On CNN's The Situation Room today, The New York Time's Nick Kristof does something we don't see on these cable news shows very often if ever; admits that the United States has a problem that includes the word "oil" when it comes to what countries we decide are worth involving ourselves in that have a horrible humanitarian crisis going on.
BLITZER: When should the United States intervene, militarily, in a country where awful things are happening, for example, like Libya as opposed to the Ivory Coast or Sudan, Darfur? What's the benchmark there?
KRISTOF: Well, I think that a lot of critics, especially liberal critics, are pointing to the U.S. involvement in Libya and saying this is inconsistent. This is hypocritical because you are intervening with a country with oil, and you don't intervene in a country that undergoes terrible humanitarian disasters for an even longer period, that doesn't have oil.
You know, I think we have to plead guilty. There is a real inconsistency there. But I guess I would also say, you have to start somewhere. One of the oldest problems in the world of humanitarianism and the world of international relations is what you do when a leader begins to devour his people. We are not going to intervene in every case, but in some cases we will be able to build an international coalition, and there will be the popular support that will make it clear that we can actually accomplish something.
So I think that in this case we should do it. I would point out that in other areas of humanitarian intervention, for example, feeding the starving. We don't have to say that unless we reach every starving child, it's not worth it. Just because we didn't intervene in some cases we still should have intervened in Bosnia. I think we should have intervened in Rwanda. I would love to see more international attention to the tragedy unfolding in Ivory Coast, but if we can't muster the gumption to do that, let's at least support the people of Libya and prevent massacres there.
I think that would be easier for a lot of people to do if we weren't already so cynical about the reasons for our military interventions in the Middle East and other areas and propping up so many bad actors whenever it's convenient for us if it suits the financial interests of big multi-national corporations.