The Libya war: Hey, maybe leading from behind works

One anonymous Obama adviser labeled the Libya strategy “leading from behind” in an interview with the New Yorker earlier this year, a slogan that has turned into a bludgeon for Republican critics to use to assail Obama’s leadership or lack thereof. But the scenes of celebration in Tripoli make it difficult — if not impossible, as supportive statements by Sens.John McCain and Lindsey Graham demonstrated Monday — to argue with Obama’s methods. And at a moment of fiscal obsession, Qadhafi was deposed on the cheap: the most recent figures, from earlier this summer, showed just $1.1 billion in American outlays on the mission, a virtual rounding error at the Pentagon and the equivalent of a few days of involvement in Afghanistan. U.S. warplanes flew just 16 percent of the aerial sorties over the country, according to figures compiled by the Atlantic Council of the United States…

“We need to give the Obama administration credit for finding a way, taking the long view, resisting the pressure to do too much to soon, resisting the old approaches which would have had the U.S. far more involved than it could have or should have been and really blazing a trail for the future of U.S. foreign policy,” said David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration national security official…

“I don’t think this is the time to say to the president, ‘You’re a genius,’ but it is a time for those Obama haters to admit the guy made the right call under a tough set of circumstances,” said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.