Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Military Intervention, the National Interest and the American Left

The idiotic, open-ended intervention in Libya is another one in a long string of such interventions by the American left.  As The Diplomad has said repeatedly, that left will only support the idea (we'll come back to that) of the use of American military power in situations with no vital, tangible, or even remotely understandable U.S. national interests.  If there are real U.S. interests at stake, e.g., stopping Saddam, removing Castro, putting Chavez into a box, resisting the Sandinistas, helping El Salvador and Colombia fight vicious communist thugs, putting missiles into Europe, rescuing Grenada from Castro, or destroying the Soviet Union, the American liberal is against intervention.  The liberal "supports" interventions into places such as Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, and, now, Libya.

I write "supports" because the liberal is for the idea of intervention but always with so many caveats, limitations, and conditions, that success, however defined, becomes more and more difficult.  In addition, once the United States, the world's preeminent military power, intervenes in a military crisis, even if there were no U.S. interests before that intervention, U. S. national interests get created by the intervention. Yes, once we intervene, committing our people, treasure, and prestige, we have a national interest in obtaining success. We now have to win, and the other side has to lose, or our enemies around the world will be emboldened to act against us.  Once that interest in victory emerges, liberal support for the intervention drops off; the most dramatic cases, of course, being Vietnam and Somalia.  Then, we find, that U.S. interests must be opposed and undermined.  If this Libyan adventure drags on, we will see that phenomenon emerge again.

1 comment:

  1. To put it less professionally (or rather in the terms of a different set of professions), once you've got skin in the game, you've got skin in the game.

    I've quoted you and linked to you here: