President Obama, appearing with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen today after their meeting at the White House, pointed out with regard to Afghanistan that "this is not an American battle. This is a NATO mission." It may be a NATO mission, but in domestic political discourse, it's sure viewed as an American battle: a war that the U.S. is engaged in--one that the left is starting to want the U.S. to leave.

Pointing out NATO's mission in Afghanistan, even as America was the impetus for that mission and has by far the most troops there, may not be the most significant thing a president can say. It's just a matter of fact. But it expresses a philosophical difference from the way Afghanistan is talked about--a difference that fits quite nicely within Obama's geopolitical philosophy of shared responsibility and his aversion to American unilateralism.