Mickey Kaus, Barack Obama, and 'Humanitarian Imperialism.'

“Humanitarian imperialism” is the phrase Mickey’s come up with to describe Whatever The Heck It Is We’re Doing These Days In Eurasia, and it’s a good one.  It’s also one that implies a constant, low-level state of war that goes a good deal beyond the one that we’re in now; and I should make a distinction here between the Bush and the (unstated) Obama Doctrines.  The Bush Doctrine assumed that, under the right conditions, a long-term war could be over: “as they stand up we will stand down,” and all that.  The Obama Doctrine – as described by Mickey – assumes that war will be what he called ‘routinized’ – and accepted, as part of the cost of doing what is pretty explicitly Imperial business.  And by Imperial Mickey explicitly means something very, very Victorian, which is ironic on a variety of levels.


Mickey is practically unique among Democratic pundits for being willing to actually give his honest opinion about things like this:

I’m not sure whether humanitarian imperialism is a good or bad thing. The world might be a distinctly better place overall if the U.N. could overthrow every dictatorship the Security Council could muster a majority to overthrow. But the accompanying  routinization of war is at least troubling, no?

My major (practical) problem with Humanitarian Imperialism?  I trust only about half of our political class to not utterly mess up such a thing from the get-go, and unfortunately it’s not the half that’s currently in charge of the executive branch.  But since my opinion on that is apparently irrelevant for the next two to six years, we might as do it properly.  Now, I know that my readers are mostly conservative and/or Republicans, which means that they can be expected to have at least a nodding familiarity with the classics of Western literature. For those who are neither, well: allow me to acquaint them with who is apparently the true author of Obama’s current “foreign policy.” Take it away, Rudyard Kipling:

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Have done with childish days–
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!


Hey, I’m just the messenger.  And the guy who voted for the major American political party that goes to wars with a goal, and a plan. Hint: not the Democrats.

Moe Lane (crosspost)


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