Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Wisdom of Anne-Marie Slaughter

I write in enthusiastic admiration for the courageous oped column by Anne-Marie Slaughter, in this morning’s NY Times. Defying the current mood in America as well as—maybe--in the far too cautious Obama administration, Slaughter calls for unilateral U.S. military intervention not only in Iraq but also in Syria. In this, she in effect echoes the brilliant question asked some 25 years ago by Madeleine Albright of Colin Powell, another skeptic—after Vietnam--about committing US troops to intervene in other country’s civil wars: “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

How wise Albright proved to be, as Slaughter has clearly understood! Just consider how successful US military interventions in the last 15 years have proven to be: in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya we have routed autocracies, terrorists, and other opponents of the peaceful liberal world order we created and have led since 1945—and all in a relatively short time and with remarkably low economic, moral, and human costs to their peoples as well as to our own troops. And when we withdrew, we left behind peaceful and stable democracies.

What a tragedy it is for world order and for the peoples of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Libya—and maybe soon, Iran--that Anne-Marie Slaughter, is no longer Director of Policy Planning for the State Department.