The leaderless presidency
Anne-Marie Slaughter has a piece entitled “Fiddling While Libya Burns” in the NYT. She opens with this:
PRESIDENT Obama says the noose is tightening around Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. In fact, it is tightening around the Libyan rebels, as Colonel Qaddafi makes the most of the world’s dithering and steadily retakes rebel-held towns. The United States and Europe are temporizing on a no-flight zone while the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council and now the Arab League have all called on the United Nations Security Council to authorize one. Opponents of a no-flight zone have put forth five main arguments, none of which, on close examination, hold up.
The Libyan rebels aren’t particularly happy with the rest of the world at all. As Gadhafi’s forces close in on Benghazi, the rebel commander has said the world has failed them.
Foreign Ministers from the Group of Eight nations failed to agree yesterday on imposing a no-fly zone. In Paris, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe of France, which along with the U.K. has pressed for aggressive action against Qaddafi, said he couldn’t persuade Russia to agree to a no-fly zone as other allies, including Germany, raised objections to military intervention.
So since Russia can’t be persuaded and Germany raised objections, no go on the NFZ. Notice who is not at all mentioned in that paragraph. Oh, too busy filling out the NCAA brackets? Got it.
"President Obama opened up with a plea for bracket participants to keep the people of Japan front of mind, saying, ‘One thing I wanted to make sure that viewers who are filling out their brackets — this is a great tradition, we have fun every year doing it — but while you’re doing it, if you’re on your laptop, et cetera, go to usaid.gov and that’s going to list a whole range of charities where you can potentially contribute to help the people who have been devastated in Japan. I think that would be a great gesture as you’re filling out your brackets.’
There that’s covered – anyone for golf?
Lybia Libya. Morning Defense (from POLITICO) says:
Here’s your readout from Tuesday evening: "At today’s meeting, the President and his national security team reviewed the situation in Libya and options to increase pressure on Qadhafi. In particular, the conversation focused on efforts at the United Nations and potential UN Security Council actions, as well as ongoing consultations with Arab and European partners. The President instructed his team to continue to fully engage in the discussions at the United Nations, NATO and with partners and organizations in the region."
Well the great gab fest is underway, or at least planned to be under way. Oh, what was it President Obama said on March 3rd?
With respect to our willingness to engage militarily, … I’ve instructed the Department of Defense … to examine a full range of options. I don’t want us hamstrung. … Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.”
Uh huh. So there is a reason for the rebels in Libya to at least feel a little let down, isn’t there. There’s a reason they’re saying things like:
“These politicians are liars. They just talk and talk, but they do nothing.”
Yes sir, now there’s a group that obviously thinks much more highly of America since Obama took office. Or:
Iman Bugaighis, a professor who has become a spokeswoman for the rebels, lost her composure as she spoke about the recent death of a friend’s son, who died in battle last week. Her friend’s other son, a doctor, was still missing. Western nations, she said, had “lost any credibility.”
“I am not crying out of weakness,” she said. “I’ll stay here until the end. Libyans are brave. We will stand for what we believe in. But we will never forget the people who stood with us and the people who betrayed us.”
Fear not Ms. Bugaighis, the UN is on the job:
The United Nations Security Council was discussing a resolution that would authorize a no-flight zone to protect civilians, but its prospects were uncertain at best, diplomats said.
I think an episode that best typifies what is going on in the Obama administration (and is being mirrored around the world) is to be found in the British comedy “Yes, Prime Minister”. If this isn’t what we’re seeing, I don’t know what typifies it better (via Da Tech Guy). Pay particular attention (around the 8 minute mark) to the “4 stage strategy”. It is what is happening in spades:
In case you missed it, weren’t able to view the vid for whatever reason or just need a recap, here’s the 4 Stage Strategy:
Dick: “In stage 1 we say ‘Nothing is going to Happen’”
Sir Humphrey: “In stage 2 we say ‘Something may be going to happen but we should do nothing about it’”
Dick: “In stage 3 we say “maybe we should do something about it but there’s nothing we can do.’”
Sir Humphrey: “In stage 4 we say ‘Maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now’”
Folks, there it is in a nutshell. The Obama variation, aka the “Obama Doctrine” as outlined by Conn Carroll is this:
It assumes that big problems can be solved with big words while the messy details take care of themselves. It places far too much confidence in international entities, disregards for the importance of American independence, and fails to emphasize American exceptionalism.
And gets absolutely nothing accomplished.
Oh, about that golf game …
[ASIDE] This is not a plea for a No Fly Zone in Libya. It is an assessment of the way this administration has approached almost every crisis it has been faced with. Back to my point about this president trying to defer everything that requires any sort of difficult decision to others. This is just another in a long line of examples of that and his refusal to anything more than talk and give the impression of relevant action without any really being done.