I'll start by confessing that I'm not an expert in international relations. (Please, no wise cracks from the back of the room about dalliances with locals on foreign shores.) My total exposure to IR is limited to acquisition of a master's degree in the subject (MSIR--Troy Univ./European Extension, 1981). So maybe I'm just not qualified to understand the nuances of the Messiah's policy on Libya.
What I thought I learned was that there was a broad range of tools for achieving policy goals. I also learned that the tools can be applied singly or in concert. A very important concept I was taught was that policy must be hammered out by the administration using the best available information and then it must be expressed clearly and coherently in a unified voice by all the members of the team. You decide what you are going to do, the goals are made clear and then you act consistently in public so as to make your adversary very certain of your intent. The flips, flops, waffles and reversals are all done before you act.
Now, let's recap on Libya. The people arise. Qaddafi is a long known enemy of the US and a recognized supporter of terrorism around the world. It would seem that there is a clear national interest in influencing the outcome in Libya. You've got to weigh the alternatives before deciding though. Would we be better served with Qaddafi in power or with a yet-to-be-determined new regime?
The debate apparently takes place and after a mere three weeks of dawdling the Bamster announces that Qaddafi must go. The crimes against humanity as he uses artillery, armor and airpower against his own people are too egregious to tolerate. The dictator must go. And to that end we will make a mean face and urge economic sanctions. Wow! That's scary!
Within 36 hours the SecDef says we really support the rebels but Qaddafi's ouster is not one of our goals. Oops!
Three days later, after France takes the lead and Britain supports France in declaring military air support of the rebels with the express intent of getting Qaddafi to disappear, the Messiah seems to have had his testicles descend and he declares that the US will apply our unique capabilities to enforce a no-fly-zone. In short order it is apparent that: a.) it isn't a "no-fly-zone" but an interdiction campaign against Qaddafi's military, his command & control capability, and his entire Air Force: and b.) it will conclude the mess in short order.
Ahhh, can't have victory and certainly can't have it look like the US military is so damned good that it was easy. Messiah now recants his "Qaddafi must go" position to state that was never one of his goals. He also insures disruption of the operation by withdrawing US control of the operation of all NATO forces, despite the fact that the existing NATO command structure is de facto under US senior leadership in all areas of the alliance. A Canadian general takes over.
Now we see that Qaddafi takes the offensive and to garble things a bit more, Obama declares the withdrawal of US tactical air assets. SecState Clinton jumps in with humanitarian aid so that the dying rebels we are responsible for who believed we were helping them will have blankets and halal meals.
Are we getting a picture of that clear consistent foreign policy implemented the way I was taught it needed to be done? Then how about this:
Predators Patrol, Pat Qaddafi on Poh-Poh
We have created a permissive air environment in which systems like A-10 and AC-130 gunships can bring very effective firepower to bear with both precision and discrimination but neglect to employ them. We choose instead to "roam the alloted airspace, find the enemy and..." note his position on the grease-pencil board in the command post. "Anything else is rubbish."
The riddle I am left with is WTF is Obama trying to do and why?