Merlin1047 kicked off what I think can be a great debate in my thread about Tom DeLay and Kosovo. I hope he doesn't mind, but I posted his response to my thread about DeLay in this new thread because it branches off into a debate over America being the world's high sheriff or not (or something close to that description), with nothing to do about politics which is where the Kosovo/Tom DeLay thread is... . As the world's leader, the world's most powerful nation, the nation with the most at stake in the stability of the international order we (more than anyone else) created and have maintained for decades.... you're damn right we're the high sherriff of the world. Forgive us if that UN thing WE concieved of didn't work out the way we hoped it would (its a total failure), and now we're stuck as the only thing keeping a great deal of the world from falling apart into war and mayhem. We operate on a mixture of fear and respect in this world. Khadafi in Libya bowed to our agenda (to an extent) based on his fear that what happened in Iraq could happen to him. Albania, Japan, Australia, Britain, Poland, Singapore, India... nations such as these work with us and support us because of respect (of US power and intentions) and in some cases, gratitude. When Faction A murders Faction B, there are usually very serious considerations America must take into account. Whether it was territorial aggression (iraq invading Kuwait), one ethnic group trying to wipe out another (Rwanda), vicious oppression (Pakistan in East Pakistan/Bangladesh, Sudan in Darfur/the South, Taliban in Afghanistan), the cold and calculated sewing of chaos and destruction (by dicators like Milosevic and Laurent Kabilla), pure greed (Charles Taylor in Liberia/Sierra Leone) to take greater power and resources (the Congo, the Balkans).... all of these are threats to international stability, the world economy and in the post 9/11 world, greatly increase the probablity of a failed state or lawless region to exist where terrorists and their supporters can hide (already existing in the border lands of Pakistan, the entire nation of Sudan, Somalia, the tri-border area in South America, most of Burma outside the capital, parts of the Phillipines, Thailand and Indonesia). Now as for the Balkans, we were letting a Fascist dictator with a considerable military force (and a serious, calculating plan) run around murdering all who got in his way. Giving him free rein violated two of our main tenets (learning from the past and preventing disputes between allies from potentially turning violent). A- Milosevic was acting much like Hitler, albeit with possibly an even more detailed and layered plan. He spent years cultivating his rise to power, several more years laying the groundwork for a new "Serb" nationalism, and then a year or three for him to sow the seeds of war in the Balkans between as many parties as he could get involved, provided they did not have more power or force than he did. B- Greece and Turkey especially were dangerously close to intervening in the situation, which would have had two NATO powers on opposite sides of a violent conflict with the potential for it to grow even more widespread. Everyone from Bob Dole to Margaret Thatcher sounded the alarms about the Serbs, but no one wanted to listen. Thatcher was telling us from day one (her native Britain and America) to not let the Europeans screw it up, to hit the Serbs hard and fast and not let them get away with their aggression (and later, their mass murder). There were anti-terrorism analysts having bloody fits because as the world's incompetence (especially Europe's) and America's inaction led to even greater slaughter of Bosnian Muslims, Iran and other ME terrorist regimes were sending their Islamic fighters (the mujihedin) to go fight in Bosnia, exporting a violent, fundamentalist brand of Islam directly into Europe. Years later, Kosovo was kicked off primarily because Milosevic was able to save face (and power) in Bosnia at the peace table because we negotiated with the bastard instead of wiping him and his allies out. In the end, it is less about "morally right" action (though this is important in America, based on the Christian religion, freedom and justice), and more about strategic and security interests. Our security is affected by events all over the world, and if we do not adequately respond to them with effective means (running the gamut from diplomacy to military force to covert action) we suffer considerable consequences. As far as Slick Willy goes, I truly believe that while his domestic crimes and scandals had bearing on his actions in Kosovo, at the same time someone finally got into his head (probably Wesley Clark and others) that Milosevic was doing it again, that the US was going to have egg on its face, that Iran, Saudi Arabia and others would have a fundamentalist foothold in Albania and/or Kosovo, that Europe would screw it up, etc etc. The US simply could not afford not to act. Even a creep like Clinton can get the analysis right once in a blue moon, though in his case, he just didn't execute very well (but that was also the fault of the Republicans in Congress). As Victor Davis Hanson correctly analyzed on NRO last month, We cannot counsel caution and temperence in the face of genocide, ethnic slaughter, oppression and territorial aggression. We must act boldly, quickly, or face consequences we neither forecasted nor can afford to face.