In Libya, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed herself to be quick to use the American military without thinking about what comes next. As the decisive voice pushing the Obama administration to war, Clinton had no serious plan for a post-Qaddafi Libya, a point driven home forcefully once again in a New York Timescover story on Sunday.
Libya was not the first time she endorsed a U.S. military operation in the Middle East without thinking ahead: Clinton voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. She has shown repeatedly that she did not learn the lessons of Iraq, and has yet to admit to the failure of Libya.
For Secretary Clinton to lay claim to a responsible and progressive foreign policy, she must acknowledge the failure in Libya and learn its lessons.
The first lesson of Libya is that a military operation is not a political solution.
The second is to acknowledge the limits of the capacity of the United States to transform the world in our interests and image. As explained in the New York Times, “Mrs. Clinton’s deep belief in America’s power to do good in the world ran aground in a tribal country with no functioning government, rival factions and a staggering quantity of arms.”