No one would be particularly surprised to learn that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was unhappy with President Obama’s Libya speech delivered Monday night at the National Defense University.
According to Newsmax:
“‘I think that was a profoundly disappointing speech because it proved that the ‘Obama Doctrine’ is still full of chaos and questions,’ Palin told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren after the speech. ‘It’s dodgy, it’s dubious. We’re not hearing from our president what is the end game here.
“‘And with Gadhafi still in power – if we are not going to oust him via killing or capturing – then there is no acceptable end state,’ Palin said. ‘It’s very disappointing that we did not hear that commitment from our president – that America’s interests lie in Gadhafi being ousted, and without that being met, I have to ask why in the world [is] our military’ being deployed.”
Palin thus bore down on one of the major flaws of the Libyan intervention. While President Obama acknowledged that Muammar Gadhafi has to go, he did not open his mind to the American people as to how he intended to accomplish that, aside from a vague reference to “non-military means.”
It has been noted before that Palin, more so than Obama, grasps that the principle of the objective must determine the size, scope, and nature of any military operation. President Obama, it seems, does not have a clue as to what his objective in Libya is, beyond some vague generalities.
This problem goes beyond getting rid of Gadhafi. Obama may be against “regime change,” but a Libya without Gadhafi will have a changed regime regardless of the desires of the President. If the United States and her allies are to have some influence in what takes Gadhafi’s place, an army of peace keepers, poll watchers, and aid workers will have to descend on post-civil war Libya. Palin has grasped that. Obama has not thought things through.
Palin’s second source of unhappiness with Obama’s speech is his fixation on multilateralism. Simply put, this means that American interests have become secondary to the desires of the world community.
Palin thus communicated that if she were president, the United States would be less concerned about being liked and more concerned about being respected. Adhering to American interests over those of the UN, NATO, or the Arab League has been a traditional feature of American statecraft, a concept that Palin seems to grasp but Obama does not.
Indeed, events just the very next day seem to be bearing out some of Palin’s criticism. The rebel forces are, as of this writing, reeling from Sirte, the pro-Gadhafi town that lies on the coast road between Benghazi and Tripoli. The handoff of the command of the operation to NATO, so touted by the president, has been delayed. It seems that President Obama cannot even manage an abrogation of American leadership effectively and in a timely manner.
Sources: Palin Blasts Obama Libya Speech, Hiram Reisner, Newsmax, March 29, 2011
Palin on Libya: ‘We Better Be in it to Win It. If There is Doubt We Get Out.’, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, March 24, 2011
Will the Battle of Sirte Be the Stalingrad of the Libyan Civil War? Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, March 28, 2011