Category Archives: War

Humanitarian imperialism and Barack ‘Pericles’ Obama?

Mickey Kaus writes about Obama’s “Humanitarian imperialism” over at The Daily Caller:

“Humanitarian imperialism.” I think that label will stick. And in a true empire–in this case, the empire of UN approved human rights enforcement–war never really ends. Always someone to protect somewhere. Imagine living in imperial Britain in the mid-19th century. There would almost always be a war or police action–actual shooting and killing–going on.** For a true empire to work– even, or perhaps especially, a humanitarian empire–war has to be routinized.

So, is Barack Obama a modern-day Pericles? According to Thucydides, Pericles said:

In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring not by receiving favors. Yet, of course, the doer of the favor is the firmer friend of the two, in order by continued kindness to keep the recipient in his debt; while the debtor feels less keenly from the very consciousness that the return he makes will be a payment, not a free gift. And it is only the Athenians who, fearless of consequences, confer their benefits not from calculations of expediency, but in the confidence of liberality. [Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 2.40.4-5.]

Pericles’s “generosity” led Athens into the Peloponnesian Wars that lasted from 460 to 445 BC and from 431 to 404. Will Obama’s humanitarianism force the United States into countless “UN approved human rights enforcements? The Obama Doctrine of internationally-approved atrocity prevention would indeed have us involved in each and every civil war and rebellion across the globe.

Have we learned nothing from history?