Most conservatives and libertarians agree on most issues, right? You would be surprised at how quickly two members of the same party diverge in the details of what they believe. In this recurring series on Liberty Nation, we ask the tough questions and probe the complicated issues of our respective ideologies. So, dust off that Disqus account and join us in the comments below, we want to hear what you think!
This week, with the strike on the Syrian airbase sufficiently in the rear-view mirror, we will discuss the appropriate role of the United States in the world, specifically as it pertains to military intervention.
The chemical weapons attack in Syria, covered extensively here on Liberty Nation, prompted President Donald Trump to respond with a missile strike against a Syrian airbase. This marks our first direct attack on Syrian government forces since their civil war began over five years ago.
Over the past several decades, the United States has intervened in numerous conflicts. Syria joins a long list of other countries where the United States has used force, including Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Panama, Grenada, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Somalia, and countless others. The level of U.S. involvement in these conflicts has ranged from drone attacks launched from outside the country’s borders to the full-blown deployment of soldiers for months at a time. Some of these actions were sanctioned by the U.N., others by NATO, and some simply unilateral U.S. undertakings.
On the other hand, the list of conflicts in which the United States did not intervene is quite lengthy as well. Some of these wars or armed conflicts have killed thousands of civilians. The list includes the Congo, Ukraine, Crimea, Mexico, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Algeria, and many others.
In the context of our national history of military intervention, the Syrian strike barely registers as an event. Even so, it forces us to consider our role in the world. Was the Syria strike in particular justified? What is America’s responsibility or duty to protect others around the globe, if any? Is protecting American interests through the use of force a valid justification, as in Grenada or Panama? Should we have intervened more forcefully in Darfur, halted the practice of creating child soldiers in Uganda, or attempted to stamp out Boko Haram the way we are trying to eliminate ISIS? Is it a moral failing as a nation to pick and choose the conflicts we involve ourselves in based on selfish or emotional reasons?
These are tough questions with many personal and ethical issues at play. Let us know what you think as we dialogue together in our comments section below.