Do the words ‘hubris’ or ‘overreach’ ever enter the consciousness of the nation’s politicos and/or policy wonks?
From Foreign Policy:
Last Thursday, Aug. 4, the White House released the Presidential Study Directive (PSD) on Mass Atrocities (PSDs are used to initiate policy reviews and direct organizational and other activities by government agencies). The new directive’s opening line declares, "Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States." Ornamented with the obligatory Beltway platitudes (another "whole of government" approach is needed here, naturally), the directive establishes an interagency "Atrocities Prevention Board" and directs an interagency study to, among other things, help define and develop the board.
If you’ve seen the Navy’s recent recruiting ads on television, you know the ‘global force for good’ push is well underway. No one wants mass atrocities or genocide (except, I suppose, those committing them) but are there any limits to the solutions the U.S. government says it needs to be a part of?
The PSD hearkens, in paraphrase, to the artist John Belushi, “Good Gaia. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the #$%^@&#$ Atrocities Prevention Board.” (warning: a bad word appears in the video below, should the video work)
Back to the FP article:
Obama’s proposed approach to conflict prevention and resolution risks putting technique before strategy. The focus on "how" the United States will respond to a particular type of conflict could obscure the questions that should come first: whether, to what ends, and at what cost the United States should act. Should not America’s strategic interests, which would inevitably depend on the situation, first and foremost determine policy?
The stated PSD desire to do more is totally disconnected from fiscal reality and from foreign intervention disentanglement. The profound question therefore remains: we are doing this in order to… what? Even if no taxpayer funds are spent on the outcomes desired in the PSD, is this some sort of guilt-assuasion device that’s supposed to make us feel better about our morality?