I'm not a huge fan of Joe Klein as generally speaking, he epitomizes everything that is wrong with high brow political punditry in America, but every now and then, he hits the nail on the head. Ever since Klein botched the Iraq war debacle, he has been increasingly skeptical of US intervention in the Middle East and has offered some good insight into the ongoing crisis. Here he is on the debate raging between those in favor of military action in Libya, and those against it:
There is a segregation of talking heads--they tend to be either foreign or domestic. Those who specialize in foreign or military affairs tend to know little or nothing about what's happening within our borders. Those who specialize in domestic politics tend not to understand that vital impact on our national security that a country like Pakistan, for example, plays. Those who've argued for Libya intervention have been, for the most part, those who do not focus on the waning economic power of the United States, the need to rethink our long-term deficits, the need to invest in our future. They tend to think more about the Middle East than the Middle West. That leads to skewed priorities.
I think it is smart to look at the Libyan crisis like this - to avoid moral judgments about those who disagree and soberly look at the political and economic reality of the situation. While war sounds good on television and in political speeches, it is rarely so clean and inspiring on the ground. It will hit the region and the US deficit hard, two things neither can really afford. Unfortunately, the war has already started so the debate is now largely theoretical. The results however, are not, and we will see in time which side was right.