President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Libya from his vacation on Martha

From Alister Bull, ReutersPresident Barack Obama hopes the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi shows his brand of foreign policy worked in Libya and can succeed elsewhere — but the model may be hard to reproduce. . . .

"In the past there had been questions about the ability of President Obama specifically, and Democrats in general, on national security," said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. "We are assembling a very strong record, national security record … of keeping America safe," he said.

The Obama administration does not use the word "doctrine," Rhodes said, but does think his multilateral approach is working, and has also reinforced confidence in NATO’s ability to tackle such missions. . . .

Michele Dunne, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said she saw Libya as something of a special case that will be hard to repeat elsewhere.

"I think there were some particular circumstances that allowed this approach to succeed in Libya but I’m not sure it is a approach that can be successfully generalized," Dunne said. "I’m not sure, in dealing with the situation in Syria, that leading from behind would work. It seems the United States is — slowly — leading there. . . ."

Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said a multilateral approach could help share costs but also risked poor coordination between coalition members.

Obama also deserved less credit for the fall of Gaddafi that his counterparts in London or Paris, and would get less of a boost as a result, Biddle said. "Leading from behind? It was more like being pulled along from behind."  (photo: Kevin/Lamarque/Reuters)