President Obama's five-day visit to South America was dominated by the on-going issues in Libya - and on Tuesday, the president said the no-fly zone and other military action was in the United States' best interest, a message he has not yet stated during the lead-up the action in the North African nation.
"The American people and the United States have an interest, first of all, in making sure that where a brutal dictator is threatening his people, and saying he will show no mercy and go door-to-door and hunt people down and we have the capacity under international sanction to do something about that, I think it's in America's national interest to do something about that," Obama said in a press conference with Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes.
But the president also said that even with the capacity to help, it's not up to the U.S. to solve every world problem and that America should work with international groups to help prevent a disaster. However, he made clear preventing violence is in the best interests for the United States."Nobody has a bigger stake in making sure there are basic rules of the road that are observed. That there is some semblance of order and justice, particularly in a volatile region that's going through great changes like the Middle East," the president said.
Obama also made clear that while helping those who are at the mercy of Qadaffi, he does not plan on having the United States be front and center on all actions in Libya.
"We will not be in the lead," Obama said, "We have unique capabilities. We came in up front, fairly heavily, fairly substantially and at considerable risk to our military personnel. And when this transition takes place, it's not going to be our planes maintaining the no-fly zone. It is not going to be our ships that are necessarily involved in enforcing the arms embargo."