Tonight, at 7:30 pm EST, President Obama will address the nation about the situation in Libya. The speech comes as the U.S. hands control of the Libyan military intervention over to NATO and critics demand that the President clarify the operation's goals and explain exactly what the U.S. is doing in Libya. Obama will discuss how America's efforts in Libya have furthered U.S. interests and prevented a catastrophe, according to Politico.
Analysts are busy dispensing advice to the President as he prepares for his prime-time address. Here are some of the key arguments:
Answer Four Questions Ross Douthat at The New York Times wants Obama to 1) clarify U.S. military objectives in Libya, 2) explain who the rebels are that we're supporting, 3) discuss how feasible it is to hand over control of the military operation to NATO, and 4) consider whether Libyan is distracting the U.S. from more important American interests in the Middle East. Obama, Douthat says, must tell us "why, appearances to the contrary, the potential payoff from our Libyan war more than justifies the risks."
Clarify Long-Term Goal Doyle McManus at The Los Angeles Times claims that Obama's shot-term goal of preventing Muammar Qaddafi's forces from assaulting rebel-held cities through airstrikes is clear, but his long-term strategy for pressuring Qaddafi to cede power is more opaque. "The likeliest danger Obama faces in Libya, paradoxically, is success at achieving the immediate goal of protecting civilians," McManus says. "If the airstrikes prompt Kadafi to disengage his troops but don't push him out of power, we will be the part-owners of a no-fly, no-drive zone in the middle of a tribal civil war."
Discuss Broader Middle East Strategy Leslie Gelb at The Daily Beast thinks Obama should explain the administration's overarching plan to help America's non-democratic allies in the Middle East embrace democracy.
Establish an Obama Doctrine Judith Miller and Douglas Schoen at Fox News say Obama should articulate a formal doctrine about when force is warranted to avert humanitarian disasters and realize national security goals. Why, they ask, has the U.S. decided not to use force in Bahrain, Yemen, or Syria? Miller and Schoen also want Obama to discuss why he insisted that the Arab League and the U.N. Security Council--but not the U.S. Congress--support a no-fly zone over Libya before it was implemented.