Bret Stephens writes:
Mankind is not comprised solely of profit- and pleasure-seekers; the quest for prestige and dominance and an instinct for nihilism are also inscribed in human nature, nowhere more so than in the Middle East. Libertarianism makes no accounting for this. It assumes the relatively tame aspirations of modern American life are a baseline for human nature, not an achievement of civilization.
There is a not-incidental connection here between libertarianism and pacifism. George Orwell once observed that pacifism is a doctrine that can only be preached behind the protective cover of the Royal Navy. Similarly, libertarianism can only be seriously espoused under the protective cover of Leviathan.
That's something worth considering as Americans spend the coming year debating the course of things to come in the Middle East. It is beguiling, and parochially American, to believe that things go better when left alone. In truth, as Yeats once wrote, things fall apart.