On the eve of a possible war in Libya, the major players on the world stage have taken their turns and staked out their positions. Yet many players have postured themselves in ways that seem to be reversals of their usual roles. This shift in global strategy is largely the domino effect of a shift in American self-identity under President Obama, and an omen of the future under his new foreign policy for America. The United Nations: Though espousing lofty principles of international peace and security, the UN has largely proved an ineffective millstone around the worlds neck over the past half-century. As recently as January 2011, a UN report uncritically praised Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafis human rights record. Of course, the UN body issuing the report included Syria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and the dictatorial junta of Myanmar. Pots apparently dont call kettles black in the international community. Yet the UN corrected course with surprising alacrity once the North African revolutions reached Libyas shores and Gaddafi departed from the peaceful precedent of his fellow dictators. The General Assembly quickly suspended Libya from the Human Rights Council, and the Security Council has now authorised a no-fly zone and all necessary measures to protect Libyan civilians. The Arab League: No friend to Western incursions into the once-and-future Caliphate, the Arab Leagues surprising excommunication of Libya galvanised the international diplomatic process. Western nations demonstrated an early sentiment of deference to regional desires (hoping opposition from Muslim countries would justify Western inaction). However, after a whirlwind of back-room, hashish-scented negotiations spanning two continents, the Arab League formally petitioned the UN for military options. Thanks to unexpected Arabian decisiveness, the West was again in the spotlight. And two Arab states have already volunteered to participate in military operations under the UN resolution. France and Great Britain: One might rightly expected a certain spiritedness from dutiful, stiff-upper-lipped Britons, but the usually disobliging and ever-preoccupied French have proved downright neo-con hawkish. From the beginning, France was way out in front of the international crowd rallying for military intervention. Having failed (due to Russian and German opposition) to convert the first G8 meeting into a springboard for action in Libya, France soldiered on with British confraternity and successfully lobbied for UN commitments. France rejoined Gaddafis threat to launch an all-out assault within hours of the UN resolution by promising that French-led, British-supported air strikes would be ready to meet his challenge. While this French zeal for leadership arose partially to soothe Frances wounded pride following a fumbled performance in Tunisia, it was made possible by Americas abdication of the helm. Germany and Russia: Having been on the wrong side of nearly every major conflict in the last century, Germany and Russia consistently opposed intervention. On the eve of the UN resolution vote as Gaddafis forces descended for a bloodbath on the final bastion of resistance in Benghazi Germany sought to sway the international community toward impotent economic and legal sanctions. While Russia deflected on the pretence of cautiously desiring (ever-more) assurances, Germany simply rebuked any path which might lead to German troop involvement and actually refused for a time to choose sides between Gaddafi and the rebels. Ultimately, Germany and Russia were among the five countries on the 15-nation Security Council to oppose the no-fly zone by abstaining from the vote (China, India and Brazil rounding-out the dissent). Just for good measure, Germany reiterated that it would boycott all military operations preferring to watch from the sidelines with their Russian comrades. The United States: Americas approach may charitably be defined as a reflective, moderate middle-path between France and Britain, on one side, and Germany and Russia, on the other. A more critical assessment would define it as schizophrenic, unprincipled and irresponsible. Americas egregiously belated response to the Libyan crisis was justified by the White House as necessary diplomacy to ensure the safe evacuation of US citizens. That pretext having passed, President Obama lethargically and feebly endorsed the rebels while shying away from any form of decisive global intervention. Obama scheduled meetings to discuss the matter further. Only after weeks of civil war, when the democratic rebels neared extermination, were foreign nations able to persuade America to fully support the UN resolution. Obama then adopted powerful language suggesting America had scored a victory. Obama attempted to delay taking sides in Egypt until a victor emerged, and has now extended his dithering so far as to await the leadership of others even when America has staked her claim. The Arab League petitioned the UN while France and Britain championed the cause of human rights because the Leader of the Free World was AWOL. The result of Obamas post-American foreign policy, which treats America as just another inconsequential player on the global scene, is that other nations have taken note and acted accordingly. Senator Marco Rubio asked a question Thursday which should have been obviously satirical, but now seems to be the exasperating reality of Obamas new world order: So if Russia doesnt care and China doesnt care and we care but wont do anything about it, whos it up to, the French? USA Today