President Obama’s belated statement about the situation in Libya this afternoon was pathetic–he said the violence is “outrageous” and that he is sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Geneva to discuss options with members of the “international community.”
Speaking of the president’s beloved international community, this just in: the United Nations Development Program has just dropped Libyan “leader” Moammar Gadhafi’s daughter as a goodwill ambassador. Violence aginst women,incidentally, was part of her portfolio. So pathetic.
The only reason for the administration’s toothless reaction that could be forgiven is concern for a possible hostage situation. Hot Air explores this idea. But I suspect that President Obama’s fondness for relying on the international community, thugs and all, over the influence of the United States plays into the tepid response. The administration has been muddled throughout the Middle Eastern crisis.
Powerline has a transcript of the presser conducted by new Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier today. If you read it, you may think you’re in a theatre of the absurd play by Eugene Ionesco-and not just because, until the president spoke this afternoon, waiting for him to say something was beginning to feel a lot like waiting for Godot. No, the press conference was surreal in other ways, too.
Carney, who accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of providing even less information than his predecessor, the phlegmatic Robert Gibbs, bobbed and weaved, repeated himself, did some fancy footwork to avoid answering, and sounded completely out of his depth. Powerline suggests the unthinkable: Carney’s performance indicates that we really don’t have a Middle East policy.
Asked why POTUS hadn’t spoken about the situation in Libya, where a madman is ordering the massacre of his own people, Carney had this to say:
[President Obama] is also extremely concerned and alarmed by the horrific violence and bloodshed that’s happened in Libya. And we have made that clear and he will make that clear, as I said, this afternoon or tomorrow.
No rush. When the President did speak, flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is was, as I noted, extremely unimpressive. I realize the administration must consider the safety of American citizens (of course citizens are safer when tyrants fear our country, but that’s a topic for another day). I also realize that the president spoke too often during the Egyptian crisis. But now the administration simply must come up with something more convincing than sending Mrs. Clinton to Geneva and having poor, hapless Mr. Carney utter banalities about how the Libyan situation is “abhorrent. It is completely unacceptable. And the bloodshed must stop.”
This is generic huffing and puffing. It has sort of the feel of a hissy fit: Now you stop that blood shedding this minute. It’s completely unacceptable. Actually, there are brave people willing to shed their blood. I hope that, when the bloodshed stops, the decent people, not tyrants and Islamists, will have won the day.
Bill Kristol has hit on what is so very depressing about the administration’s pathetic reaction:
What has been strikingly lacking in the Obama administration’s response is a sense of the possibility of the moment, a commitment to doing our best to bring that possibility to fruition, a realization that this may be an important inflection point in world history that should shake us out of business as usual.
It was time for the president to speak, but he conveyed no sense that what we are seeing is a turning point in history, not just an unacceptable excresence of violence to be deplored.