Michael Fullilove (Daily Beast): …. The president was accused of neglecting alliances and ceding too much ground to allies in Libya, but this week’s successes in Tripoli prove he’s heir to Roosevelt and Truman.
…. Conservative commentators have mocked Obama’s belief in the efficacy of international rules. Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope that “nobody benefits more than we do from the observance of the international ‘rules of the road’.” Many of these rules were established by Roosevelt and Truman, who believed that a rule-based system amplified U.S. power rather than constraining it….
…. Obama’s response to the Arab Spring, though initially uncertain and clumsy, came to be characterized by a blend of caution and hardheaded liberalism. He now places a lesser premium than most of his recent predecessors did on the stability provided by Middle East allies, and a greater premium on their people’s right to democracy. But some of those allies can no longer provide stability anyway.
…. Events this week indicate that Obama’s approach in Libya has managed to cripple the Gaddafi regime in a way that maximizes the Libyan people’s ownership of the victory and minimizes the risks and costs to the United States. The contrast with George W. Bush’s approach in Iraq is stunning.
… Obama’s critics also fail to acknowledge that he is much more popular with allied publics than was his predecessor …. it has restored drooping public support in allied countries for the idea of allying with Washington. For example, the number of Australians who believe the U.S. alliance is very important to their country’s security has shot up by 23 percent since the nadir of the Bush administration.
…. Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the founders of America’s alliance system, were hardheaded liberals. They would certainly recognize Barack Obama as their heir.
Full article here