John Kerry's interventionist tendencies reappear.
What's remarkable about most of the arguments that U.S. lawmakers are putting forward about an intervention in Libya is that none of them hinge on America's national security interests. Here's Senator John Kerry:
For the administration, Mr. Kerryâ??s view is more troublesome, given that he is a normally a strong ally on foreign policy issues. He was a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, but he sees Libya as a different matter.
He has pushed the White House to do more â?? including â??crateringâ? Libyaâ??s airfields so the planes cannot take off.
Mr. Kerry, who was openly siding with officials who want the president to take a stronger public stance, said he was pushing the administration to â??prepare for all eventualitiesâ? and warned that â??showing reticence in a huge public way is not the best option.â?
â??You want to be prepared if he is bombing people, and killing his own people,â? he said, referring to Colonel Qaddafi. The Libyan people, he said, would â??look defenseless and we would look feckless â?? you have to be ready.â?
Notice that Senator Kerry's case hinges exclusively on how the U.S. looks or is perceived. He's even scornful of public "reticence" - as if it were a bad thing! There is no indication, or argument, that the lives of Americans or core interests are in danger.
Senator Kerry is surely correct that the U.S. looks feckless when its political leaders issue threats they have no intention of following through on. But that's an argument in favor of reticence.