There’s an unhealthy dose of ’80s nostalgia in the media reaction to the emerging Vladimir Putin-brokered settlement of the Syrian chemical weapons attack crisis.
The punditocracy seems transfixed on Cold-War era concerns like, “Have the Russians made our president look weak?” But there’s a more important takeaway from last week’s events.
The “Obama Doctrine” — or at least that part of the president’s muddled foreign policy philosophy that favors humanitarian “wars of choice” — is finished. “Tomahawk humanitarianism” has had its day. The Libyan precedent won’t be repeated — and it’s a good thing, too
New York Times columnist and armed international niceness advocate Nick Kristof called the 2011 air war in Libya one of “President Obama’s finest moments in foreign policy.” It was anything but.
Put aside the fact that the war was illegal by Obama’s own terms, expressed on the campaign trail in 2007, since it “unilaterally authorize[d] a military attack in a situation that [did] not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
Our allegedly limited “kinetic military action” in Libya — which lasted some seven months — was also a disaster in humanitarian terms.
As political scientist Alan J. Kuperman recently explained, NATO intervention “increased the duration of Libya’s civil war by about six times and its death toll by at least seven times, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors.”
Full column by Gene Healy @ http://reason.com/archives/2013/09/17/counting-the-costs-of-obamas-libya-and-s