Kissinger: US Will Appear Weak if Gadhafi Remains

Monday, 21 Mar 2011 09:45 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says if Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi remains in power, it would be “a sign of American weakness,” but the crucial question remains: what will take his place. Kissinger also said Monday on Fox Business Network it would have been “more prudent” if President Barack Obama had gotten Henry Kissinger, Libya, Barack Obama, Moammar Gadhaficongressional approval before getting the United States involved in Libya.

“He has a philosophy, and many people do, that the United States should act only multilaterally,” Kissinger said on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” “When you have that view, it’s understandable that you would go to the [U.N.] Security Council to get your approval.

“It doesn’t answer the question whether it would not be prudent – and some people would say constitutional – to go to the Congress first,” he said. “It certainly would have been more prudent to get some congressional expression – to what degree it was legally required depends on how you interpret whether you consider this just a police action of a few days, or a war.”

Dobbs asked Kissinger whether foreign opposition to America’s involvement, specifically from Russia and the Arab League – which previously asked for the United States to intercede – will impact the next U.S. step.

“I was security adviser and secretary of state in an unpopular war, which we inherited. So I have great sympathy for a president at war – no matter how he got into it,” Kissinger said. “But you can’t get out of a war, unless you have an objective about the end game.

“What is it we are trying to accomplish? How do we know it is ending?” Kissinger asked. “And there I believe it is necessary to have some feedback, and some discussion, about what the objectives should be. Protecting the civilian population from its own government is certainly a humane objective, but as a [main] rule of American foreign policy, it would be difficult to apply with military force.”

Dobbs asked whether a stalemate with Gadhafi, as some have suggested, might be an acceptable outcome.

“I believe – however we got into it and whatever one might think of statements that were made over the weeks – if the war ends with Gadhafi still in office, it will be considered as a sign of American weakness, and inability to achieve its objectives” Kissinger said.

“At the same time, if Gadhafi is removed, we then have the problem of who’s going to govern this country, which has never had a really normal state.”

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