There’s an opinion piece in today’s WaPo that’s well worth a read. And then a re-read:
The big democracies usually stand idly by during the worst atrocities, including the Holocaust [except of course during the years ’39 through ’45, but I get the point] and the genocide in Rwanda. Simply to defend core national security interests, the Western allies might have been better off this time concentrating on threats in North Korea, Pakistan or Yemen. (After the United States invaded Iraq, Condoleezza Rice reportedly warned George W. Bush about Darfur: “I don’t think you can invade another Muslim country during this administration, even for the best of reasons.”) If Western strategists saw a more complex interest in furthering the democratic impulses of the Arab revolutions, Libya still may not have seemed of paramount importance compared with, say, Egypt or Tunisia.
Yep. It continues:
The result is a third recurring quandary: Humanitarian interventions tend to use limited means, while flirting with maximalist goals.
In Bosnia before 1995, Britain, France, Canada and the Netherlands sent U.N. troops, but these governments were more worried about the safety of their own soldiers than about protecting Bosnian civilians. The United Nations declared Sarajevo, Srebrenica and four other Bosnian towns to be “safe areas” but did not provide forces that could defend them — paving the way for the extermination of 7,000 Bosnians at Srebrenica in July 1995.
This is a well thought-out, even-toned piece. Strongly recommended.