Is it necessary to have a unified foreign policy goal that is maintained across political cycles (think: Cold War commie hating or Nazism)?
Is it best to have a consistent common enemy to define America’s role in the world, or should we feel free of obligation to ideology (or lack thereof) and judge each endeavor on its on merits? Bush tried to use the War on Terror to unite his various exploits, but it was a tenuously drawn matter of convenience. I believe Obama has a unique role in the history of America to truly decide the soul of a superpower, given his rhetorical abilities and the vulnerability of the fractured Republican party. Since emerging as a preeminent player in world politics after World War I the United States has always had a foil on the international stage. It is no longer possible to define ourselves as the null to a foreign evil (no matter how hard the media tries to make China fill the void)
What are the unifying features of each conflict? what place does the US have, if any, to fill in the following places?
-Libya vs. Afghanistan
-Iraq vs. Vietnam
-Darfur vs. Israel/Palestine
In a post-Bush world Obama has been free to stay hesitant about intervention in Libya, but maybe taking a backseat role to Britain and France gives credence to Qaddafi’s insane accusations. Is it America’s place to accept a reduction of soft power on this scale, maybe that is Bush’s true legacy: a return to isolationism (China’s rise and the 2008 financial crisis didn’t help either).
The realist vs idealist debate on intervention: is it constructive or destructive? The fact that it does not fall on party lines is certainly positive. Any reason for inter-party political cooperation or debate without the poison of upcoming midterm elections is good.