Libya, Libya, Libya as his Label, Label, Label
Now that President Obama has gotten "the speech" out of the way, we can try to look objectively at where we (the US) is in our foreign policy, now. The speech sounded almost like one President Bush would have given. Of course, turnabout is fair play, so the right is justified in excoriating Obama while all but the most fervent left remain mum, or at least muted.
Where does The-Asterisk come down on the intervention scale? Well I am right about at 75%. Let's get real, here. If you are walking down the street and some dude in front of you starts mercilessly punching the woman he is with, or you come across some street punks mugging someone for their shoulder bag, should you do anything? If you get right down to it, it is in your best interests to avoid any involvement in the situation. Keep right on walking. Don't look back.
Lest we compare it to the murder of Kitty Genovese, there are major societal reasons why you should put yourself into harm's way to assist the victims in the above example. In fact, if you did nothing, and people found that out, you would be ostracized relentlessly, especially in this era of YouTube and social media.
So, how does the situation in Libya differ from helping out a woman getting beat up by her boyfriend? Is it because there is a national border around the killing field? Is it so bad that we in the civilized world want to perfect the more uncivilized among us? Many would say "Well, who are we to cast judgement against a sovereign state?" Well, who are we NOT to?
At this very moment, there are elements of unfriendly folks who are trying to perfect our society in a way that mirrors their own. We fight them off constantly. If we all took a laissez-faire approach to protecting our way of life, it would not be long before we see things start to crumble. (The-Asterisk note* I believe this is already happening, but I digress.)
Punks on the playground, thugs at the union organizational level or brutes at the dictatorial level thrive on one thing: lack of a good challenge. Most of us hope that these assholes will just go away or that they will at least bother someone else and leave us alone. Sometimes this works out, but not very often. These people continue to plague us until they are taken down or outgrow it.
Playground bullies usually outgrow their anti-social behavior and act like bullies because it makes them feel like the BMOC. Union thugs usually do their thing until they get their way in spite of what the rank and file want, then they settle down into a position in the leadership. But dictators see their behavior as the means to the end. Why would someone in a position of having everyone in their country kiss their ring and everyone in most other countries kissing their ass want to change? Negotiate with Chavez? Hah! Ahmadinejad act nice? Why? He is at his zenith. His goal is to stay there. It doesn't get any better than this.
My point? Just like in your school, your church, your neighborhood or your business, you want to have a peaceful existence and be ridded of assholes (I use that term because there really is no better way to describe this personality.) Why should the civil and normal world community be any different?
Would we invade Burma because we don't like saffron robes? Would we invade Laos because we don't like how they treat elephants? Should we have attempted regime change in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge were purging the country of 2 Million souls? You betcha.
Sometimes we may end up with a mess because of prior screw-ups, like bogus borders around illegitimate countries (see: Yugoslavia). Some might say that since 'those people' have never governed themselves, they won't be able to do it once freedom is handed to them. This probably would have been true 50 years ago, but with the modern age of communications and immigration/emigration of citizens, this really doesn't hold water.
"But, they are a tribal people," some would say. Fine. We all were once. Let them get on with governing and forget about the tribes. One generation will erase that anomaly if it is truly not needed for their society. But if they stick with he tribes and the desire to kill each other, then maybe we need to send some of our liberals over there to teach love and peace to them. Let Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do something useful since their usefulness here in the US has long passed.
Bottom line: as the world grows smaller by the day, it becomes incumbent upon the civil people of the world to rid ourselves of these oppressors. We can start with the worst. That will keep us busy for a while. As we make our way through the list from the bottom up, the really annoying assholes (like Hugo Chavez) might just get the message that they are next, and shape up. If not, get rid of them.
If you look back over all of recorded history, someone ultimately decided who the winners and who the losers were. The Romans, the Incas, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the Germans, the Allies in WWII. All unabashedly decided they were going to win (until they were defeated.)
For this narrow swath of history, it might as well be us doing the deciding.