In a wide-ranging speech at The European Institute on the increasingly pivotal role of Europe’s Northern Dimension, the President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, said his country has survived the economic crisis and is poised for healthy growth and entry into the Eurozone in 2014.

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As a U.S. Senator put it about the U.S. approach to Libya: “One test in foreign policy: at least be as bold as the French; unfortunately, we’re failing that test.” Part of a small Washington cohort of critics crying outrage about U.S. inaction, that jibe from Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee, came on Wednesday. By the next day, the Obama administration had joined  France, Britain and some other EU countries,  together with the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity, in pushing for a no-fly zone. The potential resolution, when it finally materialized, included even more aggressive military measures against the Libyan regime, possibly including covert help to Libyan rebels on the ground. That emerging diplomatic front succeeded in obtaining approval from the UN Security Council, of a much stronger resolution on Libya than most diplomats even a few hours earlier believed possible.

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As Moammar Gaddafi threatened fierce retribution against rebels in Benghazi, the Obama administration executed a dramatic policy shift toward the Libya, swinging behind a European-led push for a Security Council resolution authorizing international action to protect Libyans against Gaddafi loyalists.

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A flurry of calls for a “no fly zone” in Libya is premature.  The idea, however appealing as a measure to deprive the Libyan leader of airpower against civilian rebels, immediately encountered objections from Western military commanders, starting with those in the U.S.

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The most tangible international action so far in the Libyan crisis has taken the form of EU nations’ evacuation flights to lift civilians out of the strife zone and border refuges. These flights have come mainly from the UK and France, and are now supplemented by U.S. military aircraft ordered to this mission by President Obama on March 3.

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