CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: The administration’s pathetic, dithering response to the Arab uprisings has been both cynical and naive.

I think what we’re seeing is a sort of John Birmingham-lite scenario. In Birmingham’s page-turner books Without Warning and After America, the mysterious disappearance of most of the United States causes all sorts of economic and security chaos to unfold, once America is no longer there to keep the lid on things.

Whether deliberately or accidentally, the Obama Administration has substantially reduced the United States’ military and economic leverage over the past couple of years. The result is that we’re seeing a lot of stuff bust loose. America hasn’t vanished. We’ve just become, as Hitchens says, about as important as Switzerland.

UPDATE: The CNN folks just emailed me a transcript from Candy Crowley’s State of the Union, — sorry, not online yet — but here’s a key bit from John McCain:

CROWLEY: You sound slightly critical, if I’m reading between the lines, of the Obama administration kind of holding back on its criticism of Libya, administration officials tell us because they were worried that Americans in Libya would be taken hostage or worse.

MCCAIN: Well, the British prime minister and the French president and others were not hesitant and they have citizens in that country.

America leads. America is — here we’ve been to these countries and every place we go they are looking to America for leadership, for assistance, for moral support and ratification of the sacrifices they have made in defense of democracy. America should lead.

The president should reverse the terrible decision he made in 2009 to not support the demonstrators in Tehran. Stand up for democracy in Iran and tell those people that we are with them. And that should be true not only throughout the Arab countries but as far as china and other parts of the world as well.

Emphasis added. Looking, but not finding.