Who Could Figure Just What We’re Up To in Libya?
So Libya is what American military action looks like under President Obama.
The confusion following weeks of his administration’s conflicting statements, unclear goals, who will and will not lead the effort to prevent Moammar Gadhafi from slaughtering his people, has been a stunning expose of what American engagement looks like under reluctant leadership.
At this point, the only thing one can say with any clarity is: Vive la France! Nicolas Sarkozy is to be commended for pulling the American president along, and ending any boycotts of all things French. Bring on the French bread, french fries, red wine, Brie cheese, I don’t care! Do they still sell the Citroen? I’ll take two!
Who’d have thought the day would come when the French had to plead with the United States to get involved militarily in a humanitarian crisis to stop a brutal dictator from murdering his people?
Such is the age of Obama, I guess, where nothing about the man seems to ring America or feel familiar. Where the term “other” seems apropos. Oh, don’t start with the racist stuff! This isn’t about color or ethnicity. This is about a president who is either completely clueless, or he is uncannily shrewd, and attempting to fundamentally alter what America stands for, and how it acts on the world stage.
Who would know which of the above is closer to the truth, because Obama doesn’t tell us?
These are but two emerging schools of thought regarding the man currently occupying the White House.
Among the first school, represented by a growing and broad spectrum of students from the far left to the far right, both Democratic and Republican, is the sense that we’ve apparently thrown our chips behind a guy with no more credentials or experience to be president of the United States than the man on the moon.
This school has it that the president’s relative silence on Libya, and his lack of communication with the public about what in God’s name he’s up to, is simply that he doesn’t know.
The other school of thought is more complicated, and suggests that Obama’s world view doesn’t include America as an exceptional nation. We are simply one nation among many, no better, no worse.
If that morally relativistic vision is true, then Obama sees America as having no business intervening in the goings-on of other nations, and there cannot be any authoritative justification for our attempting to spread our ideals of democratic freedom to other nations.
This would explain why Obama is so keen to have broad United Nations approval and NATO coalitions out front on Libya, with the United States playing only a supporting and limited role. Then, the president could say military intervention in Libya was justified based on one-world governmental opinion that Gadhafi is a threat not only to his own people, but to the security of us all.
Under this school of thought, the reason for Obama’s silence and reticence to lead is likely that were he to enunciate his world view clearly and concisely to the American people, we would reject it and that would further damage his chances for re-election.
Of these two competing views on Obama and his foreign policy, the first seems shortsighted and unlikely. The second is frightening. If true, it suggests that we really have elected as president someone who is unfamiliar and could justifiably be termed “other” to many Americans.
There is so much confusion and chaos surrounding Libya right now, who knows what Obama is up to? If there’s any truth to the theory that he believes in a one-world government, with America playing a small part on the stage, I hope that he won’t be around long enough as president to implement this vision in any permanent way.
Having said that, I don’t see a problem with NATO out front on this humanitarian effort in Libya, and it is heartening to see France wanting to play a prominent role. Allied nations in solidarity against a terrorist thug like Gadhafi, who should have been deposed long ago, is as it should be.
Striving for freedom and global unity against despotic killers is a good thing. What that has to do with America taking a backseat role, however, remains unclear.
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines and is a regular contributor to The Pilot and PineStraw magazine. Contact him at geoffcutler@embarqmail. com.
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