Obama's Libya Response: Too Much, or Too Slow?
Michael Kinsley thinks the former, Jonah Goldberg, the latter
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2011 1:21 PM CDT
President Obama speaks at the La Moneda Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile, Monday, March 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – Today's op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times illustrates how President Obama is taking flak from both sides over his Libya decision:

  • Not fast enough: Jonah Goldberg thinks Obama blew it by not acting in the early days of Libya's unrest, when a "small intervention" such as bribing military officers might have been enough to topple Gadhafi. In basketball lingo, Obama should have used a "fast break," he argues. "But such an approach would have required America to run down the court alone, out ahead of its allies and the international community. For Obama the multilateralist, that would have been too much unilateral hot-dogging." Full column here.

  • Way too much: Michael Kinsley thinks the US—and make no mistake, the onus is on America despite the UN resolution—overreached, again. Gadhafi may be nuts, but he was "defanged" long ago, and his government is tyrannical but not as bad as others in the region. "Was there nothing we could have done between sitting on our hands and launching something close to all-out war?" Yes, the same thing we did for Eastern Europe, which helped it win the Cold War: Offer "verbal support and financial support for dissidents and democrats. Make clear which side we're on, but without overpromising." It's not as sexy a strategy, but it was good enough to beat communism. Full column here.