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The Canadian moment?

Around the time that Barack Obama was assuring U.S. lawmakers that American planes would not be used to enforce the no fly zone in Libya, our neighbor to the north was announcing just the opposite: Canada will deploy fighter jets to the Middle East. Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to the joint African Union-Arab League ...

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Around the time that Barack Obama was assuring U.S. lawmakers that American planes would not be used to enforce the no fly zone in Libya, our neighbor to the north was announcing just the opposite: Canada will deploy fighter jets to the Middle East. Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to the joint African Union-Arab League summit on Libya tomorrow, where he'll join other Western leaders from France, Britain, Germany, and the United States in discussing next steps. 

This is the perfect international swarming -- nearly every major NATO country is now militarily involved, except the United States. And that's probably intentional -- a means to quell fears -- both in Congress and in the U.S. public -- that Libya could turn out to be yet another expensive and prolonged military adventure in the Middle East, adding to the burdens of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So enter Canada, a country with a long and storied history of supporting U.N. peace operations. This is one time when America is probably ok with its northern neighbor taking the lead.

Around the time that Barack Obama was assuring U.S. lawmakers that American planes would not be used to enforce the no fly zone in Libya, our neighbor to the north was announcing just the opposite: Canada will deploy fighter jets to the Middle East. Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to the joint African Union-Arab League summit on Libya tomorrow, where he’ll join other Western leaders from France, Britain, Germany, and the United States in discussing next steps. 

This is the perfect international swarming — nearly every major NATO country is now militarily involved, except the United States. And that’s probably intentional — a means to quell fears — both in Congress and in the U.S. public — that Libya could turn out to be yet another expensive and prolonged military adventure in the Middle East, adding to the burdens of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So enter Canada, a country with a long and storied history of supporting U.N. peace operations. This is one time when America is probably ok with its northern neighbor taking the lead.

Elizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based member of the journalism collective Deca.

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