WaPost columnist Richard Cohen--a reliable lefty--unloads on The One with this piece today. Actually, Cohen's been able to dredge up a remarkable amount of bile for Mr. Obama in the past two years, and has come to be for me a sort of bellwether for principled opposition on the left.
Of course, Cohen and I disagree completely on the policy aim here. It seems to me the Libya thing had at its outset a pretty classic "Punnett Square" of decision making, with a leadership approach on one axis and an intervention status on the other. Strong leadership in an intervention--this is the style of George Bush. The concept of not leading--and especially, ceding leadership to the French would of course, be anathema to Mr. Bush. In this case, my preference was for leading a non-intervention; that is, making a strong and direct case that while Libya's turmoil is regrettable, bad things happen everywhere and we have to pick and choose where we seek to be involved--with such involvement in all cases springing from a clear-eyed view of national interest. Mr. Obama however, has in all cases, chosen not to lead. First, in the weeks leading up to the war, by allowing his Secretary of Defense to make statements against intervention without any public support for or against them, he appeared to be allowing events to overtake him. In the process, he looked feckless and out of his league. Now that his foreign policy muses (Clinton, Rice, Powers) and the Euros have pushed him into war, he is content for America to appear as just another nation, a part of a coalition, a provider of service as it were--while weaker, pompous, de-fanged Euros strut about reclaiming Napoleonic glory.
The bottom line here is that whatever the policy--America MUST lead. While I am disappointed in Mr. Obama's decision to become embroiled in Libya, I am positively embarrassed by his decision to sing in the chorus. In both dithering and now acting, he continues to show us how out of his league he really is. Not that we weren't warned.