Libya gives Kremlin chance to be world leader

By Adrian Pabst

The Libyan crisis is quickly becoming a serious test for Russia’s foreign policy. So far President Dmitry Medvedev has supported international efforts to isolate the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but he has stopped short of backing any direct intervention. By agreeing to a no-fly zone and assistance for the anti-Gadhafi rebels, he can make good on his promise to promote democracy and modernization not just at home but also abroad.

So what explains Moscow’s continued opposition to a no-fly zone? Understandably, Russia is wary of licensing another Western round of regime change by military force as in the case of Iraq in 2003 or being dragged into another Afghanistan-style quagmire. But in public, Medvedev has so far been careful not to rule out Russia’s agreement to a new UN resolution.


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