I hate to tell you that I told you so. But I wonder if there is anyone who can consider Barack Obama the Leader of the Free World. He never wanted to be that, he is not, and he has shrunk America in the process, now beneath the contempt of Kadafi. That, is pathetic in the extreme, and this exactly why I didn't vote for this nadless wonder.
Looking back at my section on Geopolitics, I don't find anything that particularly stands out as an example of a statement deserving of a real good smackdown in retrospect. It's really not worth it. There is only small comfort in being right. I would have rather that Obama managed to surprise me pleasantly. But everything about Hilary Clinton's prediction about his ability to handle the phone call at 3am has proved dead right. His inaction when the Norks shelled the South Koreans, his limp wristed policy against Iraq, his Chihuaua barking at Israel, his trying of terrorists in open court, his incessant bowing and scraping to foreign dictators, his nebulous policy in the Horn against piracy, his sniffing the air for the right decision about Egypt and his shilly shallying around the brewing civil war (if not genocide) in Libya all add up to a very short man in a very large office.
Three weeks into the Libyan uprising, here are some of the live action highlights from what Mr. Obama likes to call "the international community":
• The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo, but with enough ambiguity that no one knows whether it applies only to Gadhafi or also to the opposition. Even the U.S. State Department and White House don't agree.
• The U.N. has referred events to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes investigation. Mr. Obama said yesterday this sent a message to Gadhafi that "the world is watching," as if Gadhafi didn't know. But it also sends a message that leaving Libya without bloodshed is not an option, because he and his sons will still be pursued for war crimes. Had Reagan pursued this strategy in the Philippines, Marcos might never have gone into exile.
• France has recognized the opposition National Council in Benghazi, though the U.S. is only now sending envoys to meet with the opposition for the first time. Dozens of Western reporters can get rebel leaders on the phone, an opposition delegation has visited French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, but the U.S. is still trying to figure out who these people are. The American envoys better hurry because the rebels may soon be dead.
• The French want a no-fly zone, but the Italians and Germans object. NATO is having "a series of conversations about a wide range of options," as President Obama put it yesterday, but NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen emerged from a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday saying that "We considered . . . initial options regarding a possible no-fly zonein case NATO were to receive a clear U.N. mandate" (our emphasis). The latter isn't likely because both China and Russia object, but no doubt NATO will keep conversing about the "range of options" next week.
• Even as opposition leaders were asking for help, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the world on Thursday that Gadhafi is likely to win in the long-term. The Administration scrambled to say this was merely a factual judgment about the balance of military power, but the message couldn't be clearer to any of Gadhafi's generals who might consider defecting: Do so at your peril because you will join the losing side.
We could go on, but you get the idea. When the U.S. fails to lead, the world reverts to its default mode as a diplomatic Tower of Babel. Everyone discusses "options" and "contingencies" but no one has the will to act, while the predators march.
The caption for his photo. "Hold up, wait a minute". Too late for the dead, Mr. President. Too late for the dead.