On the Obama administration’s decision to supply $25 million of non-lethal aid to the rebels in Libya:
If you listen to the list of items that the secretary of state mentioned, she said radios. What she didn’t say is that these are non-secure radios. You ask yourself: Why would we be sending it — rather than secure radios? It’s just as easily done. And the answer has to be because we don’t want to be seen as actually helping the rebels to fight, which is odd when your objective is dislodging and bringing down Qaddafi.
This is obviously a war in which Obama has intervened not because he seeks success but because he wants to have a new experiment in hands-off interventionism. He’s more interested in clean hands than in success on the ground.
It’s a kind of experiment in a post-American world, a world in which America is not dominant, not leading, but diminished. That’s exactly what he has created in this intervention. And we see the results: a stalemate; divisions in NATO; the French complaining that they are not getting timely targeting information because the Americans are no longer in the lead; and Misrata is on the brink of being overrun after Obama had announced to the world that Qaddafi had to withdraw from Misrata and it was non-negotiable. It turns out that American demands under Obama are not only negotiable, they are empty. …
I think the question about Obama is why is he doing this sort of hands-off interventionism? Number one: I think is because he believes America ought to be in the non-leadership role. And this is going to be his experiment, his demonstration of how it can work — his hyper-multilateralism. But the other reason is, as Charles [Lane] indicated, it insulates him on the domestic front. If we are not out there, we don’t have Americans exposed, then it’s not going to engender any [domestic] opposition. And on that he’s succeeding. But it’s a hell of a way to run a war.