The End of Intervention?
I liked former Secretary of State Madeline Albright's essay on today's New York Times op-ed page, because it captures the dilemma at the heart of American foreign policy today. On the one hand, both our interests and our ideals compel us towards action. But on the other, we stagger forward with the hangover of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts that have justifiably left us gun-shy about future interventions, no matter how well justified. Albright -- a liberal hawk who championed the successful interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo -- lays out this debate in a very thoughtful way.
The next president -- whether Obama or McCain -- will have to do more than right the course in Iraq and Afghanistan. He must also decide what to do in places like Darfur, Burma and countries unknown, where both our ideals and interests will beg us to act. Other questions relate to this one, such as the role of international institutions and America's policy on respecting national sovereignty. But the crucial question for our next commander-in-chief will be whether, why and how he employs American power abroad.
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