Shining City on the Hill

President Obama this week:

We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Mizrata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.

Unless, of course, those people live in Sudan, Darfur, Somalia, Congo…

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Gary

Random gibberish from my mind, mostly dealing with technology, cooking, politics, and my family. Occasional cat posts - be warned.

7 thoughts on “Shining City on the Hill”

    1. 2011: “The world will not sit idly by while more innocent civilians are killed…. We are standing with the people of Libya, and we will not waver in our efforts to protect them.”

      2007: “We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves.”

  1. “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
    –Sen. Barack Obama, Dec. 20, 2007

  2. Come on, that point is just … silly. How about being glad that an American president has finally acted on behalf of democracy, the people, and the weak and unarmed, against a crafty despot who has ruined his country politically for thirty years? Perhaps it won’t be such a c++kup as the least effort (Iraq invasion). But however difficult it may be to rescue the people of various tyrannies, sooner or later the moral demand must be met in the 21st Century, where it can be. Obama has made it pretty clear he is very aware of the difficulties of getting involved in any such situation, post Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and doesn’t need them pointed out. He won’t get more involved unless he can see a quick resolution, and those are hard to come by. But to point out other places where American presidents have cooperated with tyrants rather than rescue their serfs is no argument against trying in places to an extent where at least American interests don’t have to be sacrificed. Lets hope they are not in this case. But a country which uses a third of the world’s energy resources each year has some kind of noblesse oblige to devote its huge military to policing the world, if it can be done effectively. Bush and his gang didn’t understand what they were dealing with, and that seems to be often the case with American military adventures, but surely it is learning. Obviously it will pick and choose. It doesn’t have the power to succeed in many places. But to save the rebels in Libya from air power and from tanks is a worthy limited intervention, it would seem. Or do you imagine like some critics that they include Al Quaeda? That danger is why he wont arm them. But the moral responsibility to intervene to prevent genocide has been too long evaded by the US, as Samantha Powers has shown in her book. We should do it where we can. The fact we cant do it everywhere is no reason not to do it where we can. Hope you can agree.

    1. I just find the rhetoric amusing. “Wherever bad things happen, we will be there” is easily disproven, yet they keep using the same terminology, decade after decade. And people continue to believe it.

      1. Well, I understand. Hollow rhetoric. But let’s applaud do gooders for their effort, even if it is tied perforce to simpleminded rhetoric and our interest in getting enough oil to run our SUVs, the ones that haven’t toppled over and killed us. By the way, did you hear that there is enough wind off Scotland’s shore to run the entire UK economy, and enough sun in the Algerian desert to run the entire world economy? If any of this boosts energy development in that direction (and geothermal, which already runs 10% of the Phillippine economy) against the propaganda that it isn’t economical yet so we shouldn’t try to replace oil just yet, it is worthwhile. But to be honest I don’t really hear that rhetoric you refer to much. The US has withdrawn or passed on too many interventions to support it, surely. Anyhow, let’s remember that only a few decades ago the US really tried to be very helpful around the world and did so eg the Peace Corps and the Peace Corps mentality. It’s a pity that Vietnam ruined it, though the Peace Corps still exists, as far as I know. The basic lesson I suppose is that violence never works to change anything in another culture. They say that about the Civil War. As soon as they had to make a deal and remove the Federal troops from the Soubt you had Jim Crow for 100 years. But military intervention in another culture remains the puzzle of the 21st Century to me – there is a moral impetus to replace tyranny with democracy, but every time we try we get burned. Excuse the long post.

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