But Obama’s decision to send his diplomats on a world tour first before taking any action regarding Libya, if any is taken at all, is in keeping, as one analyst states, with his leftist world view, one in which there are no superpowers. Or at least in America’s case, a superpower that refuses to act like one. Early in his administration, Obama signaled the days of America unilaterally using its power to defend its interests were over when he told the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2009 “power is no longer a zero-sum game.”
“No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation,” he said. “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.”
These words must have gladdened the hearts of tin pot dictators, like Gadaffi, around the world. Under an Obama presidency, they would not have to fear unilateral American military action for their misbehavior, like the air strike Ronald Regan ordered against Gadaffi in the 1980s. Due to his leftist egalitarianism, Obama has leveled American power down to that of Benin’s, restricting his country’s options in any world crisis. Hillary Clinton, reflecting this approach, said on Tuesday the United Nations Security Council was where action on Libya should be decided.
While Obama’s multi-polar approach was expected, what was most surprising, though, about his Wednesday White House statement is that he announced no course of action at all. With criticisms that he was not being tough enough on Libya, it is baffling that his administration appears not to have even started working on a plan to deal with the crisis. With the Libyan revolt already days old, his words indicated his government is only now developing a course of action, even though he said “my national security team has been working around the clock to monitor the situation there.”
“I’ve also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis,” he said. “This includes actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we’ll carry out through multilateral institutions.”
Obama ended his statement by quoting a Libyan who said: “We just want to be able to live like human beings.”
But for that to happen, what is needed immediately is for the United States and NATO to use their airpower to stop the fighting. Bombing Gadaffi’s forces would cost less lives in the long run than a civil war fought “to the last drop of blood,” as the Libyan leader has promised. This also would allow the all-important oil exports to resume.
Discussions have taken place regarding establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and that is probably what Clinton will take up with her counterparts next Monday. But while this will stop Gaddafi’s mercenary pilots from bombing the opposition, it will not stop the killing on the ground. The only thing that would cause an old executioner like Gadaffi to stop killing is if an American aircraft carrier were to appear before the Libyan coast. But with Obama in the White House, don’t expect such a show of American power, even if it would allow people to start living like human beings.
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