Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Obama’s Policy on Libya Is Tailored to Events: Jonathan Alter

President Barack Obama made a convincing case for his Libya policy last night. But his speech touched only briefly on the question of double standards in launching humanitarian missions. Why intervene in Libya and not Syria, Yemen or Ivory Coast? Shouldn’t any foreign-policy doctrine be based on consistency?

Actually, no. For all its surface appeal, the double-standard argument has always been fallacious, a residue of Washington’s unhealthy habit of judging politicians by whether they are consistent rather than by whether they are right.