The WaPo has an editorial today saying that we should have done something to prevent Somalia’s latest disintegration. Personally, I couldn’t care less about Somalia—only if they host al Qaeda training camps is it any of our business, in which case we can take advantage of the country’s long coastline to smash the place up.
But there’s a broader question. Given the difficulties that have arisen from the president’s neo-Wilsonianism (can I put that more euphemistically?), it is necessary to have a new national debate (say, as part of a presidential campaign, to pull an example out of the air) on how extensive our foreign policy should be. You can, I suppose, make a case that a stable Somalia is an important American interest. But, sparked by the Post editorial, my first question for anyone proposing any foreign policy agenda is this: Is there any conflict, anywhere in the world, that is not our business? I have a pretty long list of places that are none of our business, including, but not limited to, Darfur, East Timor, and Bosnia; others may have shorter lists. But if you can’t name at least one country or region, somewhere, that we should simply ignore, or at least not get involved in, then I’d have to say that your approach to foreign policy just can’t be taken seriously.