Saturday, March 26, 2011

So Simple


Sean Hannity on Tuesday discussed President Obama's Libyan policy with a representative duo, Dana Perino and Stuart Varney, of confused conservatism. (It's a good thing he didn't ask Perino about Cuba.) The two guests remarked:

PERINO: Well, let's just say. That the left hand ought to notify the right hand as to what is going on because Secretary Clinton today was quoted saying that she has word that he's trying to leave. President Obama said he has word that he's going to go.

VARNEY: Give me some clarity of vision, please.

PERINO: Well, it is not my responsibility to give them clarity.


The Secretary of State says Khaddafy (or Gaddafi, or whatever) is trying to leave; the President says he's going to leave.

Exactly what clarity of vision is Perino/Varney referring to? There is some distance, admittedly, between "trying to" and "going to;" just as there is between between Brownsville, Texas and Mexico or ideologically between Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.

Make that a confused trio. Two nights later, host Hannity would remark

How dangerous is this that the Obama doctrine that is emerging at all this is that, well, there's a need for humanitarian assistance. We are going to send our military and we'll going to do it with a coalition. And by the way, they may not be under the command and control of our own president. And we don't have any stated goal going in. What is this mean? Where do we go next, China, Russia, you know, Iran? Where are we going to go if that is the standard that Obama set up?

The only similarity between China or Russia and Iran, Egypt or Libya is that none of the nations boasts an American-style democratic republic. China and Russia are huge countries. They are are major powers which have developed nuclear weapons; Iran would like to. The first two are, respectively, Communist and formerly Communist. Alone among the three, Iran is dominated by Islam. And on and on.

Pretty obvious to most people, but not to Hannity, who evidently believes that intervention in Libya mandates intervention in China, Russia, and Iran. Or perhaps he would like us to believe that he believes that.

Even Yemen, currently undergoing extensive democratic protests, is different than Libya, with a government that is pro-American and approximates an approximation of a democratic republic. If only U.S. policy toward Libya could be replicated in Yemen, Egypt, or Syria- it would be so much simpler. But this is not the world of 1911 (central America), 1941 (Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan) or even 1961 (Soviet Russia), but of numerous terrorist organizations, sometimes cooperating and sometimes competing with each other and with the nation-states presenting their own unique challenges.

This does not make the Obama Administration's response toward Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, or mainland China the right (or wrong) one. But the world is not allowing us the luxury of implementing a "one size fits all" approach. At least President Obama's policy, which defies easy categorization as a "Doctrine," reflects an understanding that the globe has changed since the one Sean Hannity wishes still existed.




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