Barack Obama has begun to fascinate me. The ego-centrism of his non-declaration of non-war was that of a man who thinks the world revolves around him. Unfortunately, it sort of does.

Michael Goodwin of the New York Post nailed this:

Earlier, he said that while others were free to turn away from Moammar Khadafy’s killing of his own people, “The United States of America is different.”

That’s a shocker from a man who told aides it would be easier to be the president of China because there was little scrutiny on China’s leader. Still, Obama’s belated embrace of American exceptionalism is progress to cheer.

Yet connecting his Libyan war to exceptionalism was the speech’s weak link, which Bolton nailed. The connection flopped because Obama has an incoherent policy patched together on the fly.

The effort failed even though the president tried to enlarge the context by using Libya to illustrate how he sees the proper use of American power. But it sounded more like a description of an instinct than a true doctrine, proving what I had in mind when I wrote Sunday that “the Obama Doctrine” is really just a reflection of his supreme confidence in his own skills. The Obama doctrine is all about Obama.

Noemie Emery notes:

Woodrow Wilson, (D-Faculty Lounge), our first president from the academy, said famously in 1915 when the Lusitania was sunk by Germany, “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight.”

President Obama, our second, is not too proud to fight, just too proud to be seen doing so, to announce his war aims, or to lead. Of the three reasons behind the decision to institute a no-fly zone in Libya — to avert a massacre, to effect regime change upon its murderous ruler, and to warn off other tyrants — he chose to emphasize only the first, which had nothing to do with the national interest.

In the speech, Obama said, “As president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” Did we go to war because the president can’t stand the sight of blood? I wanted a no-fly zone early, when it might have toppled Gaddafi. I could justify that in terms of national interest: the madman hates America and has sponsored terrorism so let’s use this opportunity to supply just enough support for his own people to take him out. But that’s so old-fashioned. We now have developed an entirely new form of foreign policy based on presidential impulse. 

Barack Obama has notions about internationalism (the Telegraph has a piece on his belief that the Libya mission is “how the world should work” because the U.S. is doing the heavy lifting while taking orders from the U.N.). His combination of citizen of the worldism and his belief that the world revolves around him (unfortunately, as noted above, not entirely untrue) have taken U.S. foreign policy to an entirely new place.