Friday, March 18, 2011

HACKTACULAR! When Obama was playing it close to the vest on Libya, Ole Perfesser Instapundit nagged and nagged and nagged. Now that there's a U.N.-backed joint military action, the Professor reacts:
They told me if I voted for John McCain, we’d be bombing Arab countries while the supporters of the bombing promised that we’d be greeted as liberators. And they were right!
Etc ("as he looks increasingly ineffectual elsewhere, Obama will take a more aggressive foreign policy approach..."). Reynolds also runs this alarming squib,
HILLARY CLINTON: "Fed up with a President 'who can’t make up his mind.'"
This is the lead fragment from a Daily story, which the reader later learns (if he or she continues, which is unlikely) comes from an unnamed "Clinton insider." (I thought Mark Penn had retired.) It's several grafs before reporter Joshua Hersh starts used sourced quotes, including one from Foreign Policy magazine that repeats an alleged quote from a "diplomat." That's meta!

Oh, look what Benjamin Weinthal just said at National Review's The Corner. Last week Weinthal said, "President Obama and his NATO and EU allies ought to swiftly introduce a no-fly zone over Libya... Obama has an amazing opportunity to end his zigzagging in the region and show that America’s democracy language is not merely empty rhetoric." Today Weinthal says,
Sarkozy: Europe’s Proponent of Bush’s ‘Freedom Agenda’

To get a sense of how President Obama’s Libya (and Mideast) strategy is stuck in a foreign-policy rut, one only needs to look at how French president Nicolas Sarkozy seems to be the only formidable leader on the world stage.
I've got mixed feelings about the Libya crisis myself (though Tim Carney tells me that as a fan of big government I should be in favor of intervention). It would be much more relaxing for me if, instead of judging it on the merits, I could adopt positions randomly, guided by whichever POV made more effective propaganda against some politician at any given moment.

UPDATE. Foreign Policy returns with a named source:
"In the case of Libya, they just threw out their playbook," said Steve Clemons, the foreign policy chief at the New America Foundation. "The fact that Obama pivoted on a dime shows that the White House is flying without a strategy and that we have a reactive presidency right now and not a strategic one"...

"Gates is clearly not on board with what's going on and now the Defense Department may have an entirely another war on its hands that he's not into," said Clemons. "Clinton won the bureaucratic battle to use DOD resources to achieve what's essentially the State Department's objective... and Obama let it happen."
I enjoy the suggested image of Clinton and Gates wrestling on the floor of the Oval Office while Obama sits there going "Duh," but it seems to me that the cooperation of the Arab League is consonant with Obama's outreach to Middle Eastern nations, and that waiting (or conniving) to get it was sort of the opposite of "flying without a strategy." But what do I know, I'm not in the tank -- I mean, a think tank.

UPDATE 2. In comments, Chocolate Covered Cotton makes a good case for staying out:
This is a civil war. One in which the gov't being rebelled against really is awful, and in which the rebels' side really does seem the right one, but it's still no more our concern than the similar civil wars around Africa for which we have no interest in intervening. The only thing that makes Libya different is its oil.
Yeah, funny how that's always a deal-breaker.

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