Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a center-right think tank, warned in a blog posting against drawing conclusions too rapidly, saying the U.S. can only serve its interests “if it understands that it may well face a decade of diplomacy and aid efforts” to help the countries develop functioning democracies.
“We in the West need to remember that the ‘European spring’ that began with the French Revolution (or 1848 depending on your choice of historians) triggered upheavals that lasted until at least 1914, and did not end in anything approaching stability,” he wrote.
James Carafano, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said it’s unclear whether the Libya incident reflects an Obama foreign policy failure.
"We just don’t know," Carafano said. "Something like this could have happened to any president at any time. There’s a lot of points that need to be addressed at some point: What kind of intelligence did we have? Did we make the right risk assessments?"
Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow with the 21st Century Defense Initiative and director of research for the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution, said the deaths were tragic but don’t mean the U.S. approach is misguided.
“This is neither a failing of the Obama administration or an excuse to disengage from the Arab world,” O’Hanlon said. “What it does underscore is that we’re nowhere near done with Libya and there’s no asserting that Libya is yet a permanent and lasting victory. It’s going to be an ongoing challenge for whoever is president.”