As the Libyan "kinetic military action" grinds on, it becomes increasingly likely that we will get one of two outcomes. It's possible that we might get a great outcome: that Qaddafi steps aside without too much more bloodshed, that true democratic reformers take control, and that al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are effectively sidelined. While that result is possible, it's not likely. So let's examine the two most likely scenarios.
1. Qaddafi holds on to power and entrenches himself. This leads to a civil war in Libya and a protracted stalemate for the United States and NATO. The no-fly zone, which has already become an aerial-to-ground assault, then morphs into full-on ground combat. If this occurs, American power is grossly diminished and what's left of our credibility gets wiped out. We're hip-deep in yet another endless war without success or victory.
2. Qaddafi falls, and chaos ensues. Tribal battles rage, and into the vacuum steps either the Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda. Possibly both: the MB might run the governing show while al Q operates in parts of the country. If that happens, al Q will have a base of operations much closer and more convenient to its main targets---the U.S. and Western Europe---than Afghanistan was. The closer to kill us.
Which scenario is the worst case? They're both pretty bad for U.S. national security, and yet President Obama doesn't seem too concerned with war-gaming this out. The question is: why? Is he hopelessly naive? Is he a dreamer, thinking that he can will the situation to a rosy outcome? Or is the reason much darker? Does he INTEND one of these scenarios to play out?
His decision to go into Libya was surreal. His decision to authorize the CIA to deal with the rebels and possibly arm them is surreal. Everything with this presidency is surreal. So could be his reasoning for the entire mission----and what he'd like to see emerge from it.