The French Connection: Why the U.S. is Involved in Libya

Many people have the misconception that the U.S. is once again invading a Middle Eastern nation for oil, but the truth is much more complicated. For once, the United States is the reluctant partner in this effort as it is the European nations that are taking the lead on this and oil and (more importantly gas) are their prime motivation. 

If you look at where Libyan oil and gas goes, it is mostly to Europe. In fact, over 85% percent of Libyan energy exports go to Europe with only a paltry amount going to the United States. The development of North African oil and gas resources makes sense for the Europeans as it is close, of high quality, and it offsets Europe's dependence on Russian gas imports, a major political and strategic liability.  It has been the French, and to a lesser extent the British and the Italians, who have led the war effort, as they realized this was their only option to secure Libyan oil and gas resources in the future.

So, essentially the U.S. was not only pushed reluctantly into this conflict but also has to provide the vast majority of the forces as the French created a situation for Obama where he had to authorize military action or appear weak, indecisive, and hypocritical (in regards to human rights) on the world stage. How ironic; the French goading the Americans into an unwanted military conflict by portraying them as cowardly and unwilling to fight!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons