March 16 2011
Yesterday I wrote about the president's misplaced priorities - namely, his decision to make gender equality, rather than the crisis in Japan or the violence in Libya, the topic of his weekly radio address.
The aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan should certainly be taking up a lot of Mr. Obama's time; but, it seems even the media has begun to notice his glaring absence and has even questioned the White House's decision to move forward with plans for Obama's five-day trip to Latin America this Friday. (Charlotte noted John Podhoretz's thoughts on this subject this morning, as well.)
President Obama's "policy paralysis" - as Max Boot writes over at Commentary today - is perhaps even more concerning as Qaddafi gains traction in Libya. Boot explains:
Yesterday Qaddafi's forces appeared to have taken Ajdabiya, the last major town in eastern Libya before they reach the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. If Benghazi - Libya's second-largest city - falls, the revolt is finished and the world will have to live with Qaddafi's barbaric rule for years to come.
That is a prospect that should fill us with dread. If Mubarak was, from the West's standpoint, a relatively benign dictator, Qaddafi has been a nightmare because of his incessant support of terrorism over the years and his attempts to destabilize neighboring regimes and to create a Libyan empire in Africa. For all these reasons, the Arab League has actually endorsed a no-fly zone over Libya - a momentous step for this group of autocrats to take.
It would have been much easier to topple Qaddafi a few weeks ago, when the rebels were on the offensive and the government forces were in disarray. At that crucial moment, Obama voted "present." American inaction allowed Qaddafi to get back on his feet and start slaughtering his opponents.
Yet even now we can still keep the rebellion alive. We should pursue a no-fly zone combined with an enclave strategy centered on Benghazi.
It's becoming increasingly clear that now is not the time for the president to be filling out NCAA brackets, making trips to Latin America, or doing much of anything else. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CNN on Sunday that "the president's establishing priorities." Let's hope he puts his priorities in the right order.