Monday, May 19, 2008

Interventionist Foreign Policy As Imagined By Jackson Diehl

Jackson Diehl thinks that McCain's notion of a "League of Democracies" is a fantastic idea, because the UN is a poor tool to legitimize military intervention pretty much anywhere, any time.
Whether Obama or McCain, the next president will take office knowing that he inherits the messes in Darfur, Burma and Iran and also that new crises will erupt during his term. If he is unable to respond - if he, like Bush, ends up watching as tens or hundreds of thousands of people die in a weak or failed state while China and Russia block U.N. action - he will be harshly judged. That's why McCain has smartly begun to talk about his League of Democracies and promised early action to create it.
Because the militaries of the world's democracies are the equivalent of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and we can magically zoom in and out of hot spots around the world, defeating the bad guys and establishing freedom within the space of a half-hour (kid's TV show) episode.

What is Diehl actually proposing? A new organization through which the U.S. can legitimize what would otherwise be unilateral military action? A means to coerce other democracies into participating in future "coalitions of the willing", so we can carry out large-scale interventions and invasions in the future without regard to cost or manpower issues - because that worked so well in Iraq? Diehl apparently has a "wish list" for U.S. military interventions over the next few years - and it apparently includes but is not limited to "Darfur, Burma and Iran". Perhaps he would do us the favor of sharing the full list, so we can get a good idea of just how magical his thinking is.
[The] Community of Democracies, founded in 2000, still exists but has been hamstrung by its initial decision to include numerous countries that are not, in fact, democracies -- such as Egypt, Jordan and Azerbaijan.
You mean, instead of relying upon democratic states like, say, Venezuela? This criticism brings to mind a legitimate question: What's so magical about democracy? Would Diehl truly prefer that Egypt hold free elections tomorrow, likely resulting in victory by a conservative Islamic party? Only then would he want Egypt to participate in this "League of Democracies"? He objects to Russia as blocking U.S. military action, so is he stating that Russia is not democratic enough to participate in this new group? What measure of "democracy" does he propose?

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