Posts Tagged ‘Qaddafi

20
Oct
11

‘leading from behind is looking pretty good right now’

Ian Swanson (The Hill): Obama stands tall after the demise of Libyan strongman Gadhafi

The death of Moammar Gadhafi represents another major foreign policy victory for President Obama, who backed a months-long air campaign in Libya while facing criticism from the left and the right.

Obama stared down congressional skeptics across the political spectrum … Through it all, Obama kept his resolve.

…. On Thursday he basked in the second greatest foreign policy triumph of his administration, after the successful operation this spring that killed Osama bin Laden. Gadhafi’s death comes less than a month after the U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

…. For the unwavering Obama, Thursday came the big payoff as Gadhafi’s hopes for returning to power ended in a field outside his hometown of Sirte.

…. Obama entered the Oval Office as a novice on the international stage, criticized for a naïve outlook on the world.

…. three years into his term, both the bin Laden and Libya events suggest Obama can be steely in making decisions about U.S. force, and in sticking with them.

Full article here

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David Ignatius (Washington Post): ….  Obama saw that a no-fly zone wouldn’t be enough and lobbied for tougher U.N. language authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect the Libyan people. But he opted for limited U.S. involvement, front-loaded in the first week, and under the protective cover of NATO and the Arab League.

Obama deliberately kept the U.S. in the background even when critics began howling for a show of American “leadership.” And most important, he was patient through last summer, rejecting the counsel of those who argued that he must escalate U.S. military intervention to break the stalemate or, alternatively, bail out.

…. Obama took a lot of shots along the way to Thursday’s symbolic end of the Libya campaign. But it seems fair to say that his vision of opposing Gaddafi through a broad, international coalition – in which other nations share the burden, for a change – worked out pretty well.

Full article here

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Steve Benen: President Obama took an enormous risk by agreeing to intervene militarily in Libya. Military resources were stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq; U.S. military commanders were deeply skeptical; Pentagon chief Robert Gates urged the president not to act in Libya; and there was no great appetite among Americans for a third conflict in the Middle East. What’s more, there were all kinds of credible questions about whether this mission had a meaningful chance of success.

But it did succeed and the gamble paid off. Gadhafi and his regime are no more. There’s ample room for a fair debate about whether the mission was wise, but predictions of failure proved to be incorrect.

When it comes to American politics, the next question is what in the world Republicans are going to say about it … ABC’s report identified five different positions Romney has taken on the U.S. million in Libya this year, and as my friend Elon Green notes today, there’s actually a sixth: in his book, Romney accused Obama of appeasing Gadhafi. I’d imagine Romney would drop this attack now, but I suppose one never knows with that guy.

….As for “leading from behind,” it’s looking pretty good right about now.

Full post here

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FT: The demise of Muammer Gaddafi will bolster Barack Obama’s reputation as a strong commander-in-chief, credentials that will make it difficult for Republican rivals to attack his national security credentials as the 2012 election campaign begins.

… Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, two of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, have largely avoided talking about national security because it is an issue where they can score few points against Mr Obama.

They cannot even use the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as lightning rods, as the president is making good on his pledge to withdraw American troops from the former and wind down the latter.

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Mark Landler (!) and David Leonhardt (New York Times): The final end to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule is the latest victory for a new American approach to war: few if any troops on the ground, the heavy use of air power, including drones, and, at least in the case of Libya, a reliance on allies.

Only a few months ago, the approach had few fans: not the hawks in Congress who called for boots on the ground, not the doves who demanded a pullout and not the many experts who warned of a quagmire. Most pointedly, critics mocked President Obama for “leading from behind”….

But the last six months have brought a string of successes. In May, American commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In August, Tripoli fell, and Colonel Qaddafi fled. In September, an American drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a top Qaeda operative and propagandist, in Yemen. And on Thursday, people were digesting images of the bloodied body of Colonel Qaddafi….

Full article here

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Meanwhile….

Steve Benen: Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on Fox News this morning …. His first instinct wasn’t to thank American troops, but rather, to thank French troops.

…. In the mind of this rising Republican star, the American military that helped drive Gadhafi’s regime from power deserves no credit at all. Marco Rubio is comfortable crediting the French, but not American men and women in uniform.

Wow.

Remember hearing about the “blame America first” crowd? Well, say hello to the “thank America last” crowd.

…. Republicans hate the president so much, they just can’t bring themselves to credit him for the success of the mission, or even thank American servicemen and women for their service in completing the mission.

….. When the fear of Obama getting some credit for success is stronger than the satisfaction that comes with Gadhafi’s demise, there’s a problem.

…. Update: McCain appeared on CNN this morning and said, “I think the [Obama] administration deserves credit, but I especially appreciate the leadership of the British and French in this in carrying out this success.” Shameless.

Full post here

20
Oct
11

‘the end of a long and painful chapter’

20
Oct
11

chat away

Link – thank you LOL

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From August:

Steve Benen: …. I’m reminded of a recent tweet from Eli Lake, a national security correspondent for the conservative Washington Times (see above).

Though I imagine the choice of words will be very different, I suspect Obama’s re-election team will be pushing a similar message. Sure, national security policy probably won’t drive the presidential race, but for those who consider the issue, Obama and his team will have a compelling pitch to make.

There’s still a worthwhile debate to be had over whether U.S. intervention in Libya was a wise move, a terrible tragedy, or something in between, but the White House can credibly claim quite a bit of success: the Arab League endorsed intervention from the West; the administration assembled an international coalition with surprising speed; the mission gained approval from the United Nations; and as of this morning, it appears the Gaddafi regime is no more.

Full post here

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From this August post:

Steve Benen (in August): …..if McCain and Graham really want to complain about why “this success was so long in coming,” maybe they can talk more about their trip to Tripoli two years ago, when both cozied up to Gaddafi, even visiting with him at the dictator’s home, discussing delivery of American military equipment to the Libyan regime. Both senators shook Gaddafi’s hand; McCain even bowed a little.

I’m curious if McCain and Graham have simply forgotten about this, or if they’re just hoping everyone else has.

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Oh, here’s McCain sharing his fine judgment with us today:

McCain statement today: “The death of Muammar Qaddafi marks an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution. While some final fighting continues, the Libyan people have liberated their country…… (bla bla bla).”

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Ah ha – update:

GOPolitico: Sen. John McCain hailed the reported death of Muammar Qadhafi as a “victory” for President Obama.

“This is a victory for the president, the Obama administration but most importantly” for the Libyan people, McCain said on Fox News Thursday morning.

…. In a statement released earlier in the day, the Arizona senator said Qadhafi’s death “marks an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution” but didn’t mention the president or the Obama administration.

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😆 Thanks Esmerelda & amk

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Thanks Linda

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Reuters: New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, according to a government report on Thursday that showed layoffs in recent weeks had dropped to levels last seen in April.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000, the Labor Department said. Economists had forecast claims falling to 400,000.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, dropped 6,250 to 403,000 – the lowest level since mid-April.

Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York, said recent data on payrolls and retail sales had “effectively removed the double-dip scenario for the U.S.”

“The weekly fall in jobless claims adds to this, and the four-week moving average continues to drift lower. But we are still a long distance from the 200,000 new jobs a month we need for a sustainable improvement in the unemployment rate,” he said…..

Full article here

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TPM: One reason you can expect unanimous Republican opposition to Senate Democrats’ latest jobs bill Friday is because it includes a tax – a 0.5 percent surtax on income above $1 million starting in January 2013. That would raise enough money over the next 10 years to cover the $35 billion cost of hiring and retaining about 400,000 teachers and emergency responders next year – but for Republicans, it’s not worth it.

….. Enter Vice President Joe Biden, who at a Capitol Hill rally on Wednesday provided a lesson on just how modest the tax is.

“You have a one-half of one-percent surtax on the 1,000,0001th dollar — in other words it doesn’t affect anybody who makes $999,000, it doesn’t affect anybody making $999,999 — and if you want to find the guy who make $1,000,0001, it only affects that $1. That’s the only thing the rate goes up on,” Biden explained.

…. “If you make $1.1 million, and god-willing this passes, you would pay next year, $500 more in taxes,” Biden said.

….. “I say to the American people: watch your senator,” Biden said. “Watch him or her choose: Are you going to put 400,000 school teachers back in classrooms; are you going to put 18,000 cops back on the street, and 7,000 firefighters back into firehouses? OR are you going to save people with average income over $1 million a one-half of one-percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million.”

Full post here – Thank you Donna Dem

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Back later 😉

21
Aug
11

libya

President Obama (March 2011): “…. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.”

The head of Libya’s National Transitional Council tells Al Jazeera that Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam has been captured – live updates at The Guardian site here

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Live coverage at Sky News (UK) here and Al Jazeera (here)

(Apologies for the Murdoch/Sky link, but it’s one of the few channels I can find covering this live)

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President Obama (March 2011): “…. As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do and will do is support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We have intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners as they’re in the lead to maintain the safety of civilians. We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gadhafi leaves power. It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Gadhafi tries desperately to hang on to power.

But it should be clear to those around Gadhafi and to every Libyan, that history is not on Gadhafi’s side. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.”

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As drdaddy1970 mentioned in the comments, John McCain is our current expert on Libya!

CBS: Sen. John McCain said Sunday he thought Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in Libya was “nearing the end” and that it would be a “matter of hours” before his ouster. McCain, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said that “we will be rid of a guy who has practiced the worst kind of brutalities.”

What changed in two years, John?

Politics Daily (August 2009): Sen. John McCain, visiting Libya this past week, praised Muammar Gaddafi for his peacemaking efforts in Africa. In addition, McCain called for the U.S. Congress to expand ties with Gaddafi’s government, according to Libya’s state news agency. McCain had a face-to-face meeting with Gaddafi, which he detailed on his Twitter page with the following message:

“Late evening with Col. Qadhafi at his “ranch” in Libya – interesting meeting with an interesting man.”

More here

27
May
11

this is a bfd

NYT: Russia has offered to use its contacts in the Libyan government to expedite Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s departure from power, top officials announced Friday at a meeting of the Group of 8 countries in Deauville, France.

….The announcement, which came after intensive talks between President Obama and the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, represents a sharp shift in Russia’s tone on Libya….

Mr. Medvedev told Mr. Obama in their meeting that Russia is committed to seeing Colonel Qaddafi leave office …The offer articulated on Friday would remove Russia from the sidelines and cast it as a central player in resolving the conflict.

Full article here

Thank you Naijas

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When Medvedev was a law student he used to read articles in the Harvard Law Review by a guy with a funny name. He was, he said, hugely impressed. Now? Medvedev is Russian President, Barack Obama….well, you know.

From April 2010:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you make of Barack Obama the man?

MEDVEDEV: He’s a very comfortable partner, it’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people – I won’t name anyone by name – he’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)

MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don’t want to offend anyone. He’s eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply emerged in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he’s talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn’t well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he’s simply a very pleasant man with whom it’s a pleasure to deal with.

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Not for the first time, brains, diplomacy and mutual respect have paid off 😉




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