For years, liberals enjoyed blasting Pres. George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing,” the 49 countries he assembled before launching the war in Iraq. Despite the number of countries, these critics disparaged Bush as acting “unilaterally” — because England and Australia, with their thousands of soldiers and immense sacrifice, just didn’t count. Sure, the 43rd president went to the United Nations, but he didn’t get much credit for that, either. “How dare a president of the United States wage a war without France’s approval?” was the resounding chorus from a U.N.-enamored Left.
So it wasn’t too surprising then when President Obama decided to intervene in Libya a few months ago that the White House advertised the multilateral coalition as one of the selling points of the war — inasmuch as the administration even bothered to sell the war at all. This isn’t Iraq, Obama said, desperately trying to distance himself from the dreaded unilateralism of the Bush administration. The U.N. agrees. NATO agrees. The Arab League agrees. Obama and his liberal brain trust declared: We don’t even need to check with Congress, or, for that matter, the American public. We’re multilateral, and proud of it. France, after all, said this war was okay.
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