Sent in by a reader:
In his essay Representative Government, Jon Stuart Mill identified three fundamental conditions which the Carter administration would do well to ponder. These are: “One, that the people should be willing to receive it [representative government]; two, that they should be willing and able to do what is necessary for its preservation; three, that they should be willing and able to fulfill the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them.”
Is there an Obama doctrine…and according to what ideals…American progressive liberal internationalist?
One risk is that we unwittingly reward too much aggressive and destabilizing behavior by say, Iran, in the name of shifting America toward more such ideals, coalition building, and essentially transferring our power to international institions that don’t necessarily secure our interests.
Iran getting the bomb is not a good option for us, and certainly not for Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Are we seeing a mix of old school American modernist foreign policy (all Arab countries are pretty much the same, a mess, so let’s bring more democracy) with a liberal internationalist twist? A neo-neo colonialism?
If we support overthrowing Gadhafi, why not Assad? Do we still have to pretend that being vigilant observers of what’s going on in Syria is a proxy for the current administration’s unwillingness to address what’s going on there?
It seems the Western lens has been shifted to preferred ideals and policy prescriptions that are quite liberal during the current administration. As for the merits of such policies, that’s up for debate. What are our interests? How do we secure them?
Adam Garfinkle has more here on Syria (even Yemen and Syria are vastly different, as he points out).
Related On This Site: Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’…From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”… From The Washington Post: ‘Obama Authorizes Predator Drone Strikes In Libya’