I think Genghis Khan was a pussy. That's how far to the right I am. But I don't live in his world and so my conservatism expresses itself in ways different than his. First, I see no reason to become involved in world events if doing so does not create a distinct strategic or economic advantage for America. Genghis created the Mongol empire largely to establish his own greatness as a leader and keep his domestic enemies busy fighting other peoples and not him. Secondly, I see no good reason to provide financial or humanitarian aid to to countries that are; our economic competitors; or our strategic enemies; or that simply don't need our assistance. This is especially true when America's economy is as disastrously dysfunctional as it is now. Genghis didn't provide humanitarian aid to anyone but his own people, and largely left them to loot their own humanitarian aid from the people they conquered. He certainly never gave any kind of aid to his enemies.
Hence, shocking as it may seem, I find myself in agreement with The Glorious Leader's reaction to the revolution in Libya and the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan. Hell freezes over later.
Why involve ourselves in Libya? Since Qaddafi's tent compound was bombed by President Reagan in the '80s, missing Qaddafi's but killing one of his daughters, the Colonel has been very quiet and Libya has been largely a non-player in middle east or world affairs. Qaddafi gives a fiery anti-western speech now and again, but does nothing. He does not materially support the rise of Islamic radicalism; he does not materially support Palestinian terrorism against Israel; he does not nor can he sway OPEC to use oil as a weapon against the west. The only exception to this is the Lockerbie bombing, which Qaddafi was almost certainly involved in. In short, Qaddafi and Libya have for the most part not caused problems for America in years. They are far from allies but are weak and ineffective enemies.
That being the case, why jump into the Libyan revolution on either side? If Qaddafi survives the revolt, America continues to enjoy Libya's passiveness. If Qaddafi is removed from power, what replaces him? Western style democracy? Not a prayer that will happen! At best, another dictator seizes tenuous power and Libya remains largely as it is. At worst, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Mullah's take power and yet another radical Islamic state is created to join the Ayatollahs of Iran, the Taliban and Al-Queda in doing everything they can to subvert and injure America. Being purely pragmatic, having Qaddafi remain in power is probably the best outcome. He is a known, and tamed, enemy. Doing anything to assist the rebels would only create a power vacuum to be filled by God knows what...but odds are it would not be good for us. Staying out of Libya was the right call.
Japan does not need our assistance. One of the richest countries in the world, technologically advanced and utterly stable politically, the Japanese are perfectly capable of dealing with the disaster that has befallen them. Their economy will take a huge hit with the expense of cleaning up the wreckage and rebuilding, and especially because of the long-term management of the destruction of the Fukishimi nuclear reactors and resulting radiation fallout.
The Japanese people have a long, tough road ahead of them, but if any nation can overcome this disaster it's them. The world has already seen them standing in long, orderly lines for aid. There's been no looting or price gouging or increase in crime. The little aid America has already given, U.S. naval forces delivering small amounts of humanitarian aid by helicopter directly to the most severely stricken areas, is sufficient aid from the American taxpayer. Private charitable giving is of course up to the individual.
Obama has been taking heat, largely from the right, for not "leading" during this time of crisis, in Libya or Japan. They complain he's playing golf, discussing domestic policy and making his NCAA Men's basketball tourney picks. By leading, they mean talking a lot, giving breathless press briefings and scurrying around providing photo ops, looking like he's engaged and influencing the outcome of both Libya and Japan's business, while in reality doing nothing of substance. That is what most presidents would do, and the press would laud him for being "the leader of the free world." It would be a farce.
As much as I hate it to admit it, so far Obama has handled Libya and Japan just right. I also must admit that I suspect that his reasons for doing so are different than mine, especially concerning Japan. My reasons are practical. The problems in Libya and Japan are not our problems. They may ultimately have some impact on us, but in the long run will likely be relatively minor. In Libya's case it is in our best interest not to interfere, and in Japan's case we can not afford to spend hundreds of millions if not billions in aid that we simply do not have and that Japan can survive without.
In Obama's case, I believe he chose not to involve America in Libya because he saw it as a no-win situation, largely like myself. As regards Japan, I believe he simply doesn't care what happens in Japan, as they are not an "oppressed" people, can not vote for him in 2012 and are in direct competition with some of Obama's best buds...the United Auto Workers.
So, for the first and very likely the last time, I'm in agreement with Barry. It's enough to make me reexamine my entire belief system.