Roger, the precedent was set many years ago. The United States has involved itself in many internal struggles around the world for decades. Central America, Haiti, Lebanon, Grenada, Somalia, the list is seemingly endless. We have the capability of putting forces on the ground in very quick order and the ability to provide for them logistically as well. That doesn't speak to whether we should or not.
If we eliminate the issue of our national interest from the discussion entirely, do we have a moral imperative as an individual nation to step in? From my personal perspective, when we are dealing with the issue of genocide, I think we do when the United Nations won't step up to the plate in an effective manner. If not us, then who?
The precedent has been set. We have the ability and strength. In some cases I believe we have the moral obligation. I don't think that makes us look like "Team America: World Police" at all. If we have the ability to prevent the wholesale slaughter of a people, then I think we should.
Of course we also have the great ability to bungle things and shoot ourselves in the foot too.
Yea, I guess you're right. The US has been sticking its nose in other countries business for a long time now. Maybe I was addressing the issue of whether we should or not, as you alluded to.
Our "peace keeping" involvment in Kosovo in the 90s is an example of the US policing a troubled country in an attempt to prevent widespread genocide. Clearly, it's something we are willing to do. I think that the Rwanda conflict happened too fast for us to do anything about it, which was probably the primary factor for our non-involvement.
I do think there is an obligation for EVERYONE to step up in the face of genocide. I think its unfair that the US, of all the 1st world countries, gets the obligation placed squarely on our shoulders. We might as well ask why Great Britain didn't do anything either, ya know?
"If not us, then who?" Yes, that is the question. Nobody else would bother. That speaks very poorly for them. Yet ironically, when we actually do step up and take action based off of a righteous moral imperative, we get demonized and labeled as invaders or parodied as Team America World Police. That's some serious bullshit that we shouldn't have to deal with, especially when at the end of the day we are trying to do the right thing for humanity. Yea, if it's all over oil that's one thing, but even in Iraq, we've spared many civilian lives and provided at least a promise of hope for their future. And to be fair, our allies have helped us in a lot of our benevolent endeavors as well.