Pulling back for a second from the debate over whether the U.S. should intervene in Libya, the process by which the actual international response unfolded is cause for optimism. Among the big-puzzle pieces that shifted, I see the following:
- The U.S. as "law-abiding" global actor. President Barack Obama has already taken hits for indecisiveness and worse, but the fact that the administration held firm on multilateral mandates highlights its commitment to a multipartner world.
- France and Britain as European security guarantors in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. It remains to be seen how involved NATO will become in the intervention, but the fact that the driving powers behind the U.N. resolution were France and Britain augurs well for the U.S. reducing its profile as global security provider.