Obama Is the President Europe Said It Wanted

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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."



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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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