NowLebanon: The apparent downfall of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi will be an enormous foreign policy victory and vindication for US President Barack Obama.
His campaign of a limited military engagement in Libya, along with NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council states, was never popular. From the outset it was attacked on all sides as either too much or too little, misguided and unlikely to succeed. It was even said that the intervention would cost more lives in Libya than it would save and harm rather than promote the interests of the United States.
Now it seems certain that Obama can justifiably claim to have made the right decision. He can add Qaddafi’s scalp to that of slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Unless Libya degenerates into total anarchy over the next 12 months, Obama will be virtually untouchable on foreign policy issues….
The limited engagement in Libya also looks like powerful prima facie evidence that Obama’s approach of emphasizing multilateral alliances, proceeding cautiously and balancing interests with values produces better results than the aggressive and ideological unilateralism of the George W. Bush administration…..
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 23. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Joel Rubin: President Obama’s critics are on the verge of witnessing a third major Obama success in the Arab world in 2011.
First, longtime Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak was deposed after Obama refused to support him against the Egyptian people at the moment of truth.
Second, Osama bin Laden, America’s archenemy #1, was killed by Navy Seals on direct orders from Obama in a risky cross-border raid into Pakistan.
And now, Muammar Qadhafi is about to be knocked out of power by an international coalition in which Obama ensured that the U.S. played a leading team role.
It’s time for Obama’s neoconservative critics to acknowledge his leadership success on foreign policy, especially on Libya.
Why? Because Obama has done what his most ardent foreign policy critics have failed to do: he has ushered in a new era in the Arab world by supporting its organic democracy movements while also aggressively pursuing terrorists. This is foreign policy leadership, Obama style, and it works for American national security.
Why? Because unlike his harshest critics, Obama actually understands that you don’t promote democracy by invading other countries….
Why? Because the United States accomplished these successes and advanced our countries’ interests without either losing one American life or getting entangled in another Middle Eastern quagmire.
…. Obama’s leadership on Libya was aggressive, but unlike theirs, which called for American boots on the ground, was smart, realistic, and patient. A touch of humility and an understanding of the proper usage of American power is what is making this policy work and now the Libyan rebels, when finished, will own their victory.
There will certainly be tough days ahead for Libya; the dust is not yet settled on this drama. But it is clear that the rebels are in charge, that we are not stuck in a quagmire, and that the Arab revolutions will continue – all with the U.S. as an ally.
This is true leadership, Obama style, and it’s time for his critics to acknowledge his – and our – success.
by Callie Shell: “During the campaign, Barack and Michelle would often not see each other for a week. And then they would meet in a back hallway somewhere and would just look at each other and embrace and talk and say, ‘How you doing?’ It was obvious that they had talked about doing this, they had come together to do it, that she is his best friend and vice versa. They’re madly in love with one another. He has this great appreciation for his wife, he knows that she’s the best part of him.” (October 2008, backstage at a Bruce Springsteen/Billy Joel concert)