If you were the president of the United States, what criteria would you have for initiating armed intervention. With answer, provide a scenario.
I am personally against the present day American trend of serving as the world's policeman. Our venture into Iraq, brought upon by a personal grudge by the Bush family against Saddam, has been a disgrace--a military intervention completely without due cause. I believe that threats to America's borders deserve military intervention, and for that reason I support our decision to invade Afghanistan in order to weaken (and hopefully eventually destroy) Al-Quaeda. Hopefully we will not include an invasion of Iran to the American resume simply because of the threat of nuclear weaponry development.
#5 makes an interesting point, which contrasts our information age of today with previous times when individual citizens did not have the information and access to it necessary to form their own individual opinions. This means that any future armed interventions are going to be highly critical events, wrought with controversy. I think, however, that #4 makes a good, basic response. When it can be tangibly proved (not as in Iraq) that there is a serious threat that can be offered, then there is at least the basis for further discussion about whether armed intervention is a possibility.
I like the points made in post 2 regarding insuring bipartisan Congressional support for the Commander-in-Chief's decision to engage in armed intervention and communication of reasons for the intervention to the public before the conflict begins. Unfortunately, I am not sure these criteria are feasible in this day and age. While the technology exists to rapidly disseminate information and gauge support and commitment behind a plan of action, the process of doing so also informs the potential adversary of the planned action. The lost element of surprise and the increased risk that would result could seriously endanger those directly and indirectly involved in the armed action. I fear that building of a public basis of support and involvement, as in the buildup to involvement in WWI or WWII, may be impossible in an era when vast amounts of information allows for everyone to develop and publicize his/her own viewpoint for debate and consideration.
For me, the criteria would be whether A) the intervention is worth doing and B) whether it is likely to result in the US achieving its goals.
As an example, I think that I would not have intervened in Iraq. I think that the intervention was probably worth doing, but that it had no real chance for success. I think that there was never any real prospect of bringing true democracy to Iraq and therefore we should not have gone in.
I answered a question similar to this, so there might be some overlap. I think that the basic ideas behind military intervention are still applicable, but there has to be a domestic quotient that factors into my decision to commit American troops.
I believe that from the most elemental of American Constitutional points of view, it makes sense to ensure that there is a strong measure of bipartisan support in committing American troops overseas. I think that this would be one of my considerations in initiating armed intervention. As President, I would make sure that the case made to Congress is a clear one for ensuring that there is a military intervention that is supported so that Congress declaring war would be a supportive measure for my role as Commander- in - Chief.
I think that this ties into another consideration that I would have to ensure. There has to be a clear line of communication with the American public about military commitment in the form of intervention. With the presence of 24 hours news channels and the blogosphere, it is critically important to ensure that a clear and concise reasoning as to why war must be taken as an option is present. Wars undertaken without the consent of the people or in situations where the people's consent was not sufficiently secured usually means bad things, difficult things for both the President and the American troops is usually present. In this, I think that these would be my primary considerations and criteria for commitment of troops to overseas conflicts.