Skip to comments.Foreign Policy as Wishful Thinking
Posted on 03/21/2011 12:23:04 PM PDT by La Lydia
The current military intervention in Libya by the West has been marketed with the claim that its purpose, as French President Sarkozy put it, is to protect the civilian population from the murderous madness of a regime that has forfeited all claim to legitimacy. Behind this humanitarian idealism, however, lurk a host of questions and dangers, reflecting wishful thinking rather than a prudent foreign policy.
First we should acknowledge that the intervention is an American show. The French and British, and perhaps a few Arab nations like Qatar, may provide some warplanes and a few missiles, but the bulk of the materiel and intelligence assets that makes such attacks possible is American. Thus the U.N. Security Council resolution and the participation of NATO serve to give a patina of internationalism to an American action. This fact should remind us, particularly those who are proponents of internationalist and multilateralist idealism, that the United States, not any international institution or coalition, is the worlds peacekeeper responsible for maintaining the global order that makes possible the globalized economy enriching everybody else. Given that the U.S. is shouldering most of the costs and risks, then, our interests and security should be the primary reason for our participation.
Next, all talk of humanitarian idealism aside, national self-interest is the key determinant of NATO and Arab League participation. Back in 2003, the French werent so keen for the much more difficult and costly task of getting rid of Saddam Hussein and the murderous madness of his regime, one whose toll of torture, murder, and terrorism vastly outstripped the grisly record of Muammar Gaddafi. Too many French leaders had profited too long from their cozy friendship with the Butcher of Baghdad, buying his oil and selling him advanced weaponry. But now the French have calculated that they can obtain some international prestige on the cheap, given that the U.S. will once again carry most of the load and in the end take most of the blame if things go south. As for the Arab League, their true intentions have become obvious from League spokesman Amr Moussas condemnation of the airstrikes because they have led to the deaths and injuries of many Libyan civilians, parroting Gaddafis propaganda. Apparently what the Arab League supported was the appearance of action without its necessary consequences. And it takes considerable cheek for regimes that brutalize their own people on a regular basis to call for the removal of Gaddafi because he brutalizes his own people.
The lesson here is one George Washington understood: No nation can be trusted farther than it is bounded by its interests. So what are the national and security interests of the United States in this intervention? The received wisdom of Republican and Democratic foreign policy alike is that support for brutal dictators in the long run tarnishes our prestige and harms our interests by squelching the democratic aspirations of the oppressed. In the Middle East particularly, this democracy deficit has empowered the jihadists who turn to a debased form of Islam in compensation for a lack of freedom. Removing these oppressive autocrats thus will clear space for incipient democratic movements to create regimes founded on liberal democratic principles of freedom, tolerance, human rights, and the rest. And our efforts to liberate oppressed Muslims will buy us their affection and support, further eroding the appeal of jihadism and making us more secure from terror....
State Department policy - “Let’s just throw some sh-t out there and see what happens.”
I think you are overestimating our State Department.
Just spreading the hopey-changey thing around.
Samantha Power is an unelected official, who with the help of one elected official (Hilary Clinton) influenced POTUS to breach US Constitution on behalf of foreign party.
Criminal enterprise? Treason? You name it.
Beneficiary of the military action secured by Samatha Power and Hilary Clinton are AQ operatives in Mediterannean.
Acccording to the captured intel in Iraq, 20% of AQ volunteers are from eastern Libyan tribes.
United States aids AQ in Libya. This is the background for Barry the Golfer running to Rio. He does know what is going on, but is too weak to confront them.
Once again, a situation raises the question of whether our country is being driven into a ditch deliberately, or because of incompetence. That seems to be a continuing debate during the BO administration.
Excellent analysis.Our own vital interests should be the sole driving force for what we do militarily.
Western Europe is very facile in moving the US military quickly to the tip of the spear to protect their vital interests. And Libya is more of a point of European vital interests than it is to the US.We need to get out of NATO and force Western Europe to spend their own money on their military resources to handle the Bosnias, Serbias, Kosovos and Libyas on their own. They can start by requiring Germany to stop avoiding participation by changing their Constitution to allow them to participate in offensive wars.WWII has been over for 60 years.
President Obama has been played. He cannot define what vital interest the US has in Libya.
Doesn’t the Clinton doctrine say that the only time we CAN use our military is when we have NO national interests at stake?
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