‘Ever since an armed mob torched a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama has vowed to bring the killers of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans to justice. Yet four months after the assault, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the hunt for those responsible remains stymied by poor cooperation by North African governments’
Well, there’s a surprise.
As discussed many times on this blog: The current administration’s position on Bush’s War On Terror policies (whatever problems arise from that definition) has mostly been to continue them. We’re still doing the dirty work.
It’s also clear we need to prevent the kinds of conditions that lead to safe haven for groups like Al Qaeda to actively plan and coordinate attacks that would occur on our soil. That could be happening in Mali right now. Under the neo-cons (use American military force to spread democracy and pursue our self-interest) we invaded Afghanistan to do exactly the same, and we’re still there for primarily this reason.
A few questions:
–Some people are clearly not worth sitting around the table with, discussing options. Do we just continue the War On Terror indefinitely on our own?
–Some people can be cajoled, threatened, and enticed into recognizing international law, courts and institutions, at least for a while. The U.N. has some benefits, but is notably dysfunctional, so why should we continue with the same model if it doesn’t lead to outcomes we want? Shouldn’t we at least try and tweak the model if it can’t intervene in Syria and if tyrants like Gadhafi have a seat at the table?
***For American conservatives, these international institutions generally operate under ideals that are more common to Europe and the Western, universalist Left, and have been used to create world and international institutions which pursue Western interests. They don’t always represent American conservative interests, and in fact, depending on the institution, they can be leveraged against those interests.
Philosophical consistency for American conservatism would mean recognizing that the good reasons for open trade, freer markets, taxation with representation and smaller government here at home could also extend into the broader world, but that self-interest and common interests are often at odds when we come into contact with that world. Practically speaking, the more liberal, universalist worldview has been most successful in projecting Western power and interests abroad (often being underwritten with our military capabilities). Human rights campaigns and ‘girl power’ can do some good, but I’d argue shouldn’t be the primary focus of our foreign policy, but rather a recognized part of it.
There are many broader human endeavors, especially the Sciences, medicine, and much education which transcend the American pursuit of self-interest, that should naturally be expected to flourish and at times, guide our interests, but not necessarily under the current framework.
Addition: I’ve gotten some pushback for the open trade and freer markets from the conservative side. These are libertarian goals, according to some conservatives, that fall outside the scope of a purer, traditional conservative.
Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’…From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’‘Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’
How does America lead or pursue its interests in this new landscape?: We need to confront the rise of Islamism and the realities of many Muslim societies through our policy. Putting women’s rights and international institutions front and center when you’re dealing with Al Qaida and the Taliban, assorted enemies, a suspicious China and a weaker adversarial Russia has serious problems …Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill…Daniel Deudney tries to build a global raft partially upon Kant’s idealism and says the global institutions we’ve got are better than nothing: Repost-Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: ‘Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy’