What I've found interesting is the sudden keenness of the French to get involved in this, especially when you consider that they were lukewarm on Afghanistan and downright hostile to the idea of going into Iraq. What is the motivation here?
In the comments on this post, I think Call Me Infidel hit a nail on the head when he said:
'it may be as simple as oil contracts for Total.'
But I also think it goes deeper than that. Without doubt the French are ultra-protectionist about their state owned businesses, both inside the EU and without. There is also little doubt that like all good bullies, the EU has an area outside its direct control which it considers as its 'sphere of influence'. Just like the USSR with Poland and all the other Eastern Bloc countries, they are countries which are independent and sovereign, as long as they do what they are told, even though they're not members. Well, the EU's 'sphere of influence' is that strip of land which stretches from the Atlantic coast of Morocco right up to the Egyptian - Israeli/Palestinian border and down into the top of sub-Sahran Africa.
Gaddafi has been a naughty boy, it isn't that he's been oppressing his population, after all he's been doing that for 40 years, the problem is he's now drawing attention to himself. The EU couldn't care less that there isn't a shred of democratic credibility about him, how could they care? The Mandarins of the EU and the Commission have inveigled themselves into the big chair without recourse to anything as grubby as democracy, and just like Gaddafi, they know what is best for their people, it would all be better if everyone just shut up and did what they were told.
Of course the EU will eventually creep over the Med, it's only a matter of time before one of the north African states is conned, bribed or strongarmed into joining. Cathy Ashton, a woman so ugly that when she comes on TV the Daleks hide behind the sofa, has referred to North Africa as the EU's 'southern neighbourhood' on more than one occasion. Once the EU gets a toe hold it will all be trumpets and poetry, a unifying force and so forth. Gaddafi was going to need sorting sooner or later, there was no way he was going to bend to the will of Brussels, so we may as well take advantage of the situation. I'm betting the EU apparatchiks are falling over themselves to offer 'assistance and advice' to Tunisia and Egypt as well, it is simply too good an opportunity to miss.
Have we considered why Sarko has been so keen to get involved in this? The French were the first out of the blocks, according to Sky News, hitting an armoured column with jets before the Libyan air defence systems were taken out of commission. The meeting was held in Paris. The French rep to the UN was agitating for a no-fly zone before even the US, let alone the UK. When the deed was done, Sarko addressed the French nation before O'Blimey had done the same to the Americans.
Make no mistake, the Americans are perfectly happy to ride along on the coat tails of this one. But why is Sarko so damned keen?
Some accuse Sarkozy of being an EU placeman. Someone who will meekly do the EU's bidding. Not a bit of it. Being a placeman suggests that one has the status of a puppet, and Sarko is no puppet, he is one of the driving forces behind the EUro project, he will sell France's national identity and independence without a second's thought. (As an aside, if the EU doesn't die bankrupt and is torn to shreds from within, I fully expect the Benghzai moment to happen in France. When the centime drops, they'll be furious, and the French do so love a good tear-up.)
This is all part of a process. The trappings of state have been picked up one by one, we've had the flag, the anthem, the parliament and the currency, we've recently seen the constitution, the President and the Foreign Minister, the police force isn't far behind, nor is the army. But what's the point of having the army if you're not going to do anything with it? This UNSC resolution is an EU resolution, the only annoying thing from the EU's point of view is that the EU isn't recognised as a country by the UN. Yet. But their own UN resolution? Chalk another item up on the list of the trappings of state.
The only thing they'll need then is their first war. Well, the Americans seem happy to take a back seat. The Chinese response to the whole affair has been 'meh', well, is there a great difference between China and Libya? The Russians have their own oil and gas, so don't really care. The Norwegians steadfastly and selfishly refuse to accept that it isn't their oil, it is European oil, and won't join the club. So why not Libya?
This isn't protection of the vulnerable, this is colonialism and opportunistic asset grabbing by the EU.
I'm annoyed it has taken me so long to figure it out.
Unfortunately, I have a bad, bad feeling about this. Will the USSR's Afghanistan be reflected in the EU's Libya?
* - I love that idea, Not. (That is to say your name, Not, that was not an indication I didn't like the idea in a 90's US teen movie style, Not. Oh bugger, I've done it again.) I like the idea of putting down your name on the census as Not Applicable, Not. (Bollocks there I go again).