This is an intervention straight from Bill Clinton’s 1990s playbook, in other words, and a stark departure from the Bush administration’s more unilateralist methods. There are no “coalitions of the willing” here, no dismissive references to “Old Europe,” no “you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Instead, the Obama White House has shown exquisite deference to the very international institutions and foreign governments that the Bush administration either steamrolled or ignored.
…there are major problems with this approach to war….
Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building within the (so-called) international community, they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence. And because their connection to the national interest is often tangential at best, theyâ€™re often fought with one hand behind our back and an eye on the exits, rather than with the full commitment that victory can require.
First, somebody explain “total war” to Douthat. I think the last war the U.S. fought without some self-imposed restraint was World War II.
However, Douthat shows us the most basic appeal of wingnutism — namely, you never have to admit failure. I infer from this that Douthat believes George Bush’s military escapade in Iraq was a rousing success and a textbook example of “full commitment” of military strength bringing about the swift and efficient attainment of all goals.
Some things snark themselves.