On Libya, Obama Doesn’t Swing Hard Enough

He kept tee-ing it up for himself, but seemed to stroke a few long drives that were barely the wrong side of the foul pole last night.

I wanted the president to come out with a thunderous defense of why humanitarian intervention is in our national interest. I sense he knew he had too, which is why he circled round to the issue no less than four times by my count. He spoke of the importance of protecting human life, of why a massive refugee crisis would be disastrous, and why non-intervention could ultimately lead to a higher cost in the future.

Here’s what I wanted him to say: “The United States’ strategic interest is in protecting human lives that would otherwise face murder at the hands of their tyrannical dictator. This serves America in two ways: First, we are protecting those who yearn for individual liberty that has been denied them for 42 years; and second, by standing up for those seeking their individual freedoms, we are creating a more stable world. Democratic countries are stable countries, and they make for a more secure America.

On that note, I’ve just published a piece in Foreign Policy addressing American intervention, and Barack Obama’s foreign policy philosophy. I take on Stephen Walt, a self-proclaimed “realist”, and define the differences between neoconservatism and progressive internationalism. He mixes them up, and it’s important to explain why Libya is not Iraq. Read it here.