Emmett Tyrrell

NEW YORK -- Monday night, I attended a public policy discussion sponsored, not surprisingly, by The American Spectator; I say not surprisingly because I have been attending these meetings for roughly 30 years and always come away with fresh ideas. They are meant to ventilate ideas, and now that a presidential election is drawing near, we are inviting presidential candidates as our special guests to float their ideas by our assembled luminaries. At any rate, Monday night, while President Barack Obama was addressing the nation on the causes and consequences of his involvement in Libya, I listened to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty cross that very same terrain. The dinner was off the record, but I do not believe that I betray any confidences when I say Pawlenty's discourse was very different from that of our president.


He is proud and confident of America's role in the world, unlike our president. The former governor began speaking of American national security. At times, we must project force on behalf of American national interests, and Pawlenty was proud of our military's professionalism, competence and readiness. He continued, speaking about "American exceptionalism." He sees America as blessed, a shining city on a hill. We have obligations in the world. Pawlenty says we need to get rid of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, but Obama will not get rid of him.

I thought of that the next morning when I read of our shilly-shallying president's rationale for establishing a no-fly zone in Libya without the support of Congress. He said he will work to remove Gadhafi from power in concert with our allies. He will not use force but rather political and financial power. Well, what if that is not enough? Obama has enraged a dangerous man armed with an arsenal of weaponry, and he has barred himself from eliminating him. Is that wise?

"The burden of action should not be America's alone," he said. "Our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action, because, contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone." Well, what if the international community will not be mobilized? In fact, what if there is no international community? What then? Well, America apparently will dither.

Gadhafi has forced one truth out in the open for which we should be grateful. The world community is nonexistent. The world of nations and of peoples shares no values, certainly no values that are difficult to enforce. All the world likes blue skies and sunny days, but who can doubt that out there in the world, there exist grumpy people who do not like blue skies and sunny days?

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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