Posts Tagged ‘vindicated

24
Aug
11

‘this may be a truly great foreign-policy president in the making’

Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Yes, the economic recovery is too slow. But events in Libya suggest that this may be a truly great foreign-policy president in the making.

…. Yes, of course, let’s stipulate: the war isn’t actually, you know, over. And even after it is, Libya could descend into chaos or extremism or both (although it is heartening to read that the National Transitional Council, the recognized new governing body, apparently has detailed governance plans in place). So could Egypt, and Tunisia, and so on and so on. Lots of things could, can, and undoubtedly will go wrong….

All that said, the administration has already handled a lot of these changes well (and in the face of absolutely constant know-it-all criticism)…..

Obama took a lot of stick for not being more forceful on Egypt in February, but he was right to be cautious …  He then took heat for moving too slowly on Libya, but here again he was correct…..

….. That’s starting to sound like a doctrine to me. Call it the doctrine of no doctrine: using our power and influence but doing so prudently and multilaterally, with the crucial recognition that Egypt is different from Libya is different from Syria is different from someplace else. According to the foreign-policy establishment, if you want to have a self-respecting big-D doctrine, you’re not supposed to recognize differences…..

…. there’s work to be done. But it’s hardly impossible to envision an Obama administration in a few years’ time that has drawn down Afghanistan and Iraq, helped foster reforms and maybe even the growth of a couple of democracies around the Middle East, and restored the standing of a country that Bush had laid such staggering waste. And killed Osama bin Laden. If this is weak America-hating, count me in.

Full post here

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Tomasky has been hugely critical of the President recently on domestic issues, without ever really acknowledging the opposition he faces when he tries to get anything done. He’s critical of him again in this article (click the link to read it all), but at least he gives credit where it’s due on the foreign policy front.

24
Aug
11

libya, wednesday

Thank you Kasai

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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…..

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President Barack Obama talks on the phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 23. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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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.

Full post here (warning, it’s GOPolitico)

02
May
11

just sayin’

Michael Shear (NYT): In a speech almost 18 months before he assumed the presidency, Barack Obama issued a blunt warning to President Pervez Musharaff of Pakistan: “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

The line was eerily prescient, as it turned out. In his late-night statement on Sunday announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama said that the United States had acted inside Pakistan to capture or kill the Al Qaeda leader on just that kind of actionable intelligence.

…But in the middle of 2007, when Mr. Obama gave the speech it instantly provided his Democratic rivals an opportunity, which they seized aggressively … The criticism was part of an effort by Mr. Obama’s rivals to cast the young senator as naïve and inexperienced when it came to national security and foreign policy. Months later, Mrs. Clinton ran a hard-hitting campaign ad that asked whether people would feel comfortable with Mr. Obama in the White House when the phone rings at 3 a.m.

Senator John McCain picked up the criticism. On several occasions, Mr. McCain paraphrased Mr. Obama incorrectly, saying that the Democrat had promised to bomb Pakistan. “Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested invading our ally, Pakistan?” Mr. McCain asked during his victory speech in the Wisconsin Republican primary in February 2008.

…Now, however, it may be more difficult for the Republicans to make that case stick. Not only did Mr. Obama achieve what his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, fail to accomplish for nearly seven years, but he did so by following his own advice from long before he was in office.

In a statement late Sunday night, Mr. McCain praised the man he once called “confused” and “inexperienced.”

Full article here

11
Feb
11

‘vindication’

Marc Lynch (ForeignPolicy.com): …This was an unprecedented victory for the Egyptian people, and at last a vindication of the Obama administration’s patient and well-crafted strategy.

There is no question that the first, second and third drivers of this Egyptian revolution were the Egyptian people. The creativity of the youth and their ability to mobilize a wide range of Egyptian society around a common demand against daunting odds are simply an inspiration. The fact that these massive crowds avoided violence under incredibly tense conditions and under great uncertainty speaks volumes.

…The Obama administration also deserves a great deal of credit, which it probably won’t receive. It understood immediately and intuitively that it should not attempt to lead a protest movement which had mobilized itself without American guidance, and consistently deferred to the Egyptian people. Despite the avalanche of criticism from protestors and pundits, in fact Obama and his key aides backed the Egyptian protest movement far more quickly than anyone should have expected.

Their steadily mounting pressure on the Mubarak regime took time to succeed, causing enormous heartburn along the way, but now can claim vindication. By working carefully and closely with the Egyptian military, it helped restrain the worst violence and prevent Tiananmen on the Tahrir – which, it is easy to forget today, could very easily have happened.

No bombs, no shock and awe, no soaring declarations of American exceptionalism, and no taking credit for a tidal wave which was entirely of the making of the Egyptian people – just the steadily mounting public and private pressure on the top of the regime  which was necessary for the protestors to succeed.

The Obama administration also understood from the start, and has consistently said, that removing Mubarak would not be enough. It has rejected “faux democracy,” and pushed hard for fundamental systemic reforms….

By the way, for those keeping score in the “peacefully removing Arab dictators” game, it’s now Obama 2, Bush 0. The administration has been subjected to an enormous amount of criticism over the last two weeks for its handling of Egypt, including by people inspired by or who worked on the previous administration’s Freedom Agenda. It was also attacked sharply from the left, by activists and academics who assumed that the administration was supporting Mubarak and didn’t want democratic change. In the end, Obama’s strategy worked. Perhaps this should earn it some praise, and even some benefit of the doubt going forward….

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

Full article here




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