Advancing a Free Society

Obama’s Holbrooke Moment

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The right thing, at last. The cavalry arrived in the nick of time. Help came as Moammar Gadhafi's loyalists were at the gates of the free city of Benghazi. There was no mystery in the fate that awaited them. The despot had pretty much said what he intended. He would hunt down those who had found the courage to stand up to him, show them no mercy and no pity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had seemed particularly obtuse. A decent opposition had coalesced in Benghazi—judges and teachers, businessmen and former members of the Ghadafi regime who wanted to cleanse the shame of their association with the tyranny. Rather than embrace them, rather than give them the diplomatic recognition that France would come to grant them, the secretary of state of the pre- eminent liberal power worried aloud that we didn't know this opposition, that there were "opportunists" within their ranks. And to cap it all, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper took away from the uprising the slender hope that it could still hold back the tide. The despot, he said, out in the open for one and all to hear, was destined to prevail. We don't yet have the details of what can be called the Holbrooke moment—after the late diplomat Richard Holbrooke who all but dragged a reluctant Bill Clinton into Bosnia in 1995.

Continue reading Fouad Ajami’s Wall Street Journal op-ed…

(photo credit: US Embassy Kabul Afghanistan)