In domestic matters, without some strict standards for where the government should involve itself, it ends up getting involved in everything. Likewise in foreign policy, without narrow parameters defining the national interest, we end up sticking our nose in everything. A piece today on Congo by two guys from Brookings is a case in point. They seriously argue for American military intervention in Congo. Yes, Congo. Their rationale is pretty gauzy:
With all the attention given to Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and other hot spots around the world, one place consistently is forgotten – the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire.
Yet the death toll from conflict in this single place has been the greatest in the world, by far, over the past decade. More than being a humanitarian tragedy, the war destabilizes a country rich in minerals, allows the establishment and spread of diseases such as Ebola (which probably came from Congo) and makes a mockery of Western values and American leadership as we sit and watch the ongoing strife.
See any vital national interests in there? Me neither. Believe me, rather than send one of my sons (or anyone else’s sons) to die in Congo, I would be quite happy to “sit and watch the ongoing strife.” It’s one more steaming pile of none-of-our-business.