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The ambivalence of those decisions is apparent as much as the outcome is not. I remember seeing S. Power appear in "No End in Sight" being in favor of 'intervention' in Iraq or at least going all the way during the first Iraq war. Fortunately the interventionists have dialed back their ambitions from a full-out serial dictator removal program downwards to a genocide intervention or revolution assistance program. But that could backfire as well.

I think humanitarian values have over time been co-opted to support the status quo or purposes which in fact are imperial. The entry point is the fear of genocide - the thread that pulls the rope behind it. In the long term Western powers won't have the resources to keep doing 'nation building', 'stabilization missions' etc. As if they didn't have enough problems of their own to chew at. Failed states will be the norm, and what do you do if the Maghreb, Sahel, or Sub-Saharan Africa start losing it. Then there is the Middle East, South Asia, and South/Central America.

That will end the age of large scale interventions. Hopefully Libya will stay a deluxe mini mission. And afterwards the Europeans should think very long and hard how their security policy will look like when they can't whip out the guns at every turn.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:59:56 PM EST
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In the long term Western powers won't have the resources to keep doing 'nation building', 'stabilization missions' etc.

I don't know that we ever did. At best they were holding missions while we secured the assets/minerals we were after and then got the heck out. In that, at least, Bush et al were honest; they didn't do "nation building". It was just a pity that they said that after they'd smashed Iraq to bits.

That will end the age of large scale interventions.

If only. There may be no money for frivolities such as housing, the sick or the poor, but there's always money for a military adventure.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 02:28:06 PM EST
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but there's always money for a military adventure.

I heard Obama pulled the 'exceptionalism' canard in his speech. Declining empires have an amazing stubbornness to persist in military adventures to prove their self worth. He knows they can't keep doing this kind of thing. But the heat of the moment sometimes prevails. Then there is the benefit of God-given powers enabling messianic missions - leading to a preordained benevolent future.

I hope I'm wrong, but this could really be the moment that tipped the Obama presidency towards lower-mediocre on the scale.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:23:26 PM EST
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Nah.  If it goes south now, it will all be NATO's fault - those cheese eating surrender monkeys...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:54:49 PM EST
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Oh come on, the USA isn't even  a decade into having reality constricting its ambitions. France and the UK have been living with this humiliation for at least 55 years (post suez) and our elites still haven't learned a damned thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 09:00:57 AM EST
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