In a comment yesterday Ursula wrote, “I was told – and still believe it – that history [is] being taught at school/uni so we’d actually learn something from the past.”
The trouble is different people learn different things from history. The hawks learned from Hitler and World War II — if someone had stopped Hitler in the early stages the war would never have happened. Most Americans think, “Yeah, sure. We’ve heard that argument before — before Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And look how they turned out.
China learned a similar lesson. In March 2011, China and Russia abstained from vetoing a Security Council resolution to establish a no-fly zone over Libya to protect Benghazi civilians from mass slaughter. The intervention went beyond that and led to the overthrow of Gaddafi. China wants stability in the Middle East and has learned, from the Libya incident plus Iraq, that U.S. intervention will just add to the turmoil.
And don’t forget, Obama at first tried to reassure the rest of the world that he wanted only a limited strike — to punish Assad but not to overthrow his regime. The resolution proposed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee goes far beyond that. Do they really believe that it could be a limited action? Are they fooling themselves or trying to fool everyone else?
Apparently the majority of Americans aren’t convinced. Over 167,000 people voted in a recent AOL poll: 13% were for intervening, 76% were against getting entangled. So take heart, Ursula, maybe a lot of people have learned something from history.