The Libyan war — er, “kinetic military action”— has been a failed attempt at what George Will called humanitarian imperialism.
Of course the situation in Libya is terrible, however, this necessitates examining what the role the United States should be and how effective it can be.
Contradicting the claims of the Obama administration, humanitarian wars are neither beneficial nor effective.
The past half-century of foreign intervention proves to be a queer mix of amplifying harm and entrenching anti-American attitudes the world over.
Strangely, foreigners prefer private investment from the U.S. rather than rockets and regime change.
Experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and others over the past decade develop resentment and cause blowback. Those citizens do not see good will and a desire for spreading democracy from the U.S., they see destroyed buildings and dead relatives.
The only way for Libya to progress and oust Mommar Gadhafi will come from Libyan society; no foreign intervention could possibly help.
Indeed, Gadhafi has received foreign aid from the U.S. and France in the past that perpetuated his brutal and totalitarian regime, just as tyrants the world over continue to receive U.S. aid.
Foreign aid is an inconsequential policy relative to the overall budget, but ending it would harm tyrants that ally with “the land of the free” while oppressing their citizens.
Ignoring the harm American intervention has wrought, the process of Libyan intervention has been appalling. Even George W. Bush, with his boondoggles in Afghanistan and Iraq, received Congressional authorization for military action.
President Obama intervened without any formal declaration from Congress.
Effectively, one individual decided whether or not the U.S. would employ military force in a foreign country that was not threatening the sovereignty or security of the nation. Such an action is a direct contradiction of the American political tradition in the name of humanitarianism.
The end goal of protecting citizens from their own government overrides any concern for the means utilized to achieve it. Tradition does not benefit us consistently. Upsetting the decentralization of power for expediency or decisive action which is unlikely to prove beneficial in the long-run, is foolish.
Libya also represents a hypocrisy in American action. Surely, if Libya requires humanitarian imperialism, North Korea much more so. And Syria. And Ivory Coast. And Yemen. Humanitarian aid does not attach itself to bombs, regardless of a Republican or Democrat ordering the bombs.
If the U.S. earnestly desires to advocate freedom throughout the globe, foreign policy must be revised.
End foreign aid to despotic regimes. End the bi-partisan policy of nation-building.
Encourage private investment in the third world to alleviate poverty by assisting in the development of a market economy and a stable political system that preserves individual rights.
Reduce the military budget to end our role as world police, which creates and antagonizes enemies and instead focus on national defense.
Anthony Hennen is a junior studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Tell him how you think Libya should be handled at email@example.com.