Obama on Libya: The U.S. has done what it said it would do

posted at 10:26 pm on March 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

Five and a half minutes of highlights from CNN, but somehow they missed the key part. They’ve got the bit where he says we’ve already done what we promised (as I said earlier, this speech would be about declaring victory, not urging Americans onward to it). They’ve got the bit where he justifies humanitarian intervention on grounds of American exceptionalism(!), declaring that while some countries can ignore atrocities abroad, “the United States of America is different.” But where’s the part where he announces The Obama Doctrine?

There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security – responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us, and they are problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.

In such cases, we should not be afraid to act – but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action. Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.

So if I have this straight, (1) a bloodbath was looming in Benghazi, (2) America’s role as leader of freedom-loving peoples gives it a special duty to intervene abroad to prevent bloodbaths and protect human rights, but (3) if we can’t do it as part of an international effort, too bad, so sad. Does that make sense? Especially given that the “leadership” evinced in coalition-building here wasn’t as robust as it was in Afghanistan and Iraq? In fact, here’s a quickie fact-check from the AP that scarcely needs to be written. What he means when he talks about a U.S. handover is that, essentially, we’re handing the mission from our right hand to our left.

In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.

And the rapid advance of rebels in recent days strongly suggests they are not merely benefiting from military aid in a defensive crouch, but rather using the multinational force in some fashion — coordinated or not — to advance an offensive.

At least he mentioned NATO tonight. Left unmentioned: Why he still hasn’t asked Congress for a resolution authorizing the mission and, more importantly, just who these rebels are who are allegedly poised to join us in the community of freedom-loving nations. Some do want democracy and a civil society. Others’ interests are … more nuanced.

Exit question for the three Obama voters among our readership: Did you ever expect that Bill Kristol would not only be praising The One’s foreign policy speeches but would actually be getting briefed by him beforehand? We’re all neocons now.

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Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves.

Wouldn’t be an Obama speech without the obligatory strawman.

deadman on March 29, 2011 at 1:07 AM

What’s our vital interest? Libya lies strategically between Tunisia and Egypt. Huh? Egypt controls the Suez Canal and we did nothing but watch without lifting a finger to let the Army know that allowing the Muslim Brotherhood assume power would be a very bad move, but Libya is more important?

We were forced by a moral imperative and humanitarian principles to step in, but only to the point where we weren’t really in danger of losing many men. Ah, liberal war–where only brown people from a far away continent do the dying. There’s an impulse to defend the underdog, but only from a distance, with bombs and cruise missiles.

Who knows what kind of evil and vengeance has been bottled up there after 40 years of oppression and violence in that country and we’re about to pull the cork out in the name of being humanitarian.

flataffect on March 29, 2011 at 1:08 AM

.We have launched over 170 Tomahawk missiles and hundreds of sorties in Libya……

……These military actions would have been more vital to America launched into North Waziristan than into Libya.

Baxter Greene on March 29, 2011 at 1:39 AM


hachiban on March 29, 2011 at 2:45 AM

Bolton: Obama’s Libya Speech “A Dog’s Breakfast”

maverick muse on March 29, 2011 at 6:10 AM

Scooter explained nothing.

kingsjester on March 29, 2011 at 6:59 AM

our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action

So, he is still a community organizer, only now it’s a community of nations. Wonderful.

Kafir on March 29, 2011 at 6:59 AM

I wish that The Won was interested in the eventual outcomes of these operations. I’m not even sure he cares that Iraq remains a democracy.

Cindy Munford on March 29, 2011 at 7:38 AM

We’re all neocons now.


Good Lt on March 29, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Of course Obama’s foreign policy is incompetent; it was designed by Harvard professors!

If I were an alumni I would demand accountability. Sometimes it seems like every Marxist, Keynesian, progressive, imperialist scumbag went to Harvard.

FloatingRock on March 29, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Harvard needs to be turned upside down and shaken.

FloatingRock on March 29, 2011 at 12:12 PM

If Obama is all about humanitarian aid then why aren’t we doing more for Japan? I actually like the Japanese people. I don’t like the Libyan people overall. I’m sure there are plenty of good Libyan’s around the world, but the people who cheered the Lockerbie Bomber are my enemies. I want to curtail their interests while helping the Libyans that hate the Lockerbie Bomber take over the country.

Even if Obama helps manage the political outcome I don’t think he’s not going to help my allies, I think he’s going to help the others.

FloatingRock on March 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Correction: not

FloatingRock on March 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM