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."