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America’s lost ally – George Will

08/18/2011

LONDON

During the Second World War, a future prime minister, Harold Macmillan, said America is “the new Roman empire and we Britons, like the Greeks of old, must teach them how to make it go.” How goes the tutoring of Rome by Athens?

We are in the fifth month of the Libyan intervention that Barack Obama’s administration said would involve “days, not weeks,” an undertaking about which Prime Minister David Cameron was much more enthusiastic than Obama, who rarely mentions it. The intervention resulted from Cameron’s and French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s sudden zest for waging humanitarian war.

Before its objective became regime change, the point was to prevent Moammar Gaddafi from inflicting a humanitarian disaster. Officials here speak of “a crime being committed within our reach.” But what is that reach?

After Gaddafi is deposed, as he probably will be, and after undetermined other nations have been deputed to police Libya’s postwar chaos, which surely there will be, moralists can answer this question: Did NATO’s operations — actually, those of a minority of NATO nations — really serve the humanitarian objective of economizing violence in Libya? And people here can then decide whether this was a sensible undertaking by a British government whose post-recession austerity budget, announced before the Libyan exercise in power projection, involves a mismatch between political ends and contracting military means.

Read More at The Washington Post.

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