According to AFP, French President Nicolas Sarkozy will propose air strikes on Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s command headquarters to EU leaders. At an EU summit on the Libyan crisis, he will propose “striking an extremely limited number of points which are the source of the most deadly operations” by forces loyal to Qaddafi, the source said today. The three sites being considered are Qaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia command headquarters in Tripoli; a military air base in Syrte, east of Tripoli; and an air base in Sebha, in the south, according to the report.
Contrast this development with this Washington Post story today titled “On Libya, Obama willing to let allies take the lead,” which begins this way: “President Obama is content to let other nations publicly lead the search for solutions to the Libyan conflict, his advisers say, a stance that reflects the more humble tone he has sought to bring to U.S. foreign policy but one that also opens him to criticism that he is a weak leader.”
The Post also reports that Britain and France are drafting the no-fly zone resolution for possible consideration by the Security Council — “[b]ut it remains unclear where Obama stands on the issue…”
Charles Krauthammer wrote an essay in 2009 that is worth rereading. Among his arguments is that the current foreign policy of the United States is an exercise in contraction, one that began with the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance, “the fundamental consequence of which is to effectively undermine any moral claim that America might have to world leadership, as well as the moral confidence that any nation needs to have in order to justify to itself and to others its position of leadership.”
According to the new dispensation, Krauthammer wrote, “having forfeited the mandate of heaven — if it ever had one — a newly humbled America now seeks a more modest place among the nations, not above them.”
But it seems as if Obama, at least on Libya, is doing one better than having America take a place among the nations. We are, in fact, behind the nations of the world.
France – and not just France — is showing far more leadership on the world stage than the United States.
Welcome to Barack Obama’s America.