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Ideas and the Use of Force in American Foreign PolicyPresidential Decision-Making in a Post-Cold War World$
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Morgan T. Rees

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781529215908

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529215908.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 30 June 2022

‘This Is Like Rwanda’: How the Road to Libya Ran Through Rwanda

‘This Is Like Rwanda’: How the Road to Libya Ran Through Rwanda

(p.103) 6 ‘This Is Like Rwanda’: How the Road to Libya Ran Through Rwanda
Ideas and the Use of Force in American Foreign Policy

Morgan T. Rees

Policy Press

This chapter explains President Barack Obama's decision to intervene in Libya in 2011 and to actively suggest that there could be no future for Libya with Muammar Gaddafi in power. It outlines the professed foreign policy set forth by Obama's incoming administration — throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, he had been a fierce critic of President George H.W. Bush's declaration of a War on Terror. Then the chapter shows how Obama succumbed to principled types of ideas when faced with the prospect of mass atrocity, becoming drawn into the conflict in Libya in 2011. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates advanced more cognitive ideas, arguing that Libya was of ‘no strategic interest’, but the principled interpretations advanced by Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton prevailed. The chapter discusses how Obama pursued a decisive action in the Security Council and pushed for a resolution for the protection of Libyan civilians ‘by all necessary measures’.

Keywords:   Barack Obama, Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, foreign policy, George H.W. Bush, War on Terror, Robert Gates, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton

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