‘this may be a truly great foreign-policy president in the making’

Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Yes, the economic recovery is too slow. But events in Libya suggest that this may be a truly great foreign-policy president in the making.

…. Yes, of course, let’s stipulate: the war isn’t actually, you know, over. And even after it is, Libya could descend into chaos or extremism or both (although it is heartening to read that the National Transitional Council, the recognized new governing body, apparently has detailed governance plans in place). So could Egypt, and Tunisia, and so on and so on. Lots of things could, can, and undoubtedly will go wrong….

All that said, the administration has already handled a lot of these changes well (and in the face of absolutely constant know-it-all criticism)…..

Obama took a lot of stick for not being more forceful on Egypt in February, but he was right to be cautious …  He then took heat for moving too slowly on Libya, but here again he was correct…..

….. That’s starting to sound like a doctrine to me. Call it the doctrine of no doctrine: using our power and influence but doing so prudently and multilaterally, with the crucial recognition that Egypt is different from Libya is different from Syria is different from someplace else. According to the foreign-policy establishment, if you want to have a self-respecting big-D doctrine, you’re not supposed to recognize differences…..

…. there’s work to be done. But it’s hardly impossible to envision an Obama administration in a few years’ time that has drawn down Afghanistan and Iraq, helped foster reforms and maybe even the growth of a couple of democracies around the Middle East, and restored the standing of a country that Bush had laid such staggering waste. And killed Osama bin Laden. If this is weak America-hating, count me in.

Full post here


Tomasky has been hugely critical of the President recently on domestic issues, without ever really acknowledging the opposition he faces when he tries to get anything done. He’s critical of him again in this article (click the link to read it all), but at least he gives credit where it’s due on the foreign policy front.

66 Responses to “‘this may be a truly great foreign-policy president in the making’”

  1. 1 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Wow, here is a fascinating development being reported by the Voice of America.


    Libya’s opposition is offering a $1.67 million reward for the capture of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The reward offer was made as fighting broke out again at the Gadhafi compound in Tripoli, one day after rebel fighters overran the complex.

    The head of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, said his group supports a decision by local businessmen to provide the reward in an attempt to speed up Gadhafi’s capture.


  2. August 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    If Congress would get out of his way on the economic front, Obama would shock some life into the economy.

    • 3 utaustinliberal
      August 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      No truer words have ever been said. When one has a do nothing congress at best and at worst, a congress filled with a party that would rather push America to the brink of destruction if only to see this President brought to his knees, one should be commended for the progress one has made and for the growth no matter how little the economy has witnessed. I was watching Fareed on sunday and he made a salient point. That yes our type of government with its three comingling branches is all good and wonderful in the best of circumstances, but in the worst? It is gridlock, it is the worst type of partisanship and it is dysfunctional. He talked about the policies President Obama is trying to enact and how he has made progress and could make even bigger progress, if he had a functioning congress. He said that when there is no dysfunctional congress to block his path as with the Mubarak, OBL, and Libya situation, we see just how great a Commander-In-Chief we have. He talked about the British Parliamentary system and how it serves David Cameron well because the party in power has legislative and executive power; so they can carry out their agenda with little to no opposition. As much as I love our system of government; messy as it is sometimes, I found myself wishing for one second that President Obama could wield that kind of legislative and executive power where the party that has the white house can also rule congress or form a coalition to rule congress and bypass the nonsense that is the GOP.

      • 4 Sue in Minnesota
        August 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm

        Ut per your usual, excellent analysis…this should be sent as a Letter to the Editor to every major freaking paper across the country/online and in print. You are a smart cookie, and a tough skinned one as well. UT for President 2024! Got to give you time to catch up to the minimum age requirement. 😀

      • 5 nathkatun7
        August 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm

        Brilliant comment, utaustinliberal!

  3. 6 zizi
    August 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Here’s an Al Arabiya tweet:

    Al Arabiya English
    Libya’s deputy intelligence chief tells Al Arabiya that he has relinquished his post #alarabiya #Qaddafi #Tripoli #Libya

  4. 7 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    This really sounds like it was horrifying for these journalists.

    Journalists freed from Tripoli hotel

    Western journalists freed from Rixos Hotel after being held for days by armed men loyal to Gaddafi.


    • 8 Smilingl8dy
      August 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      I really thought the journo got awfully wimpy. For God sake, they were suppose to be covering the war. They stayed in the hotel while a woman, Alex from SkyNews did it all on the ground with the troops.

  5. 10 Debz
    August 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    President Obama has completely changed the cold war mindset that have governed our foreign policy. As for complaints about his domestic policies, all I can say is those complaining don’t bother to look at all he has accomplished. When he is out of office, history will prove him to be a great President, on both foreign and domestic policies.

    • 11 PamfromCalif
      August 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      The GOP has tried to prevent any economic recovery. They want the President to fail. President Obama as Commander in Chief doesn’t have any GOP interference. This is why his foreign policy decisions are so successful.

    • 14 zizi
      August 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      I just tweeted my disgust with that meme about PBO “failing” on domestic policy. We cannot nod or sit tight while that FALSE meme gets sloshed around. It is a calculated GOP PR campaign to wrest age-old domestic policy strength from Democrats. And the PL are playing right into the wingnut trap. Why because the Repugs are NOT conceding their fake strength in foreign/military policy. It is the reason they are bald-faced lying about PBO’s foreign policy successes. They never give an inch. so why are we letting them get away with trunign our positives into negatives?

      Democrats are our own worst enemies. i see no Democratic congresscrittter pushing back against this nonsense. Afterall they ran away from the ACA, the stimulus, the Financial Regulation, and all the myriad accomplishments of this administration, so now they fall in line with the likes of Michael Tomasky to praise PBO for foreign policy while damning him for “failed” domestic policy. It is BS!!

      • 15 edp4bho
        August 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

        And you know what, zizi. Come their election time, all twitterers should bomb the hell out of them with the truth. I plan to be on Twitter by that time, and I don’t mind going there. They will try again to ride PBO’s backside if we let them.

      • 16 jacquelineoboomer
        August 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

        Bravo, zizi!

  6. 17 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm


    As the endgame of the Muammar Gaddafi regime plays out in Libya, members of the international community – from world powers to oil companies – are gathering to discuss their respective roles in the country’s future.

    Decades of partial isolation imposed by Gaddafi have left the oil-rich country’s economy reeling from a raft of sanctions and its government in a diplomatic no man’s land.

    The rebel government, or National Transitional Council (NTC), has said it intends to change all that.

    In comments published on Wednesday in an Italian newspaper, NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said the “new” Libya would build “strong relations with other countries, based on mutual respect and co-operation”.

    Going by Wednesday’s flurry of diplomatic action, foreign countries appeared eager to reciprocate. Meanwhile, with oil prices above $100 per barrel, foreign entities invested in Libya have a strong incentive to get production back up and running.


  7. 18 Smilingl8dy
    August 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I sent Mr. Tomasky a twitter challenging his first sentence and invited him to look at this list: http://obamaachievements.org/list I told him he maybe at a disadvantage because he writes for a foreign paper (snark) I get so tired of the know-it-alls.

    • 19 criquet
      August 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      You are so right S8dy, that was my first reaction too.
      What about the stimulus, ACA (health care that Presidents have tried to get done over the last 50 years), financial reform, consumer legislation, DADT,Lily Ledbetter, loads of changes as to gay and transgender rights, BP ,and the list goes on and on -last count was about 244 pieces of domestic legislation or executive actions.

      This guy needs to read up!

    • 20 jacquelineoboomer
      August 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Smilingl8dy !

  8. August 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    This Obama Diary is place out of which sanity is arising for me, for us all. It’s a source of information that makes a difference. I know that everybody on TOD realizes that already; so this is a re-iteration. I have in mind that we can practice noticing the insanity and learn to limit our reactions. Not our actions. . . . but our reactions. We can use our energy to think and support each other and this miracle of a leader we have in our midst. I am so grateful to all of you for being here.

    • 22 hopefruit2
      August 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      A very sensible comment Sara. Thanks for being part of our TOD family! 🙂

      • 23 utaustinliberal
        August 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

        Thanks for your wise comment Sara and welcome, welcome, welcome with wide open arms to the TOD family. 🙂

    • 24 Sue in Minnesota
      August 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Welcome to our community ….thanks for recognizing what so many feel here. You are so right that we have opportunities to be more action oriented and less reactionary. We have a great start, but as we everything in life we can always get better. I keep reminding myself that in every obstacle there is an opportunity. Hope you help to spread the information and encourage attention and engagement with Chipstick’s marvelous community. Chipsticks is a nation builder, and a true gift and blessing.

  9. 25 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Earlier today I listened to the press briefing on Martha”s Vineyard. My impression of Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was that he had a very strong and decisive approach responding to questions from the jackals. I am watching the video on CSAN now and I am surprised that he looks so young and clean cut. He was on his game today.

    • 26 Ladyhawke
      August 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Talk about a delayed reaction, I just realized that JOSH EARNEST is the voice we hear on WEST WING WEEK. I thought there was something familiar about that voice.

  10. 27 tally
    August 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Just FYI my TOD family – If I’m not around as much, it’s because I’m slammed at work and then rehearsing my butt off for my 9th annual Poe/Gorey Fest – (sorry for the shameless plug)
    (if you’re in the neighborhood, get your tickets NOW we always sell out fast!)

    at The Huntington – http://www.huntington.org/

    NBC loves us –

    I keep trying to pop in to save my sanity…. 😀 😀 😀

  11. 49 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Here is a very satisfying post that totally eviscerates Peggy Noonan and her penchant for getting inside President Obama’s head. Be sue to read the comments, some of them are hilarious.


    (Memo to columnists: When your column ends with three sentences starting with “Maybe,” you haven’t said anything.)

    In short, the entire column is built on mind-reading — I had to excerpt half of it just to collect all the examples. It’s a great example of how the novelization of the presidency works. Like Maureen Dowd, Noonan’s talent for making up pleasing stories about political figures have made her a highly regarded pundit for one of the nation’s top newspapers. Too bad those stories are largely fiction.


    • 50 jacquelineoboomer
      August 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      Oh, wow – just wow. He nailed it. My favorite part of this:

      “Like Maureen Dowd, Noonan’s talent for making up pleasing stories about political figures have made her a highly regarded pundit for one of the nation’s top newspapers. Too bad those stories are largely fiction.”

      Thanks for sharing that, Ladyhawke!

      • 51 edp4bho
        August 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

        An irony to this is that PBO’s speech co-writer, Jon Favreau, noted Peggy as one of his favorite columnists, in style of writing. Wow !

  12. 52 57andFemale
    August 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Secy Clinton, under the direction of the President, has been vetting this transitional council and working with them since Day One. If anything, the time it has taken has given NATO, the U.S. Administration and the coalition a chance to make sure there are good governing practices in place under sound leadership.

    Take that, you Republican Assholes, who would have blown the place up, inflamed everyone in the region and our allies.

  13. 55 Fred
    August 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    holy cow 😯

    They were for Qaddafi before they were against him. McCain, Graham, Lieberman


  14. 60 Fred
    August 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    GOP Candidate For Weiner House Seat: 9/11 Health Law Shouldn’t Cover Volunteers

    Chabot Refuses To Consider Any Revenue Increases Because He ‘Doesn’t Really Buy’ That Taxes Are At Historical Lows

    Sen. Ayotte: Calling For Higher Taxes On The Rich And Corporations Is Just ‘A Discussion Of Class Warfare’

    Marco Rubio: Medicare, Social Security ‘Weakened Us As People’, Made Us Lazy

  15. 61 tally
    August 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Breaking – Lima Peru 6.8 earthquake.

    Now can we get everyone whining about a 5.9 to please get some perspective and STFU?

    – Yes. If that was your first EQ experience, you should be scared as shit – because that was a BABY ONE.

  16. 63 criquet
    August 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Some info posted at the Talking Points Memo site that is interesting and useful for us:

    “Former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney has been the frontrunner in most national polls of the GOP primary over the last year, and the general punditry considered it his nomination to lose, at least at first. And while it’s still early, new polling released on Wednesday shows his unchallenged time at the head of the pack may be over.

    A new national Gallup poll of GOP and GOP-leaning voters shows Romney, who had more than a quarter of the total vote in Gallup’s June numbers in the same poll, has fallen to 17 percent, while newly minted candidate Tex. Gov. Rick Perry surges to 29 percent and the lead. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), considered a top contender, falls to fourth with 10 percent, behind Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) at 13 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits.

    Public Policy Polling (D) also came out with a national poll of GOP voters on Wednesday, which showed similar results. In that survey, Perry leads with 33 percent in the field of announced candidates, followed by Romney at 20 percent and Bachmann at 16. The rest of the field in that poll were also in single digits.

    Both polls showed Perry’s favorability ratings are very high among Republican primary voters. Gallup recently published “positive intensity scores” on the GOP field (a metric that measures strong favorability against strong unfavorability), which show Perry as the highest rated of the GOP major contenders, although less known. In the PPP poll, Perry registered a 64 percent favorablility rating against 17 unfavorable, a number that reflected another PPP poll released Tuesday of Iowa GOP voters.

    The Gallup poll included live telephone interviews conducted from August 17th to 21st with Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, and has a sampling error of four percent. The PPP national poll used 663 automated interviews conducted from August 18th to the 21st with GOP voters, and has a sampling error of 3.8 percent. “

    • 64 LunarSea
      August 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      The polls are part of the horse and pony kabuki theater designed to do nothing more that create clicks and views and tv news. Since none of these candidate will stand the light of day I will ignore the polls while collecting data on all these fools and tools. That way when they decide who the hell IS running against PBO we can come out swinging.

      In the meantime it just noise and not worth having emotions toyed with.

  17. 65 Fred
    August 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Perry Signs Anti-Abortion Pledge, Endorses Unscientific ‘Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’

    Romney’s 1994 Case For Preserving Access To Abortion Still Rings True Today

    Rick Perry Compared Homosexuality To Alcoholism, Condemned ‘Radical Gays’ For Promoting ‘Gay Lifestyle’

Comments are currently closed.







Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.



RSS Obama White House.gov

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS WH Tumblr

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Steve Benen

  • Trump immediately begins fundraising off his indictment
  • 'I must confess, I went rogue': Senate chaplain calls on lawmakers to do more
  • This is a 'nonpartisan, apolitical pursuit of facts,' says House member
  • Bob Woodward: This will take months to a year to resolve
  • Michael Beschloss: Are we going to live in a system of mob rule?



Blog Stats

  • 43,347,476 hits

%d bloggers like this: