FauxPolitik

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

To intervene or not: Mark Steyn has a very good column on this question. He makes it clear that this would be no months long intervention, more like Bosnia where we still are putting troops in harms way. But he also makes the "imperialist" case.
I’m an imperialist, and right now no one could use a little imperialism more than Africa. The British insertion into Sierra Leone was a good thing; Ivory Coast is on balance better off with the French on the ground. Why shouldn’t the Americans also have a little piece of the West African mosquito swamp? If a couple of thousand Marines can ‘stabilise’ Liberia, for a great power to deny them seems, as William F. Buckley put it, ‘parochial’.
But the issue is as much political as it is moral, and the comparison to Iraq is telling.
Likewise, Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean of Vermont. ‘I opposed the war in Iraq because it was the wrong war at the wrong time,’ says Governor Dean. But Liberia’s the right war any time: ‘Military intervention in Liberia represents an appropriate use of American power.’ And unlike that desert mess, Dean confidently predicts that US troops would ‘stabilise the situation and remain in Liberia for no more than several months’.
I'm sure there's an argument to be made that Liberia is of national interest to the U.S., though whether it rises to the level of military intervention is debateable. But I don't thnk any of the pols calling for troops to go in are much concerned with that interest. They're interested in votes, specifically those from hawks that think they're a bunch of wimps and those garnered by getting the Congessional Black Caucus' endorsement. Obviously, a similar criticism can be made of Bush and Iraq (of course there were political ramifications - pro and con). But the national interest argument, though poorly made, was certainly much stonger in that case.

Glenn also has a point to make.

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