For those who might be impressed by the heartening news that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has dispatched hundreds of U.S. Marines and amphibious craft to Libya on a humanitarian mission, please note that the Chinese did this a week ago — and did it as a military warning to Col. Moammar Qadddfi.
More than a week ago the Chinese military frigate Xuzhou was re-directed from anti-piracy duty from the Gulf of Aden to Libya.
And for those who said that President Obama’s timidity throughout the crisis was due to fear the Libyans might harm Americans still in-country, the Chinese military mission had a completely different strategy. It warned the Libyans there would be military consequences if they harmed their Chinese nationals.
Associated Press quoted U.S. Naval War College China expert Andrew Erickson, saying that the Chinese are not worried about flexing their military muscle, even in places far from home like the Mediterranean. “In addition to preventing attacks on ships carrying evacuees, the Xuzhou’s dispatch also serves as a warning to elements in Libya not to harm Chinese civilians or prevent them from leaving the country.”
So don’t applaud yet that Obama is getting tough.