Does Barack Obama realize he's president?

A quick note…

I caught only part of the president’s end-of-year press conference yesterday, but it happened to be the part where a reporter was asking him about whether we’d done the right thing in Libya. Here was part of his response:

Those who now argue, in retrospect, we should have left Qaddafi in there seem to forget that he had already lost legitimacy and control of his country, and we could have — instead of what we have in Libya now, we could have had another Syria in Libya now. The problem with Libya was the fact that there was a failure on the part of the entire international community — and I think that the United States has some accountability for not moving swiftly enough and underestimating the need to rebuild government there quickly — and as a consequence, you now have a very bad situation.

What struck me about this passage was when he referred to the United States losing accountability…as if he were not the one in charge of said United States’s foreign policy. Did anyone else notice that?

The full transcript of the presser can be found here. 

The president has often had a tendency to use his public statements to criticize others who won’t do what he wants as an excuse for why he can’t accomplish something (it’s never his fault). But in this instance, it was as if he were criticizing some phantom leader of America over whom he had no control.  It was such an odd construction, to me, that I actually looked back at when Qaddafi was toppled. Yup, it was on President Obama’s watch. So why didn’t he say “I think I have some accountability for not moving swiftly enough…?”

Am I missing something here?

Libby Sternberg is an Edgar-nominated novelist.