The uneven application of force
The United States of America is supposed to be a beacon of freedom. As such, foreign policy debate often serves as a platform regarding the use of force, supposedly to make another nation free. Such was the thought processes many used to justify going into Iraq. The same is true of activity in Libya. However, why are we so generally uneven with our use of force?
Prior to going into Iraq, I heard a number of people say that we must remove Saddam from power, that he was a threat and therefore the loss of American lives was justified. So, understanding that this nation must defend itself, I asked why are we not looking at North Korea? After all, Kim Jung Il has nuclear weapons and isn’t exactly what one would call “mentally stable”. That’s far worse than the chemical weapons Saddam allegedly had (and, for the record, I believed they were there too). I was told that fighting North Korea would be to costly in terms of causalities. Really? So causalities is justified for one instance but not another? Interesting.
Fast forward to today. Syria and Libya are both in the midst of revolution. Libya’s started as a peaceful movement, like so many throughout the Middle East this year…including Syria. It turned violent, and the United States began flying missions in support of the new revolutionaries. Meanwhile, in Syria, the violence from the government has escalated with no mention of military intervention. It’s not like we don’t already have assets in the region.
There are two schools of thought that pro-liberty folks can often espouse. One is that we shouldn’t engage in military action unless directly attacked. The other is that it’s justified to intervene against a totalitarian regime if you intend to make the people there free. However, the reasoning needs to be applied evenly. If you are going after someone because he’s a tyrant, then go after all tyrants. I can live with that to some extent. If you’re not weighing in on an internal matter in a foreign land, then stick with that.
Of course, it’s funny how Syria’s oil production has been declining while Libya’s value as an oil export point hasn’t changed. I’m sure that had nothing to do with US policy on the matter. [/sarcasm]