Excellent instincts by Obama, as he senses the kill. Rebels get their first substantial breakthrough in the West, so it's time to pile on--bootless-style.
Best part: it eliminates all the nonsense we've heard about "never again." The demand out there remains. What needed to change was our response. We are doing just enough to take advantage of the opportunity and keep the ultimate victory belonging to the Libyan tribes themselves. The SysAdmin never needed to be Powell's twins of: 1) overriding power; and 2) owning the aftermath all by ourselves. That logic is dead and buried--and thank God Powell said no to SECDEF because he couldn't take Armitage along. This is much more in line with the pre-Bush or Clintonian level of commitment: yes, you are vilified when it fails or takes too long, but those costs are acceptable compared to the all-or-nothing mindset of the primacistic neocons, who, in their serious hubris, thought Washington was in charge rather than globalization. If all we get from the Facebook Revs is clearing the deck in North Africa, that will be fantastic--and a serious legacy for Obama in the same manner as Eastern Europe was for George H.W. Bush. It's all nicely opportunistic and going with the major flows of the age, and that is how it should be.
This sort of response sends a lot more signal than the heavy hardware or brigades. It says America will continue to fight as it always has: by generating more stuff than you can possibly imagine. The old model was big stuff. The new model is small and disposable and unmanned stuff. It comes with willpower attached. It's staying power is its dwell time.
China thinks it has a grip on the future with a carrier killer, but it's protecting itself from the 20th century. The name of the game going forward is what it has been these past two decades: globalization's advance, the remapping of fake states, the liberation of people long oppressed by their conditions and cruel leaders, and the new matrixing of supply chains and labor pools as this magnificent process continues to unfold.
We remain the world's most comfortably revisionist power, and that it what separates us--and has always separated us--from everybody else who pretends to similar global influence. We just have needed to update the toolkit.
What escalation remains is Qaddafi's as he considers exit strategies. He should take the money and the freedom, otherwise he will be made THE example.