Here, in the words of one Libyan rebel leader, is what’s happening in Libya since the U.S. has embraced that global panacea, and virtue of virtues, multilateralism:
“There’s a delay in reacting and lack of response to what’s going on on the ground, and many civilians have died and they couldn’t react to protect them,”
the official, Ali al-Essawi, the foreign policy director of the National Transitional Council, said in an interview on Monday in Rome.
That it’s also perilous seems not to concern Barack Obama. By handing over the direction of the Libya campaign, Obama is placing the promotion of a popular narrative (America as the humbled ex-superpower) above both American interests and humanitarian responsibilities.
Both Obama and his advisor Samantha Power like to talk about the “stain” that would be left on our consciences should America allow Qaddafi to massacre his people. Powerful stuff, no doubt. Yet, when those very people explicitly request American – not NATO – leadership, the administration is content to soothe its conscience with self-congratulations about multilateralism.
You say that many say that the U.S. must act multilaterally in all military actions: “…America not only should act multilaterally in all foreign-policy endeavors, but that it must do so.” But no one says that America can’t act unilaterally in its own defence, for example, and no one says categorically that any military action necessarily America must act multilaterally.
From that non starter of a proposition, which you deride as “it takes a village,” a sentiment which, in context, you seem not to understand, you, without showing your step by step work, leap to tarring Obama with this canard: “That it’s also perilous seems not to concern Barack Obama.”
You then get incredibly garbled:
… By handing over the direction of the Libya campaign, Obama is placing the promotion of a popular narrative (America as the humbled ex-superpower) above both American interests and humanitarian responsibilities…
Let’s unbundle some the defect in this reasoning:
first is the notion that Obama is acting multilaterally in this particular instance, which he is, in the service of a narrative rather than in the service of an assessment as to what benefits America in trying to balance values and interests;
second, you assume without demonstrating that is it breaches American interests in acting multilaterally in this particular instance. Your problems here include your conflation of this, the Libyan, action with all American military actions.
third, your sheer, talking point assertion, rather than a reasoned argument, is manifest in your failure to indentify what interests are being breached any why and your failure to identify the countervailing interests served by multilateralism here;
fourth, the same problems attend your failure to identify the source and the nature of American “humanitarian responsibilities” breached by America after its instrumentality in seemingly preventing a massive massacre in Ben Ghazi, for which, tellingly, you give your President no credit.
You then go on to complain about American betrayal of the rebels’ plea for American aid based on your citation of an apparent quote from a Mr. Essawi. You make no reference to American continuing war efforts in Afghanistan or Iraq, the financial constraints America suffers under, the arguable wisdom of a flexible strategy geared to minimizing worst cases as opposed to spending blood and treasure in seeking best cases in Libya.
I suggest you read, for example, http://www.tnr.com/article/world/86148/obama-libya-qaddafi-al-qaeda-nato, and at a minimum acknowledge different, rational analyses of Obama’s Libyan policy. That would make the difference between reasoned debate in the service of your point of view and mere ideological, talking point polemic.