There has been so much going on this week, it's almost impossible to make sense of it all in just one column.
First of all the is the ongoing non-war in Libya. It is a non-war in which country appears to want to take control.
President Obama has made it clear that the United States will NOT be the lead dog on this sled, but that it would be a NATO operation. Neither France nor Turkey - both NATO members - agree with Obama and don't want NATO to be in charge, and it is not.
According to the Bloomberg news service:
The allies are considering a proposal, backed by France, to create a political steering committee that would oversee military operations using NATO's command structure. It would consist of the 12 nations that have committed to participating.
Oh, yeah. That will work. Why don't they just let the U.N. General Assembly run this thing?
Germany (also a NATO member) so much doesn't want NATO be in charge that it (a) abstained from voting for the non-war resolution in the U.N. Security Council; (b) has withdrawn its ships from the area to help with the no-fly zone business, and (c) has refused to help police the arms embargo against Muammar Gaddafi.
Chancellor Angela ("Ethel") Merkel oversees the strongest economy in the European Union largely due to her citizen's discipline. That lack of sense of fun and humor of most Germans is what really drove the unification of East and West Germany.
The only time Germans are suspected of having fun is during Oktoberfest which is largely attended by hordes of overweight Americans in leather shorts who (like Joe Pesci's character Vincent Gambini in "My Cousin Vinny") think they blend.
With President Obama at the helm - lashed to the helm, really - of the ship of state, the none of our allies want their fingerprints on this thing.
Remember when the French didn't do what George W. wanted? We stopped drinking French wine and renamed potatoes "Freedom" fries.
What should we do with police dogs and potato salad? Budweiser has already been sold to a Belgian firm, so they're off the hook.
That "3 AM" ad from the 2008 primary campaign finally came true. Obama started a non-war and headed off to South America. Hillary really did have to answer the phone.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes apparently let the cat out of the bag regarding how they refer to a war around Obama's White House. He told reporters aboard Air Force One that what the world was witnessing was not a war, but "kinetic military action."
The Obama Administration has apparently redefined the word "war" so that only kinetic military action using troops on the ground counts.
That is at odds with the Merriam-Webster Third Unabridged:
"A state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between political units (as states or nations)"
I think that definition fits what's going on in Libya.
For extra credit:
If, according to Dictionary.com "kinetic" is defined as "pertaining to motion," what's the antonym? Use it in a sentence which includes the word "Obama."
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, the Japanese are continuing their fight to get cooling water to those damaged reactors.
My Mull-brother-in-law sent me a link to an American blogger, Patrick McKenzie, who runs a small software company in Japan. He has a terrific idea on what you can do to help:
A few friends of mine have suggested coming to Japan to pitch in with the recovery efforts. I appreciate your willingness to brave the radiological dangers of international travel on our behalf, but that plan has little upside to it: when you get here, you're going to be a) illiterate b) unable to understand instructions and c) a productivity drag on people who are quite capable of dealing with this but will instead have to play Babysit The Foreigner.
If you're feeling compassionate and want to do something for the sake of doing something, find a charity in your neighborhood. Give it money. Tell them you were motivated to by Japan's current predicament. You'll be happy, Japan will recover quickly, and your local charity will appreciate your kindness.
Pretty good advice on many levels.