You remember the scene in Gulliver’s Travels where the Lilliputians tie down Gulliver?

The United States has been tied down by a president who believes that this great nation can only act when given a permission slip by something that goes by the name of “the international community” and is composed by and large of thugs.

As a citizen of the world, President Obama believes it is right to tie down the United States in this manner. This was predictable from the moment the Citizen of the World opened his mouth in Berlin. It was also predictable that some hotspot in the world would blow on his watch. Unfortunately, quite a few hotspots are blowing right now. Tragically, the U. S. is missing an opportunity to do something to make the world safer. Our most horrific failure so far is in Libya. Leon Wieselthier of the New Republic has a chilling piece on the administration’s response to Libya: 

Barack Obama’s policy toward the Libyan struggle for freedom is no longer a muddle. It is now a disgrace.

Here is what his administration and its allies have told the world, and the Libyan dictator, and the Libyan rebels, in recent days. The director of national intelligence declared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a chilling example of self-fulfilling prophecy, that “over the longer term Qaddafi will prevail.” The secretary of defense continued to insist that the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya is too much for America to do, and to frighten the public with the warning that it would constitute a military operation, as if all military operations are like all other military operations, and therefore the prelude to the sort of wars that would require us, as he put it in an earlier outburst about Iraq and Afghanistan, to have our heads examined.

Of course nobody is suggesting that a single American soldier step foot on Libyan soil: Gates’s exaggeration of the logistics and the implications of a no-fly zone, which the Libyan resistance is begging for, is the purest demagoguery, a way of inhibiting the discussion of what really can be done in this plainly just cause, a revival of Powellism, a cheap slippery slope argument tricked out as a responsible concern about the ladder of escalation.

The secretary of state, also on Capitol Hill, insisted that a no-fly zone must have the support of some international authority. “Absent international authorization,” she instructed, “the United States acting alone would be stepping into a situation the consequences of which would be unforeseeable.” Of course the United States, which is after all still the United States, could go and arrange international authorization, as it has sometimes done in the past; but this would require American leadership, and the Obama administration seems to regard American leadership as an early form of American hegemony.

The world likes to complain about supposed American dominance. But it has always wanted good old America to come in and rescue bad situations. We’re getting a horrifying look at a world in which America is absent.