So you’re saying we should bomb this moment right now?
Leave it to the good people at South Park to deliver such a poignant analogy to U.S. foreign policy. American Militarism is essentially an exercise in the arbitrary imposition of the government’s “will” in situations it wants to take advantage of. The ruse is typically carried out in the name of a responsibility to instill democratic order and/or resolve a humanitarian crisis. It’s a clever guise, especially when these military adventures are void of any mission pertaining to the defense of the United States from any threat -foreign or domestic. Moreover, there seemingly exists a moral absolutist attitude – ignoring nuance and unintended consequence, while ratcheting up American exceptionalist sentiment in the process.
The latest undertaking in Libya is a great example of the complexity and dangerous nature of this approach. The “humanitarian crisis” rhetoric is in no short supply here. Neither is the rhetoric that an exceptional America live up to its responsibilities as the world’s police. Were this actually true, the United States would be in countless wars in every third world region on the globe. The government would then be obliged to intervene in the face of every injustice (and already has plenty of military bases around the world). Instead, the American military industrial complex arbitrarily decides which moments we should bomb and which moments we shouldn’t – without the necessary declaration from Congress.