We do not have an in fact unresolved history of war with Syria or Assad as we did with Iraq/Saddam, and we operate from greater confidence in regard to terrorist threats than in the early 2000s. If this confidence is misplaced, it is something that will have to be proved to us before we embark upon some new improved version of a newly vindicated Bush Doctrine.
The Libya decision will be revealed, predictably, to have been a very American decision – instrumentalizing military force on behalf of political-economic popular sovereignty (i.e., “freedom”) against a vulnerable tyranny, in cooperation with allies, with “respect for the opinions of mankind.” It entailed risks and real human costs while shifting them from one group to another – as would every other decision. It may even have been the “wrong” decision from other perspectives. If so, that conclusion would not necessarily imply that there was a simply “right” or “better” decision to be made, or that the American president can be asked or expected to give every or any other perspective higher or equal priority.
Just by virtue of occupying a different spot on the globe; of possessing a different culture, history, economy; and simply of being in the position of client, the newly democratized and liberalized state would naturally develop differences with its American sponsor.
From the old imperialist perspective, recognition of this inescapable fact would introduce certain simple pragmatic considerations. Some potentially valuable clients or territories would have to be ruled directly to prevent them from straying too far. Others would be deemed impractical for any form of conquest, but might need to be neutralized or denied to competitors.
The ideology of the neo-imperialist or liberal-democratic hegemonist transforms all such calculations – at least in the missionary’s own mind.
Officer Bolton thinks Obama has already “bungled” Libya, but an even better sign for U.S. foreign policy is that Douglas Feith, with Seth Cropsey, has taken to the pages of Commentary to define and indict the entirety of the “Obama…
Am about to disappear into Lakerdom – either a further descent into tedious misery, a temporary revival on the way to even deeper misery, or the Turning Point we’ve been waiting for and falsely identifying this whole desperately non-compelling season…