Friday, March 25, 2011

A Note on Libya

I haven't updated this blog in forever, but in light of recent events I felt compelled to start it back up again. I'm going to try and update it a few times a week now, or whenever something happens that's worth discussing.

I just wanted to make a brief observation on some discussions in the mainstream media about the attack on Libya and Congressional war powers in general. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution explicitly authorizes the Congress (and Congress alone) to declare war, otherwise known as the 'War Power Clause.' Since the Korean War, instead of giving a formal declaration, Congress has given various 'authorizations' to the President to do as he sees fit.

The problem here is I think this is a distraction. While no doubt the hypocrisy of Obama declaring an unconstitutional war should be pointed out, the mere discussion of whether or not the United States should get involved is disheartening. Had there been an actual Congressional vote, I have no doubts that a declaration would pass despite the fact the country is already involved in two wars and on the brink of fiscal apocalypse. The desire for intervention is completely ingrained in both major parties. A complete rethink of our foreign policy is necessary, but unlikely to occur anytime soon.

Hasn't the United States learned by now that it is incredibly difficult to remake countries and turn them into liberal democracies? Iraq and Afghanistan are the obvious disasters, but even go back to the 1990's and the interventions in places like Bosnia and Kosovo. Nowadays, one is hanging on by a thread (Bosnia), and other is essential a narco-terrorist state (Kosovo). An important study released showed that in US interventions since WWII, only 3% made a transition to a viable democracy within 10 years. And yet the US still walks into the same traps...

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