A member of the Libyan security forces detains an illegal migrant, who reportedly wanted to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, during a raid in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, early on April 17, 2016. / AFP / Mahmud TURKIA
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President Barack Obama's challenge that Europe unite and shoulder more of the burden for its own security might soon be answered, in part, by a military mission off the Libyan coast.The European Union, Obama argued, had helped shepherd the continent from the horrors of war to a level of prosperity unparalleled in history. The fact that Obama felt the need to cheerlead for European integration was itself implied criticism of the continent's leaders.The crux of Obama's concern for Europe can be found in a refugee crisis that has been something of a perfect storm for the European project.Obama and his European counterparts have already worked together to set up an anti-trafficking naval force in the Aegean Sea, to stop migrant boats from reaching the Greek islands from Turkey.Such a mission would not boost European military spending, streamline EU decision-making or stop the duplicate procurement of military equipment that squanders what is spent.But it could ease one crisis that has Obama worried enough to plunge into European politics.
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