In the latest shift by a NATO member nation about the war in Libya, the Obama Administration has today issued a statement saying it endorses the Russian efforts to mediate a ceasefire in Libya, provided it ends with Moammar Gadhafi stepping down.
The move follows a pair of announcements from France over the past two days, first that the French government was encouraging Libya’s rebels to seek a peace deal and later that the French themselves are involved in talks with the Gadhafi regime.
It is a stark contrast from the position even a week ago, when NATO member nations were openly scorning the notion of a negotiated settlement. France itself loudly condemned Italy’s call for a ceasefire as a “sign of weakness.” Now it seems the Italian position is winning out.
It seems to signal the growing acceptance among NATO’s hawkish bloc of nations, which was led by France and the US, that constant escalation of the bombing campaign in Libya isn’t going to produce some sort of overwhelming victory over Gadhafi. Rather, the stalemate appears to be largely unchanged by the bombings, which are garnering more international outcry about civilian deaths. While it would have been unsurprising just days ago to hear the US condemn the Russian efforts at peace as getting in the way of their latest escapade, it seems now that officials are hoping that the Russians can salvage some sort of settlement that allows them to escape their latest quagmire with something short of an admission of failure.