‘caution is obama’s only option. but it’s working’

UK Independent: The United States appears to have been taking a back seat in coping with the Libyan crisis, leaving its European allies and the Arab world to make the running. And that is exactly how Washington wants it.

After Iraq and Afghanistan, there is little appetite on Capitol Hill and absolutely none in the White House for another US-led attack on a Muslim country, at least without the declared blessing – and better still, the participation – of other Arab states.

In the end, the Obama administration had little choice. However much it abhors the slightest risk of another Middle Eastern military entanglement, there was no way the US could be caught, as the well-worn American phrase goes, on the wrong side of history, watching from the sidelines as a dictator unleashed brutal violence against his own people.

With its authorisation of “all necessary force… short of foreign occupation” to protect the Libyan civilian population from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s onslaught, Thursday evening’s Security Council resolution at the United Nations essentially makes the best of a bad job. The mission has been couched in humanitarian terms. The resolution’s wording explicitly rules out an Iraq-style ground war. It follows approval by the Arab League of a no-fly zone over Libya, while White House officials made clear yesterday they expected logistical support from “Arab partners”.

…Like everyone else, the US is scrambling to keep up. And Washington must display an especially delicate touch, given its vast geo-strategic interests in the region, the need to preserve alliances and the importance of making sure the turbulence does not play out to the longer-term advantage of Iran.

Thus far, this cautious approach – one that reflects the instincts of Barack Obama – seems to be working. In Tunisia and Egypt, friendly governments were toppled but their replacements, at least for now, have not sought to break ties with Washington. Nor does radical Islam appear to be moving to fill the vacuum.

The Gaddafi regime’s declaration of a ceasefire after the Security Council resolution is also probably exactly what Washington wants. Whether it is sincere, or merely a ploy to buy time, the next few days will tell. But at least it raises the chance of a peaceful outcome.

Full article here

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following a meeting in the Oval Office, March 18, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

8 Responses to “‘caution is obama’s only option. but it’s working’”

  1. 1 Dorothy Rissman
    March 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Chipsticks, this is at least as exciting as the Chicago Trib article. Yahoo. The world is getting a look at this incredible man PBO.

    • 2 majii
      March 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      And I hope it drowns out the stupid MSM that NEVER wants to give him credit for knowing anything or doing a good job on anything. They have seriously underestimated him again and again, and it seems like at this point, they’d stop trying to play back seat president.

    • March 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Hiya Dorothy, I loved that article too, it’s such a pleasant change to read smart commentators who appreciate the cautious, thoughtful approach to a hugely delicate situation.

      I’ve really liked this writer (Rupert Cornwell) since he wrote this:


      Although he has been critical of the President too – but at least he is genuinely fair and balanced!

      • 4 V C prezOfan2
        March 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

        ONE of the things I LOVE about your blog, Chipsticks, is that it expands my knowledge from time to time. 😉 Thank you for the exposure to this ‘new’ columnist @ The Independent(new medium for me too). I enjoyed that 2009 article. Thanks. I don’t know how you keep two jobs going with such a high level of production, but, ‘you does good work and I am always grateful’!

        • March 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm

          You’re a dote, VC! Just don’t ever tell my boss why I usually miss deadlines! Glad you enjoyed that 2009 article, I did too, he’s a really fair writer – as I mentioned to Dorothy, he’s not shy about criticising the President, but he’s always fair.

  2. 6 Betsey
    March 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Lots of great posts today, Chipsticks, as usual. Thank you so much!

  3. 8 Fred
    March 19, 2011 at 8:33 am

    let the hatters hate;that’s all they do;that’s all they can do 😡 🙄 😆

    In the meantime the President is taking care of the American people;helping the Japanese people and the Govt who seems to quite frankly to be lying to their folks in downplaying what is really going on over there;will be taking of Gadhafi’s arse with the allies and is busy being a good husband and father 😀

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