The Obama Administration touted earlier this year that the President was “leading from behind” when it came to the conflict in Libya, which pretty much means not leading at all. Come to think of it, one can make the argument that President Obama has been “leading from behind” throughout his ill-fated presidency. Whether it is the $14 trillion national debt or the over 9 percent unemployment rate, President Obama has been leading from behind since the day he took office back in 2009.
The situation in Libya is still evolving, with battles being waged around Muammar Qadhafi’s compound in Tripoli. Qadhafi still has a small but loyal following that can make trouble for any transitional government that forms after Qadhafi is finally deposed in the coming days. President Obama should not be sucked into a “mission accomplished” type of speech once Qadhafi’s tyrannical regime falls. Unlike in Egypt, Libya is a tribal based society that can dissolve very quickly into anarchy without a strong central government in place. Pre-surge Iraq is a prime example of what can happen when tribal warfare takes hold in the Middle East.
President Obama, sitting in Martha’s Vineyard, should be very worried about what will become of Libya. The next week to ten days will shape the fate of Libya. Libya could be a state where terrorist organizations rush in to fill a power vacuum. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on our homeland, America should not sit idly by while the next terrorist state is born.
Leading from behind in this next phase will put America’s national security at risk. The transitional government that is being formed must give a voice to the Libyan people. Without any American guidance or wherewithal, the people of Libya will be left hanging out on a limb just like what America did to the Afghanis when the Soviet Union withdrew. Libya is on the cusp of kicking out a dictator who has ruled for over forty years and caused harm to America. America must lead from the front in the building of democrat institutions in a land where fear has ruled. That does not necessarily mean American boots on the ground, what it does mean is providing the resources necessary so the seeds of democracy can bloom.
Unfortunately, President Obama is too wrapped up in being on his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to be in the White House situation room while all of this is unfolding. President Obama should take a cue from British Prime Minister David Cameron who cut short his vacation to go back to London and chair a British security meeting. As Libyan rebels were flooding the streets of Tripoli on Sunday, President Obama went to the beach and then led from behind on the back nine of the Vineyard Golf Club with a buddy from Chicago. As the leader of the free world, President Obama has shown yet again that – far from leading from any direction – he has gone AWOL from his job of being Commander in Chief.