The British press is going ballistic over a statement made by President Obama. The president told a magazine that he places the onus for the disaster in Libya on Prime Minister David Cameron.
The British press on Friday accused President Barack Obama of launching an unprecedented verbal attack on British Prime Minister David Cameron in a magazine interview.
In a lengthy interview with The Atlantic, Obama faults Cameron and other European allies for shortcomings in dealing with Libya after the 2011 ouster of longtime dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
The Times newspaper said Obama’s criticism was “extraordinary” and said Obama was blaming Cameron for the “Libya mess.”
The Independent front page headline says “Obama savages Cameron over Libya.”
In the magazine interview, Obama said Cameron had been “distracted” by other issues after Gadhafi’s fall.
Britain and other European nations had joined the U.S. in military action there to prevent a massacre of civilians. Obama told the magazine he had expected European nations to take a more active role in helping Libya during its reconstruction.
“When I go back and I ask myself what went wrong there’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,” he said.
Obama also criticized former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for taking too much credit for France’s military role.
Libya has since descended into chaos and emerged as a potential safe haven for Islamic State extremists.
U.S. officials have tried to squelch the controversy by telling British media that the United States places a high priority on Britain’s support.
“Prime Minister Cameron has been as close a partner as the president has had, and we deeply value the UK’s contributions on our shared national security and foreign policy objectives which reflect our special and essential relationship,” spokesman Edward Price told ITV News.
What are the Europeans so surprised about? This is America “leading from behind” — exactly what they have been demanding for 50 years or more. Along comes a president who actually takes them at their word, and they whine like 2 year olds.
We wouldn’t have been in Libya if the president and UN Ambassador Samantha Power hadn’t heavily lobbied our NATO allies to get rid of Gaddafi. Then, when the hard part came – creating a government – Obama had the U.S. step back, expecting the Europeans to do all the scut work. In essence, Obama wanted the credit for taking down Gaddafi without having to perform the long, slogging diplomatic work of getting the Libyans to create a stable government.
Obama’s refusal to take responsibility for problems he created is no surprise to Americans. But it must have come as a shock to our European allies that he would so casually throw them under the bus.