Where does this tragedy leave the U.S.? What are the next steps that officials should take?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

In 1967 when Israel was attacked by the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan my mother, sister and I were evacuated from the US Air Force base of Tripoli, Libya. My father was a manager in ESSO Libya and was retained with other “key” personnel. Clearly, the instability of the Middle East had far reaching effects. I still remember the "Starlifter" airplane that hoisted American women and children as we sat facing one another in two long aisles, in between which tanks typically were placed. We were flown to Rome, Italy and eventually were reunited with my father in Florence, Italy.

Fast forward. As I read today’s query, the following four (4) conclusions are drawn. (1) Libya exports 2 million barrels of oil a day to Europe thereby making the country a pivotal component to the world’s energy markets; (2) Libya has not elected a formal government; (3) Ambassador Stevens was instrumental in forging a relationship with the rebels/mass militia now in power (those responsible for the overthrew of Gaddafi) thereby creating a more complicated landscape for the West to navigate; (4) An attack on the U.S. consulate is a blatant act of terrorism and in contravention with International law. Unlike typical expatriates living on foreign soil, consulates are owed the equivalent protections to that of the United States government.

This tragedy leaves the West in an increasingly volatile situation. The US must wait for the "acting" Libyan government to take corrective measures before a “next steps” approach is implemented. Until the Middle East can resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, acts of terrorism will continue.

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