National Security Brief: August 23, 2011

With $1.1 billion in U.S. costs and the superpower flying only 16 percent of the sorties, the apparently successful NATO mission to remove Col. Muammar Qaddafi from power suggests to some pundits that a more modest U.S. foreign policy seems so far effective.

The Obama administration is approaching the fall of Qaddafi’s regime with caution, avoiding the earlier administrations bombast in successes early in the Iraq War and hopefully, with careful planning, its chaotic aftermath.

Politico describes President Obama as a “reluctant war president.” Former Sen. Bob Kerrey said Obama “doesn’t particularly define himself as a war president because he’s trying to shift attention to issues that are, in the long term, a lot more important.”

With Qaddafi’s regime effectively limited to sections of Tripoli, the rebel alliance that led the fight and its international partners — including France, the U.S., the UAE and others — are meeting in Turkey on Thursday to discuss Libya’s transition.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reported yesterday that more than 2,200 people have been killed since the start of mass protests in Syria in mid-March. More than 350 people reportedly killed since the start of Ramadan early this month.

Haitian women are rushing to Dominican hospitals to give birth. “They come because they don’t have access to health care in Haiti, especially since last year’s earthquake. They come because they can get free health care in the Dominican Republic each year.”