Barack Obama may be president because he criticized the invasion of Iraq. Leftish Democrats assumed he was one of them, opposed to military intervention. Instead, he followed George W. Bush’s lead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the national security state.
Still, President Obama appears to be a cautious hawk. So was National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, newly replaced by Susan Rice.
In contrast, Rice is an enthusiastic advocate humanitarian intervention: basically, Washington should intervene when it is not in America’s interest to do so.
There are lots of problems with the doctrine, including what criteria govern? Why no military crusade against North Korea? Or against the brutal victors in Kosovo and Rwanda?
Humanitarian intervention always is messier than advertised. And, as I pointed out on National Interest:
Intervention advocates almost never help prosecute “their” wars. Promiscuous crusaders like former Vice President Richard Cheney always seem to have “other priorities” as they advocate sending others to fight and die. Moral satisfaction comes easily while treating military personnel like gambit pawns in a global chess game.
Rice has advocated military intervention in Liberia, Sudan, and Libya. Although she said little publicly on Syria, she apparently favored providing arms to insurgents there. In this she reportedly was joined by Secretary Kerry and Susan Power, who replaced Rice at the UN.
This is unfortunate, since Syria is a textbook example of a war America should avoid.
Before the president takes Rice’s advice, he should reflect on his predecessor’s fate. Else Barack Obama, too, may find his administration remembered primarily for a disastrous and unnecessary war.
Read the rest here.