Saturday, September 06, 2014

19th province and 20th century

Robert Kagan, in a Wall Street Journal surely headed to the top of Barack Obama's reading pile on war reluctance--

For a time in the 1990s, while the generations of World War II and the early Cold War survived, the old lessons still guided policy. President George H.W. Bush and his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, sent half a million American troops to fight thousands of miles away for no other reason than to thwart aggression and restore a desert kingdom that had been invaded by its tyrant neighbor. Kuwait enjoyed no security guarantee with the U.S.; the oil wells on its lands would have been equally available to the West if operated by Iraq; and the 30-year-old emirate ruled by the al-Sabah family had less claim to sovereign nationhood than Ukraine has today. Nevertheless, as Mr. Bush later recalled, "I wanted no appeasement." 

A little more than a decade later, however, the U.S. is a changed country.

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, and Operation Desert Storm evicted him in early 1991. That's 23 years ago. That's a lot more than a decade ago.

Is some of the weirdness of conservatism simply a matter of a different sense of the passage of time?