There Is a Method to Obama's Libya Madness

On both sides of American politics, there is a great deal of disquiet about Obama's bombing of Gaddafi & Co. As a libertarian, however, I rejoice at seeing tyrants deposed. And Gaddafi is as ugly a tyrant as any. So if there is even a chance that deposing Gaddafi will bring less tyrannical government to Libya, I think it is worth a few bombs.

David Limbaugh below states the "No" case with a view to Obama's actual motivations and he may well be right. I think even Limbaugh lacks perspective though. Obama's actions are very similar to Bill Clinton's in Serbia and the interventions by Woodrow Wilson and FDR in World Wars I and II. Democrats just like bombing or shooting at villains. It makes them look good, and, in their childish way, that motivation trumps almost everything else -- JR

As I argued in my most recent column, this is just the foreign policy outworking of Obama's campaign to fundamentally transform America. Notice the common thread. He is using domestic policies to effectuate "economic justice" at home, trying to cut "wealthy" Americans down to size. Now he is using foreign policy to diminish America's role and stature in the international community to cut wealthy, imperialistic America down to size.

I don't want to get bogged down here in a discussion of whether his motive is thus to sabotage America. In my view, that's the effect of his policies, but I suppose that in his view, America will be a better nation if it uses government coercion to come closer to equalizing everyone's share of the pie -- even if it results in the pie's shrinking -- and if America operates less in its own self-interest in foreign affairs. It's a bizarre mindset and one that most Americans probably don't understand -- so bizarre that they don't believe it despite the proof in front of their faces.

Think about it. Obama's secretary of defense, Robert Gates, admitted on national television Sunday that Libya poses no actual or imminent threat to the United States and that it is not a vital national security interest. This was no gaffe. Surely, Obama's team is not so incompetent and undisciplined that it didn't anticipate this question and carefully prepare the answer.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton damaged the administration's credibility even more by opining that as long as international bodies approved of America's kinetic military action, the president didn't even need to pick up the phone to call Congress. Consider what that reveals concerning the administration's mindset about America's sovereignty and prerogatives.

In terms of philosophy, ideology and motivations, the administration's approach to foreign policy can further be understood by Obama's position from the outset. He has been adamant that America is seen as imperialistic by foreign nations, especially Arab and Muslim nations, and must radically reset its image to ingratiate itself to the world community. He believes terrorism is in large part fomented by the world's negative perception of the United States -- a perception he shares to some extent and one he is obsessed with changing.

That's why he went on his world apology tour, threatened (recklessly and unrealistically) to dismantle multiple components of Bush's anti-terror policies (later reneging) and promised to negotiate with dictators on even terms -- "engagement." If you doubt this, then explain Gates' assertions that America's chief interest in Libya is "the engagement of Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans" and, he threw in, "the general humanitarian question."

There's more. In trying to distinguish between the Libyan and Syrian situations, Clinton said the Syrian situation isn't as severe yet. Then she got to the crux of it: "But in Libya, when a leader says 'spare nothing, show no mercy' and calls out air force attacks on his own people, that crosses a line that people in the world had decided they could not tolerate."

As liberal writer William Saletan points out, "the key phrase isn't no mercy or air force. It's they could not tolerate. Not we, but they. We're outsourcing our standards for intervention." But Saletan noted it is "worse than outsourcing." Outsourcing is hiring someone to do your bidding, but in Libya, "we're hiring ourselves out to do what somebody abroad wants." Indeed, one might consider our military the new mercenaries for foreign governments.

If you understand Obama's thinking, it all makes sense. He obviously believes it is in our interests to act in ways that don't fit the conventional definition of national self-interest. In his worldview, our conventional self-interest is selfish and imperialistic. For too long, America has looked out for its own interests and has exploited the world, its people and its resources. With these unrelenting overtures denying our self-interest, Obama hopes to show the world that the new America -- Obama's America -- is different and moral.

In the meantime, we may very well be propping up coalitions of jihadists in both Egypt and Libya and who knows where else, but that's OK because Obama and his fellow liberals have "good intentions."



  1. I believe there's an additional ideological component to President Obama's decision to join the offensive on the side of the Islamists in Libya - Transnational Progressivism. Recall that the Clintons are huge Transnational Progressives, and the accepted wisdom is that Hillary forced the Lyban campaign onto Obama.

    Among the axioms of Transnational Progressivism are: National sovereignty is subordinate to the 'International Community', only the UN can legitimately authorize the use of force, and the use of force to achieve national goals is unacceptable.

    I think Hillary and Sarkosky wanted the precedent of Libya, and that's why everyone is making such a big deal about 'handing off control of the military forces'. I don't believe they care at all about the success of the assortment of Islamists conducting the campaign.

  2. Getting rid of a tyrant is all well and good, but will replace him? In Iraq and Afghanistan there was at least some way to influance what that replacement would be, although not enough to prevent the evils of Sharia from creeping back in. But with the Obama administration there is no policy on what is intended to happen. No ability to influence the rebels in a positive way. (In fact, many of them are terrorists who had been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.) There isn't even an attempt by Obama to explain why the rebels are better. Just more hope and change.

    Nothing good will come from this.


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