interventions is to prevent domestic conflicts and civil wars from deteriorating it catastrophic levels that could claim millions of lives.  Accordingly, President Obama had this in mind in taking the lead in the Libyan crisis by imposing No Flying Zone in order to paralyze operations by the Libyan military.  While these actions have not yet ousted Gaddaffi, they have nevertheless ensured the safety of noncombatant civilians caught in the cross-fire between rebels and Gadaffi’s army.

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