An update to my post on the fungability of Ameircan power in Haiti: Judah Grunstein has a great analaysis on Haiti and the Constraints of American Hegemony, arguing that the U.S. position in the world left foreign policy decision makers with no choice but to come to Haiti’s aid. Grunstein writes,
What I find more revealing about the Haiti response is the degree to which U.S. policymakers felt they had no choice in the matter. For any number of reasons, they were right — certainly with regards to the humanitarian intervention, and most likely with regards to the subsequent reconstruction efforts. That reflects, in part, the responsibilities inherent in the role of global hegemon, and it underscores a paradox we’d do well to consider. Iraq and Afghanistan have already demonstrated the limits of military force, in particular, and American power more generally. And Haiti itself is a testament to the limits of nation-building. And yet, despite the near-certainty that results will be disappointing, we have no choice but to act.
To paraphrase Madeleine Albright, What good is global hegemony if we have no choice but to use it?