I’m reading along in the WaPo and I find this:
Obama’s caution has been dictated in part by the challenge in dealing with one of the world’s most hermetic countries and the fluid situation on the ground. The administration knows little about Libya’s well-armed rebels, cannot predict the political system that might replace Gaddafi’s bizarre rule, and faces an array of military options to stop the fighting.
In simple English, we’ve got the usual intelligence failure. We don’t know anything about “the opposition.” So we don’t know if, by backing them, we would make things better or worse. So the only thing to do is what Senators do: talk.
But wait! The president has called for Qadaffi “to go”. That’s not talking, it’s a policy. Never mind that we’re not helping the opposition, Obama said it, so we’re committed. Right?
Well maybe. Kinda. “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,” said Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
Oookay. But what are those “steps we are taking?”
We’re talking. To most everyone. Rhodes again: “Maybe this is a different conception of U.S. leadership. But we believe leadership should galvanize an international response, not rely on a unilateral U.S. response.”
Got it? We’re not really taking steps, we’re galvanizing. Others. To take steps. That’s the Obama policy: For heaven’s sake, don’t expect us to actually DO anything.
But if it works out somehow, he’ll take full credit.