Kissinger, that's a sparkling-wine brand, no?
The Obama foreign policy doctrine:
4. Osama bin Laden, dead, finally. U.S. exit strategy has SEALS out of Abbottabad hours after their arrival.
Euphoric crowds in Green Square, main gathering point in Benghazi,second-largest Libyan city. The sign bears the photos of America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice; British PM David Cameron; French President Nicolas Sarkozy; and Barack Obama. It read: "God Bless You All. Thanks For All." (AP)
Gosh, if Ronald Reagan, liberator of Grenada, were author of those triumphs he'd be carried to work each day in a sedan chair along a path of rose petals. With Obama, by contrast, larger, low-cost triumphs are one-day news stories highlighting GOP refusal to credit the president - indeed, to scorn him for not acting impulsively enough.
Alex Seitz-Wald at ThinkProgress:
Much as with the killing of Bin Laden, the GOP candidates seem to be unwilling to give even a modicum of congratulations to their political opponent, even on a matter of national security that seemingly every politician in the U.S. should support. Instead, Romney and others are already pivoting to demanding the extradition of the Lockerbie bomber, which would appear to be a means to put Obama back on the defensive when he should riding high, even it means threatening Libya’s fragile transitional regime with outside pressure.
E.J. Dionne in WaPo:
You have to ask: If unemployment were at 6 percent, would President Obama be getting pummeled for not having us back to full employment already?
The question comes to mind in the wake of the Libyan rebels’ successes against Moammar Gaddafi. It’s remarkable how reluctant Obama’s opponents are to acknowledge that despite all the predictions that his policy of limited engagement could never work, it actually did.
Let it be said upfront that the rout of Gaddafi was engineered not by foreign powers but by a brave rebellion organized in Libya by its people.
But that is the point. The United States has no troops in Libya, which means our men and women in uniform do not find themselves at the center of — or responsible for — what will inevitably be a messy and possibly dangerous aftermath. Our forces did not suffer a single casualty. The military action by the West that was crucial to the rebels was a genuine coalition effort led by Britain and France. This was not a made-by-America revolution, and both we and the Middle East are better for that.
What NATO and its allies did do, as Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller reported in The Post, was to help the rebels “mount an aggressive ‘pincer’ strategy in recent weeks, providing intelligence, advice and stepped-up airstrikes that helped push Moammar Gaddafi’s forces toward collapse in Tripoli.”
Sounds like a successful policy to me.
Yet no good Obama deed goes unpunished. In the midst of the bracing news, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a statement saying, well, too bad that Obama got it wrong.
It does seem odd that a leader confronted with Obama's brace of challenges would find the goalposts moved with each success. Right and left alike agree that Obama's jobs policy has been late and lame, though in fact it began very early with the unprecedented $800-billion stimulus and has kept unemployment from rocketing to 20%, where it otherwise would be after the most devastating economic downturn in the lives of most Americans. It's also a devastating financial recession, relatively rare compared with industrial ones, which has spread its tentacles into every crevice of the economy. But a jobless rate of 9.1% is a failure, as if returning to the pre-recession 4.7% was a miracle any sack of hammers could have attained by now.
On the latest example, of Libya, the goalposts again have been moved. Helping push Gadhafi from power with minimal expense of U.S. blood and treasure isn't enough: Post-Gadhafi Libya must be transformed into some kind of Utopia for Obama's foreign-policy approach to have succeeded.
Here's WaPo "Right Turn" columnist Jennifer Rubin:
The real test of Obama’s Libya operation will be how events play out after Qaddafi is gone. If post-Qaddafi Libya quickly transitions to a stable, representative political order, then the messiness of the last five months will be forgiven and forgotten. If the Obama team’s planning for post-Qaddafi Libya is up to the task, that will go a long way to vindicating their approach. But as the George W. Bush administration ruefully knows, as hard as it is to topple a dictator, the really hard part is what comes after.
Well no, that's not the test at all. The "test" has come and gone, and the U.S. passed with flying colors. The objective was to fall in with Britain and France, noisy in calling early for a blunt military intervention, only when the genocide of about 700,000 civilians in Benghazi seemed perhaps 48 hours distant. It was to degrade Gadhafi's forces sufficient that the tyrant could not commit mass murder of his own people. It never was and certainly isn't the NATO mission to engage in nation-building in Libya. The mission truly is accomplished, and any more "investment" would be promptly - and correctly - questioned as "mission creep." The spectre Rubin raises is a red herring since the U.S. has zero intention of refashioning post-Gadhafi Libya, having abided the wishes of its civilians to limit Western assistance to air strikes and allow the Libyan rebels to claim the ground victory as wholly their own. If Libya implodes and a decade of chaos lies ahead, that's an issue for Libyans, whose sour regard for outside "help" is akin to that of Afghans and Iraqis. And would be of Texans and Ontarians humiliated and resentful at meddling by outsiders, no matter how well-intentioned the West persuades itself its presence in those countries is. Afgans plainly detest the American, Canadian and other foreign nationals from the 39 other troop-contributing nations in the ISAF mission there. America's primary humanitarian efforts should be concentrated in East St. Louis, South Central L.A., Detroit's 8 Mile and the restoration, sometime this century one hopes, of New Orleans. How a nation whose principal city remains blemished by a massive open gravesite in its financial district a decade after 9/11 can imagine itself competently rearranging the complex cultures of other nations is a conceit almost beyond fathoming, a chimera whose pursuit conflicts with America's best interest.
I'm at odds with administration policy on Afghanistan, as readers know. I'll stick with my guess that the Obama troop ramp-up tells the Taliban that the West might never extinguish you, since that would mean occupying Pakistan (!) But then, you'll never have your country back as long as we're here. So let's split the difference. We'll go but on our terms - namely, that we'll oust you from Kabul again at the first sign of terrorist harboring, as quickly as we routed you in late 2001. In the meantime, you can return to compete with the Afghan warlords/drug lords for control of your country, and good luck with that.