By Diego Sánchez de la Cruz, Master in International Relations Candidate at IE School of Arts & Humanities

  Back in 1984, former US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger outlined his military doctrine during a speech before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. After the Vietnam fiasco, a strategy of restraint and prudence was the most logical theoretical approach towards military issues. The six points of his “Weinberger Doctrine” are a good example of this:

  1. The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
  2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
  3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
  4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
  5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a “reasonable assurance” of the support of public opinion.
  6. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

How would this six principles apply to the role of the Western allies in Libya, mainly considering the role of the US, the UK and France in the on-going crisis?

  1. It is not likely that the “vital national interest” of the US or its European allies is tied to the internal struggle between the Libyan regime and the rebels.
  2. The military involvement of the US, the UK and France is limited, in line with  Security Council Resolution 1973.
  3. The “mission” of the operation is not particularly clear or explicit. Other than setting up a No-Fly Zone and enforcing an embargo, many open-ended questions remain in place: what would be the “victory point”, what would trigger an “exit strategy”, etc.
  4. Without a clear answer to the third point, it is hard to make this fourt assessment. In any case, the lack of coordination among the allies is evident: one week after the intervention began, they are still unsure about NATO’s role in the operation,.
  5. According to Gallup, the operation in Libya has the lowest approval rating ever for US military action (with a 47% rating). Also, as usual, European data shows low figures too.
  6. The time lapse between Resolution 1970 and 1973 was too short to acknowledge the results of the international pressure applied by the US, the EU and other actors.

The “Jazmine Revolutions” provide opportunities for democracy and freedom, but they also bring along a higher degree of responsability for organizations such as the Arab League and the African Union. The Libyan crisis is a reminder that a stable and peaceful international order cannot simply expect both the US and Europe to act as the world’s “911”.


[…] quieren consultar mi último artículo sobre esta cuestión, publicado por el Instituto de Empresa, hagan click aquí. Así mismo, hagan click aquí para ver recordar mi aplicación de la doctrina Powell al conflicto […]

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