The Corner


The president has sent “a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces” to Uganda? And that’s just for starters:

“Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” he said.

This is even crazier than getting involved in Libya — at least Gaddafi had attacked us years ago and we still had an emotional reason to want to get the SOB, even if realpolitik argued against it. But what possible interest do we have in the savagery of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the demented killers our men are supposed to help the local governments defeat? This is a mission that’s not worth risking a single American soldier so much as twisting his ankle.

Twenty years after we won the Cold War, we really, really need a thorough reexamination of our strategic objectives. Without jumping into yesterday’s exchange between Christopher Preble and Jim Lacey (having not yet read the Cato paper calling for “Budgetary Savings from Military Restraint“), we should — and will eventually be forced to — reassess the inordinate amount of foreign policy we consume. America needs to go on a diet — an immigration diet, of course, and a bureaucracy diet and a debt diet and a tax diet and a regulatory diet, but also a foreign policy diet and a military diet.

The Times web site this week had a “Room for Debate” exchange entitled “Are Voters Looking for an Isolationist?” — the title is kind of stupid, but the question is sound. Our elites are Wilsonian and Hamiltonian in their foreign policy outlooks, while the public is Jacksonian and Jeffersonian — that was manageable during the standoff with the Soviets because each foreign policy tendency had a reason to embrace the consensus. That consensus no longer exists and so we have an unstable political environment with regard to foreign policy. Much of Ron Paul’s persistent support stems from his skepticism about our foreign adventures, but it’s limited both by his doctrinaire anti-interventionism as well as his general kookiness. A more effective foreign policy minimalist will eventually come along to fill this niche, if only because our elites can’t help themselves and will keep sticking our noses into other people’s business.