Thursday, October 19, 2006

Are We Supposed To Be The World Police, Or Not?

Victor Davis Hanson has a good explanation of why the U.S. will probably stay away from helping the victims of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, as tragic as that situation is. I'm sure most of us know what's happening there. The Arab Muslims are killing the black Muslims and non-Muslims, and Hanson says that, given the U.N.'s inaction to stop the slaughter, humanitarians are calling for the U.S. to interject itself where the U.N. is so impotent to act. He also says these humanitarians will likely not get the action they want from the U.S., partly because of their own inconsistency.

Okay, here's a situation where the world's watchdogs want us to make the other kids play nice. Apparently, sometimes unilateral action in the face of U.N. ineffectiveness is good. Noted. (It's interesting to note also that along with Sudan, North Korea and Iran are both situations that we're supposed to negotiate--read "deal with"--unilaterally, despite the fact that we're supposed to get the world's approval for everything else.) In any case, Hanson makes the argument that the very people who are calling for our intervention in Darfur are the same ones saying we should not have intervened in Iraq. (Warning: sarcasm to follow.) Apparently we had something to gain from Iraq, which is a no-no. You know, the whole "oil for blood" thing that has us awash in all that petroleum we scored out of the deal. (Sarcastic moment over.) Since we could have nothing to gain from getting involved in Sudan, some are calling for us to go be world police again.

Hanson, though, also goes on to say that if President Bush did make the decision to commit troops, or bombs, the same people now criticising him for inaction would turn on him as soon as boots were on the ground and the inevitable happened. What's the inevitable? I'll paraphrase. 1) Terrorists would flock to the region to fight the Great Satan, just as they have done in Iraq. We are, as we all know, the genesis for all terrorist activity. Therefore, terrorism in the region would become "our fault." 2) American soldiers would die. This is not inevitable, but it is highly likely, and once that happens the results would again fall on the administration's head for sending our troops into harm's way. 3) Innocent civilians would die, either because they are in the wrong place when a bomb goes where it's supposed to, or because a bomb goes where it's not supposes to, or because they are mistaken for bad guys, or any number of other realistic scenarios. As Hanson put it:

Again, far more importantly, we all suspect of the Sudan that should Americans get ambushed, should a plane go down and its pilot be beheaded on Sudanese television, should a bomb go wide and kill some civilians on CNN, both the world at large, and the American Left in particular, would be the first to turn on the United States for not being perfect when we were still doing a great deal of good.
The long and short of it is that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't, and, as Hanson makes clear, we have an awful lot of other pressing issues on our plates at the moment with Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Hanson goes on:

We are developing in America a new reactionary aversion to force, that may soon surprise the UN, the Europeans, and our own left anti-war crowd that clamors for humanism in our foreign policy, even to the point of using arms to stop evil. But given the invective against our efforts first in Afghanistan, and then—and especially—in Iraq, such critics have almost destroyed entirely neo-conservative muscular support for democratic reformers.
Personally, I'd just as soon see the U.S. do something anyway. As Hanson says, "...a single aircraft carrier could enforce a no-fly zone over the country, while a brigade of American troops could shatter the poorly-led and poorly-trained bullies who are killing the innocent. " We all know the U.N. is useless, and it's not like world opinion isn't already set, regarding the Bush administration. Truth is, we'd be protecting Muslims, too, which actually could garner some support from the parts of the Muslim world that aren't Arab. Oh wait, we would also be protecting them against Muslims, so I suppose the two would cancel each other out. In any case, my point is that, since the people who hate us are going to hate us anyway, it would be better to intervene. Somebody needs to, and no one else is stepping up to the plate. Hanson's point, though, is that, given how vociferous the same people who are now calling for that intervention have been about condemning the administration for other interventions, the chances that the U.S. will get involved are slim. That just adds one more layer of tragedy to an already tragic situation.

Hat tip: Instapundit