Welcome to the post-America world. If the last one was the American Century, this century is the one in which an internationalist president abdicates our crown as leader of the free world and shuffles America randomly into the deck of nations.
No better, no worse. No greater, no lesser.
Just a country stuck somewhere between Uganda and Uzbekistan. We come in right before Uruguay!
How painfully and awkwardly Mr. Obama steps forward and timidly flexes the mighty sword that was bequeathed to him. Even his most uninspired and uninspiring predecessors at least understood they had inherited an American legacy that was the gleaming beacon of freedom and humanity around the globe.
America was the land of true Hope — not some cynical empty promise deployed just to win a small political victory.
Even Mr. Obama’s most humble predecessors did not apologize for the great country they led. They did not bow before dictators and beg forgiveness for America’s excesses, which are but a small price to pay for actual and untidy freedom.
And they certainly were not embarrassed by the unequaled strength of our military power.
This cat got so full of the heebie-jeebies, he couldn’t split town fast enough. No little military inconvenience would keep him from high-tailing it to Rio.
In his strange and remote announcement over the weekend of America’s war footing, Mr. Obama repeatedly said that our Navy would pummel Libya from the sea, but at no point would troops be deployed on the ground.
What kind of commander in chief unleashes America’s firepower, then immediately blunts it by informing the enemy that we are not really all that committed to this campaign. So, he tells them: Just hang on and you might survive?
That flimsy doctrine didn’t work for Jimmy Carter and it won’t work now for Mr. Obama.
Even more alarming is that Mr. Obama was clearly trying to send voters here in America a political message that he will somehow not put troops into harm’s way. He’s not embarking, he tells us, on a new war venture with unacceptable body counts.
The appalling disrespect Mr. Obama has for the military is such that he doesn’t even seem to have the slightest inkling the harm’s way he sends our Navy into, even on a mission like this.
And what now that — just three days in — we indeed do have troops on the ground, rescuing downed fighter pilots?
The only thing worse than a fuzzy mission is a fuzzy mission carried out in service of a fuzzy strategy.
Ask the new leaders of the free world — you know, the French and so on — what the objective here is and how we plan to get there, and you wind up with something more like an impressionist painting than a military strategy.
Col. Moammar Gadhafi is NOT a target, they say — even though he is the whole reason we have gotten involved.
So, yes, he IS the target.
And then there is Barack Obama, the humble internationalist, who prefers to just say he wishes Col. Gadhafi would step down. Isn’t it strange that a guy so famous for his seamless arrogance is capable of such meekness when it comes to the riches and treasures that have been built over centuries by better men before him and jealously guarded by generations?
Perhaps, then, it is not humility we see in Mr. Obama. Maybe it is such epic arrogance that he actually considers himself so far above all those who came before him and the temples to freedom they built.
• Charles Hurt’s column appears Wednesdays. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org