On Friday, the White House announced sanctions targeting the Qaddafi regime (I’m going with the White House spelling of Qaddafi’s name). Jay Carney then briefed the White House press corps, assuring the assembled multitude that there was a lot of consultation, coordination, and cooperation going on:
The President spoke today with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey to coordinate our efforts to respond to developments in Libya and to ensure appropriate accountability. In his call with President Erdogan [sic], and his separate calls with President Sarkozy of France, President — Prime Minister, rather, Cameron of the United Kingdom, and Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy yesterday, the President explained the unilateral measures that the United States is implementing, and noted his desire to coordinate on measures that our allies are considering. He will continue these consultations to build international consensus for strong measures in the days to come.
If you stayed awake through that, you would also have learned that beyond consultation, coordination, and cooperation, there was also some serious monitoring going on:
The United Nations Human Rights Council held an emergency session today in Geneva where it adopted by consensus a resolution that condemned the gross and systematic human rights abuses now being committed by the government of Libya; established an international commission of inquiry to investigate these abuses; and recommended accountable — accountability measures for those responsible; and also recommended that the U.N. General Assembly suspend Libya’s membership on the Council. The United States strongly supports these efforts, and is already closely working with our international partners to carry out this suspension, which will be acted on by the General Assembly early next week.
In addition, as the President announced earlier this week, Secretary Clinton will travel to Geneva on Monday to speak at the Human Rights Council and to discuss with her international counterparts further measures on Libya, as well as events in the broader Middle East.
On Monday, the President will meet with U.N. Security — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington and will discuss the diplomatic, legal and other actions needed to put a stop to violence against civilians in Libya. He will also discuss the range of activities that U.N. agencies and the international community can undertake to address the significant humanitarian needs created by this crisis.
The United States is involved in ongoing negotiations today at the UNSC — the U.N. Security Council — on a resolution that could include a weapons embargo, individual sanctions against key Libyan officials, and an asset freeze.
Finally, the United States is utilizing the full extent of its intelligence capabilities to monitor the Qaddafi regime’s actions, and we are particularly vigilant for evidence of further violence or atrocities committed against the Libyan people.
Yesterday, President Obama made news with a phone call to Angela Merkel yesterday. USA Today has posted the White House readout of the call, making it clear that President Obama had concluded it was now time for Qaddafi to leave:
The President spoke today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, as he has done with many of his international counterparts this week, to discuss the situation in Libya and coordinate our urgent efforts to respond to developments and ensure appropriate accountability.
The President and the Chancellor shared deep concerns about the Libyan government’s continued violation of human rights and brutalization of its people.
The President stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.
The leaders reaffirmed their support for the Libyan people’s demand for universal rights and a government that is responsive to their aspirations, and agreed that Gadhafi’s government must be held accountable.
They discussed appropriate and effective ways for the international community to respond. The President welcomed ongoing efforts by our allies and partners, including at the United Nations and by the European Union, to develop and implement strong measures.
Do have here the making of an Obama doctrine? “[W]hen a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.” It’s not too judgmental, not too American. It leaves a lot to be desired, but perhaps it is a work in progress.
JOHN adds: I am sure Col. Qadaffi will give President Obama’s opinion that he needs to resign all the deference it deserves. Meanwhile, it seems a little late in the day for a weapons embargo, as Qadaffi’s regime already has all the weapons it needs. Joe LIeberman suggested that instead, we provide weapons to Qaddafi’s opponents. But I think we can assume that the Obama Doctrine, whatever it might be, includes nothing as bold as that.
SCOTT adds: Reader Joshua Stern comments on the possibility that the statement represents an Obama doctrine, fleshing out my thought that the doctrine is a little lacking:
Which may mean that it is exactly right for an Obama doctrine.
First, violence is a necessary tool of statecraft, indeed of the state.
But even if you would take issue with that, what could it mean:
“only” means …
“mass” violence …
against “his own people” …
These are all weasel words and hard to parse in practice.
Otherwise, what of three foreign agents who come to the capitol to kill the leader?
If they were his people, would they be protesting?
Was Abraham Lincoln then a bad president, who should have stepped down?
I don’t ever want to hear Obama’s opinion on anything at all, in his role as president I want to hear what he is doing about things, or at least what they mean for the USA.
Did FDR ever suggest that Hitler “should step down”?
And of course none of that addresses what might come next, if Khaddifi did step down.
Is there an app for that?
The doctrine is silent, I would say as a matter of doctrine, on that point.