George Will posed some questions for Libya interventionists the other day. Here are some questions for non-interventionists:
* If Muammar Qaddafi violently suppresses the Libya uprising while America stands by, will Arab and Muslim opinion really believe that we were “neutral”? Or will they believe that we tacitly support Qaddafi – as they believed through the 1990s that we tacitly supported Saddam Hussein?
* What behavior can we expect from a Muammar Qaddafi who survives this uprising? Qaddafi turned to the West after 2003 because he was frightened by the overthrow of Saddam. Having crushed an uprising – and successfully defied an American president – which way will Qaddafi turn next? How confident are you that he won’t revert to terrorism, if not against Europe then against a newly volatile Egypt right next door?
* Iran crushed its uprising in 2009, with impunity. Hezbollah has seized power in Beirut. Hamas holds Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood is rising in Egypt. Who looks like the ascendant power in the Middle East today? Iran or the United States?
* How many Libyans will flee the country after the rebellion is crushed? Where will they go?
* If you are the king of Saudi Arabia, what conclusions do you draw from the fall of American ally Mubarak and the survival of American enemy Qaddafi?
* If you are the prime minister of Iraq, what conclusions do you draw from the apparent regional ascendency of Iran and the apparent decline of the United States?
* If you are the president of Syria, what conclusions do you draw from the success of Qaddafi’s brutal suppression of revolt?
* If you are the president of Venezuela and you lose an election, how will you react when President Obama tells you that you “must” honor the election results?
* If you are a Libyan insurgent and you are offered arms by international Islamist groups, do you say yes or no?