I see a few contradictions in the article. The author says that Obama should not pursue something rash, such as a no-fly zone in Libya, but has failed by not acting militarily. A no-fly zone is possibly the minimum in any attempt to intervene militarily. Thus, it appears the author considers the use of military force at this point to be rash, yet demands its immediate deployment.
The author says that Obama has weakened the credibility of the US by saying “[w]ith respect to our willingness to engage militarily, what I've instructed the Department of Defense as well as our State Department and all those who are involved in international affairs to examine is a full range of options. I don't want us hamstrung. I want us to be making our decisions based on what's going to be best for the Libyan people in consultation with the international community” and not subsequently intervening militarily. I think the statement is quite clear that the US is open to all options and will take into account several factors in the path is chooses. The author interprets the statement as a clear promise of intervention on behalf of the rebels.
The author argues that Obama’s foreign policy is a failure because the US’s credibility is undermined by not leading the charge for intervention in Libya. However, he simultaneously argues that Obama’s foreign policy is a failure because it tacks too closely to acquiring credibility at the expense of US interests, which are the sole purpose of US foreign policy per the author, by working too closely with the international community in an attempt to achieve legitimacy in its actions. This says that credibility is both important and useless.
It’s not clear what the interests of the US are according this author. He implies that both credibility and military intervention are in the interest of the US, yet also says these are meaningless and rash, respectively.
Personally, as much as I would like to see Qaddafi’s reign end, any president willing to impose a no-fly zone must also be willing to accept the high risk of a full fledged military intervention. It’s naïve to suggest the US can simply impose a no-fly zone or arm rebels with no greater consequences. Considering the state of the budget, economy, and the prolonged and rather hopeless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I prefer a prudent foreign policy that thinks before it acts. This is also not taking into account the various other countries of the Middle East, particularly those oil-rich states allied with the US. The Saudi’s have sent forces into Bahrain, yet there is no clamor for the US to intervene against them. If the US intervenes in Libya should it also intervene in Bahrain? If not, will the Saudi’s then be fearful of a US intervention on behalf of rebels in its territory, for instance? These are difficult questions and I think they should be treated as such.