LIBERAL FOREIGN POLICY

Echoing John Hawkins, Charles Krauthammer is curious as to why many Democrats oppose wars that promote US national security but love to intervene in failed states:

There are the usual suspects, Jesse Jackson and the New York Times, but the most unapologetic proponent of the no-Iraq/yes-Liberia school is Howard Dean, Democratic flavor of the month. “I opposed the war in Iraq because it was the wrong war at the wrong time,” says Dean, but “military intervention in Liberia represents an appropriate use of American power.”

Why? In terms of brutality, systematic repression, number of killings, relish for torture and sum total of human misery caused, Charles Taylor is a piker next to Saddam Hussein. That is not to say that Taylor is a better man. It is only to say that in his tiny corner of the world with no oil resources and no scientific infrastructure for developing instruments of mass murder, Taylor has neither the reach nor the power to wreak Hussein-class havoc. What is it that makes liberals such as Dean, preening their humanitarianism, so antiwar in Iraq and so pro-intervention in Liberia?

Krauthammer’s answer is essentially Hawkins’ as well:

The only conclusion one can draw is that for liberal Democrats, America’s strategic interests are not just an irrelevance, but also a deterrent to intervention. This is a perversity born of moral vanity. For liberals, foreign policy is social work. National interest — i.e., national selfishness — is a taint. The only justified interventions, therefore, are those that are morally pristine, namely, those that are uncorrupted by any suggestion of national interest.

Once again, the paid pundits are behind the blogosphere. I guess posting only twice a week has its price.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Norbizness says:

    Nothing like speciously assuming a certain “liberal foreign policy” paradigm, and then ascribing it to Howard Dean.

    You can just as easily re-cast the desire to assist (not lead) in Liberia as one of international legitimacy and peace-keeping, in that Liberia is in the middle of a civil war to which the UN has already responded. I would assume that there is some national security value in maintaining alliances and procuring goodwill on a neglected continent.

    I don’t think it has to do with the relative brutality of the two regimes. Of course, hacks like Krauthammer are eager to shift the focus of the debate as it becomes increasingly obvious that Iraq had little-to-nothing to do with national interest.

  2. I would assume that there is some national security value in maintaining alliances and procuring goodwill on a neglected continent.

    Just because the Middle East isn’t a neglected area doesn’t mean there isn’t national security value…your reasoning is specious at best. After all, Iraq had been the focus of more than 12 years of UN focus before we finally went in.

    At any rate, Dean and Co. make no effort to explain their reasoning behind supporting Liberia but not Iraq. To give, “military intervention in Liberia represents an appropriate use of American power” as a reason is simply ludicrous, since no determination on what constitutes appropriate use of American power exists in the first place.

  3. But Krauthammer gets paid. Hawkins gets pennies from weblog ads.