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The Obama Doctrine is bad foreign policy

In his speech about Libya last night, President Obama articulated his thinking about intervention quite clearly – and it's quite clearly unacceptable.

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After missteps addressing congressional concerns, President Obama has articulated clearly the goals, means, and duration of the US military action in Libya. Critics may say he did not address those issues, but he did – and the answers are not acceptable.

The president’s speech last night at the National Defense University articulated the Obama Doctrine on the use of US military force when America’s humanitarian interests may be at stake but an imminent threat to US security is not present.

The president made clear that the United States reserves the right to unilaterally use military force to address direct threats to “our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests.” Something less direct, but equally important to the president is at stake in Libya; but the United States is constrained, under the Obama Doctrine, to act in concert with other nations, on a more limited basis, to achieve key objectives.

Prior to allied air strikes, troops loyal to Muammar Qaddafi were quite close to crushing the popular uprising in Libya and massacring the opposition. By any reasonable reading of international human rights law, Qaddafi is culpable for human rights crimes on a grand scale, but why is it an American responsibility to respond?

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