Neatly summarized in one paragraph, by the incomparable Mark Steyn:
There are arguments to be made for being on the other side of the world
for decades on end if you’re claiming it as sovereign territory and
rebuilding it in your image, as the British did in India, Belize,
Mauritius, the Solomon Islands, you name it. Likewise, there are
arguments to be made for saying, sorry, we’re a constitutional republic,
we don’t do empire. But there’s not a lot to be said for forswearing
imperialism and even modest cultural assertiveness, and still spending
10 years getting shot up in Afghanistan helping to create, bankroll and
protect a so-called justice system that puts a man on death row for
converting to Christianity.
Actually I think the title of his piece, which deals with the philosophical difficulties surrounding our decision to jump in the middle of the Libyan civil war, summarizes the idea even more succinctly: “Do-gooders in a land with no good guys.”
Make sure you read it all.
ADDED: Color me unsurprised – SecDef Gates: No vital interests at stake in Libya
Of course to liberals, this means we are now fighting a “just war.”