May 14, 2011

Obama toughness and voters

I have this nagging suspicion that President Obama has two reasons to go long on war.  He has to prove to a doubtful electorate that he's a tough guy, that's he's not squeamish when it comes to flexing American muscle.  That killing Bin Laden thing has been a bright spot on an otherwise disjointed abysmal record.  He needs a Second Act. He may also have that starve-the-beast mentality towards the military: stretch them so thin with entanglements that there's a collapse in effectiveness and perhaps support for that type of spending.  

Why would he want that? Well, he really isn't a gung ho hoo-rah type.  He's a bow to the Saudi King type.  He's an apologist.  And he doesn't want to spend as much on the military as he has.  He'd rather collapse that budget and add that money into some sort of community activist objective (like Obamacare).  If the military breaks down he has an argument about the need to pull back because the U.S. is overextended and that it helps with balancing the budget deficits.  Flawed though that thinking may be, it may be the thinking.  Along the lines of those twin goals comes this story from the AP:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. and NATO will continue military operations in Libya as long as Moammar Gadhafi keeps attacking his people, the White House said Friday as top U.S. officials met in Washington with leaders of the Libyan opposition.

President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon, met at the White House with a delegation from the Libyan Transitional National Council, including top representative Mahmoud Jibril. While the U.S. stopped short of recognizing the Council as Libya's legitimate government, as France and Italy have done, the White House said in a statement following the meeting that the Council is a "credible interlocutor of the Libyan people."

Obama did not meet with the opposition leaders.

The meetings come as a deadline nears on the 60-day window Obama has to keep the U.S. military involved in the Libya campaign without congressional approval. While lawmakers do not appear likely to enforce the limits outlined in the War Powers Resolution, U.S. officials said they are looking for ways to keep U.S. action in Libya in compliance.

White House spokesman Jay Carney offered no specifics Friday on how the U.S. planned to do that, only saying that officials were, "in regular communications with Congress and that will continue."
An open-ended Libya. Syria will be next.

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