According to a diplomat from a NATO member country, U.S. allies have hoped the United States would take a more offensive role. So, while they don't think that Congress asking for more clarification is a bad thing, allies worry about any sort of sign that legislators would want to pull back their current level of involvement. "Anything that looks like a pressure for the United States to reduce its commitment could be harmful to the alliance, based on the idea that the U.S. is a key player," the diplomat says. "Anything that gives the impression that the U.S. could be less committed to the mission in Libya is obviously--in terms of the cohesion of the alliance in Libya--it's not a position that sends the right message." [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Middle East uprisings.]
With uncertainty about the persistence of Qadhafi's regime and the strength of its opposition, NATO announced this week that they plan to extend the Libya mission until at least September of this year. After the House's move today, it could rest with them and the Senate to decide if the United States will also keep its cards in until then.