Obama Is the President Europe Said It Wanted

I'm puzzled to hear some of the carping from Europe--from Europe, if you please--over Obama's failure to lead decisively on Libya. In this new column for the Financial Times, I argue that Europe has got the kind of US president it asked for, and had better learn to like it. 

It is one thing to hear these [complaints about Obama's dithering] from US foreign-policy hawks. If necessary, when vital interests are at stake, they want the US to act on its own initiative, international law be damned. It is quite another thing--in fact, it beggars belief--to hear similar complaints about dithering from some Europeans. Mr Obama has let us down [over Libya], they say. Precious time has been lost.
Not long ago, Europeans complained that the US was bullying, reckless, and high-handed. Not long ago, Europe was ecstatic at Mr Obama's election because this was not his style. You would think that having longed for a president who was cautious, deliberate, and respectful of other countries' opinions--and having voiced contempt for George W. Bush, because he was none of those things--Europeans would hesitate to say, "The time for talking is over. Just start shooting."



Presented by

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Global

Just In