What will Obama do?
The paucity of action on Libya by the Obama administration has been roundly criticized by pundits and politicans. Today I asked State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley what, other than going to the U.N. Human Rights Council, we were doing about the carnage in Libya. He responded by e-mail, "It is not all we are doing. It happens to be first. More will emerge." When I asked when those other steps might "emerge," he answered at 7:24 p.m. "within 24 hours."
Much speculation about the president's muteness has centered on U.S. citizens in Libya and whether we are pulling our punches for fear of their safety. On that score, I asked if we had communicated any warnings to the Libyan government about harm to U.S. citizens? The cryptic reply was that "multiple folks" have spoken to the Libyans.
We'll see if the Obama administration picks up the pace. But if it finally does, we'll be trailing and not leading. Elliott Abrams explains:
China is sending a warship, among other planes and ships, to evacuate its citizens from Libya. . . . In recent days, the White House has been saying that the United States had to watch its words and actions because American citizens were at risk in Libya. So instead of acting, we are building a diplomatic coalition. China has taken a different tack: to use power. Instead of biting their tongue, the Chinese appear to be making it clear to the Qadhafi regime that no danger to Chinese workers will be tolerated.
Moreover, he makes the case that bold U.S. action would serve as more than a rescue mission:
But we seem to be going on bended knee to whatever is left of the Gaddafi regime:
Today there are no doubt many Libyan officials and military officers who are on the fence. They know that a victorious Qadhafi will take vengeance against those who opposed him, so they won't jump until they are confident he will lose. American power can help them make that decision. We too should be moving ships and planes, and visibly taking the steps that show our own power. The message should be that we want Qadhafi to lose and will help ensure that he does. The sooner we do this, the fewer Libyans will lose their lives to Qadhafi's murderous machine and the sooner the violence in Libya will end.
The number three ranked State Department official, William Burns, who was heading from Algiers to Rome Thursday, spoke twice with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa to express gratitude for cooperation shown in helping with the evacuation, Crowley said.
Are we then reduced to haggling with the Butcher of Tripoli (or his bagmen) for the safety of our citizens in lieu of action that would extract our citizens and impress upon the regime (and others in the region) that we will defend and advance our interests? Looks that way.
| February 24, 2011; 9:09 PM ET
Categories: foreign policy
Save & Share: Previous: Glenn Beck doesn't speak for mainstream conservatives
Next: Morning Bits
Posted by: SameOldTiredThinking | February 24, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SCMike1 | February 24, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: aardunza | February 24, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mikem23 | February 24, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: aardunza | February 24, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: michael_chaplan | February 24, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SCMike1 | February 25, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: michael_chaplan | February 25, 2011 2:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: IowaHawkeye | February 25, 2011 6:21 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Beniyyar | February 25, 2011 6:29 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: IowaHawkeye | February 25, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SCMike1 | February 25, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mfkpadrefan | February 25, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: IowaHawkeye | February 25, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: nvjma | February 25, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: K2K2 | February 25, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mfray | February 25, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mfray | February 25, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse