While U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Latin America hogs the media spotlight in news coverage of the region, the nations on the Southern continent made their new regional government official on March 11 as the Union Of South American Nations (UNASUR or UNASUL) treaty entered into force. Basing the supranational institution on the European Union model, further integration is still planned and already underway as two socialists were elected to lead the union.
The European Union is seeking broad new powers over the formerly sovereign nations of Europe, including direct taxation, further centralization of economic decisions, the ability to levy massive fines on national governments, harmonization of corporate tax policy, and more, prompting a fierce backlash by activists and even some governments.
Following a second day of UN-approved missile strikes by U.S., French, and British fighter jets and naval forces, military officials said that troops loyal to Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi had been stopped in their advance on the rebel-held city of Benghazi.
President Obama has made the "decision" to put American soldiers into harm's way in Libya without the required permission under the U.S. Constitution (or even consulting Congress). American enforcement of the "no-fly zone" will doubtless cost U.S. taxpayers more in defense spending, but the real risk and cost of American military intervention is the risk to the lives of American servicemen and women. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America on February 22 of Libyan intervention that his standard for deploying U.S. military forces was: "I won't vote to go to war unless I'd send my kids there or go myself."
Is Libya one quagmire too far? The United Nations Security Council's passage of a resolution on March 17 imposing a no-fly zone over Libya is forcing us to confront that burning question. As I write, President Obama has already committed U.S. naval and air assets to "playing a supportive role" to what is, ostensibly, a European-led military initiative. In a meeting at the White House before his public announcement of support for the UN actions, President Obama assured congressional leaders that our participation in the no-fly enforcement would not lead to the deployment of American troops on the ground in Libya.