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Jim Thompson

You'd thinkg, given the penchant for "dominoe theory" US foreign policy, that the US would be supporting all potential movements toward democracy in the Middle East, under the title of "Arab Spring". But, apparently situational ethics in foreign affairs wins the day. Though not brilliant or influential in the long run, Madeleine Albright was often equally blunt during her tenure, so that's refreshing. It seems the major guiding factor in US foreign policy is actually the National Defense Strategy....


Qadhafi is the easy one to answer: while having a bit of oil (mostly bought by the Europeans) and helping with counter-terrorism to a limited extent, he was also egregious about his belligerence toward protesters and had no one to defend him in international organizations. In fact, there was desire from Europe, the Arab League and even some African countries (to a lesser extent) to give Qadhafi his comeuppance, since many people have been guilty of taking his money, almost everyone hated him. In short, Libya was seen as a low-hanging fruit in a way that Syria, Bahrain and Yemen are clearly not.

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But this is actually an incoherent set of criteria when you look at how it spools out. Gadhafi lots of oil and he helped CIA counterterrorism. And was there ever anyone who helped U.S. Mideast policy over the decades more than Mubarak, even as the U.S.' priorities shifted? I'd dispute Josh's inclusion of Syria in the Mubarak and Gadhafi category viz. U.S. policy. There's still no way to understand why Gadhafi gets bombed and why Assad gets dissed on Facebook.

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