The past week and a half has been tough for right-wing critics of President Obama’s foreign policy. Aside from the fact that the President’s decision to get Osama bin Laden pretty much put an end to the absurd neocon mockery of “leading from behind,” when it comes to killing the world’s most wanted terrorist leader, there’s really not much substantively one can get worked up over.
So how does a neocon criticize Obama now? There’s been some torture promotion and grumbling about the White House’s decision to not release dead bin Laden photos. But a pattern appears to be emerging on the right: chatter among the neocons that getting bin Laden means that this is perhaps time for the U.S. to go out guns blazing in the Middle East. Enter Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer last night on Fox News:
KRISTOL: I really hope the Obama administration sort of takes advantage of the moment and takes advantage of the momentum and really goes strong against our enemies. We could have a good few months in the Middle East despite places like Pakistan not being solved overnight. [...]
KRAUTHAMMER: [Obama] can make an argument and I think he will that this success shows how we’re winning and we can reduce our foot print. It’s a very stark choice — use it to accelerate and to increase the pressure on the enemies, our enemies.
So Kristol and Krauthammer suggest that killing bin Laden presents a great opportunity for the U.S. to project its military might in the region. But potential GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty took this line of thinking a bit further last weekend. Seeming to have the bin Laden raid on the mind, Pawlenty attacked Obama for not doing the same thing with Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is exploring a run for president, said he would have used U.S. forces to remove Moammar Gadhafi rather than just bomb Libya as President Obama has done.
“I would tell Gadhafi he’s got X number of days to get his affairs in order and go or we’re going to go get him,” Pawlenty said in an interview with the Tribune-Review on Friday.
Now that Obama got bin Laden, it seems all conservatives really have on the President is that he’s not killing more people.