'This is the Obama conception of the U.S. role in the world—to work through multilateral organizations and bilateral relationships to make sure that the steps we are taking are amplified."
—White House National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes, March 10, 2011, as quoted in the Washington Post
"They bombed us with tanks, airplanes, missiles coming from every direction. . . . We need international support, at least a no-fly zone. Why is the world not supporting us?"
—Libyan rebel Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, March 10, 2011, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal
Whatever else one might say about President Obama's Libya policy, it has succeeded brilliantly in achieving its oft-stated goal of not leading the world. No one can any longer doubt the U.S. determination not to act before the Italians do, or until the Saudis approve, or without a U.N. resolution. This White House is forthright for followership.
That message also couldn't be clearer to Moammar Gadhafi and his sons, who are busy bombing and killing their way to victory against the Libyan opposition. As the U.S. defers to the world, the world can't decide what to do, and the vacuum is filled by a dictator and his hard men who have concluded that no one will stop them. "Hear it now. I have only two words for our brothers and sisters in the east: We're coming," said Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, on Thursday. Read the rest …