Roger L. Simon

TigerHawk Takes on Kristof

Nicholas Kristof asks if Bush has wimped out on genocide? According to TigerHawk, the column NYT columnist should know better:

This is a profoundly unfair charge, as Kristof sorta kinda acknowledges in the penultimate paragraph of the column (“[p]perhaps it’s unfair to focus so much on Mr. Bush, for there are no neat solutions and he has done more than most leaders”). But even in recognizing the unfairness of the attack Kristof is wrong about why it is unfair to denounce the United States for refusing to shoulder an “obligation” to respond to genocide. It isn’t that the United States has done more than most other countries. It is that in many situations the United States is the only power that is capable of responding to or preventing genocide. Sure, other good countries can contribute troops and money, but what other country is even theoretically in the position to organize a major military intervention to prevent a genocide that is not in its own backyard? No other country has a large enough navy, and no other country has the airlift capacity. For the United Nations to declare that there is an “obligation” to respond to genocide is to demand that the United States deploy its military on a determination of the United Nations. This is free-riding of the worst sort, and the United States would be nuts to agree to it.