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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall": Obama's "Recipe for Success in the Future"

In a New York Times lead article entitled "Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall," Jo Becker and Scott Shane describe Hillary's impact upon the decision of the Obama administration to help topple Qaddafi in 2011:

"Her conviction would be critical in persuading Mr. Obama to join allies in bombing Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. In fact, Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, would later say that in a '51-49' decision, it was Mrs. Clinton’s support that put the ambivalent president over the line.

The consequences would be more far-reaching than anyone imagined, leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven, a place where the direst answers to Mrs. Clinton’s questions have come to pass.

This is the story of how a woman whose Senate vote for the Iraq war may have doomed her first presidential campaign nonetheless doubled down and pushed for military action in another Muslim country."

It is remarkable that the Times is running this story after endorsing Hillary for president.

But this is not what the Times always said about American involvement in Libya. Let's take a short stroll down memory lane. In an August 2011 editorial foolishly entitled "NATO's Teachable Moment," the Times lavished praise upon Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama for intervening in Libya:

"The Western allies, especially the British and French forces backed up by the United States, can be justly proud. So can Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, who ignored the naysayers who claimed that Libya was a quagmire and the battle not worth fighting."

And in September 2011, the Times wrote in an equally inane editorial entitled "A New Start for Libya":

"After 42 years of erratic dictatorship, it would be unrealistic to expect a smooth transition in the early days of Libya’s post-Qaddafi era. There have been water and fuel shortages, episodes of vigilante justice, and power struggles among the victorious rebel forces. There are also signs of progress on military, diplomatic, economic and political fronts."

Signs of progress? Yeah, right. But if that was not enough, Obama told Jay Leno in October 2011 that American intervention in Libya was "a recipe for success in the future."

Needless to say, Obama's "recipe for success" in Libya was followed by the pièce de résistance he cocked cooked up in Syria. Maybe Obama should write a foreign policy cook book when he leaves office in January 2017 . . . or maybe he's better off sticking to the links.

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