It wasn't until last year that we did something in the Middle East that could be described as going to war on auto-pilot. This was in 2011 when, mesmerized by what we dubbed the "Arab Spring," we lent NATO's air force to an assortment of dubious, indeed downright unsavory, characters in Libya without as much as asking their addresses. This week some of them murdered the U.S. ambassador, along with three other Americans in Benghazi, as a way of saying thanks, I suppose, for helping them to get rid of their tyrant, Muammar Gadaffi.It's a good argument. Read the whole thing here.
However, Libya wasn't what Zakaria had in mind. Libya was Barack Obama's war, and what our pundit was critical about were the Bush-wars, Iraq One and Iraq Two, plus Afghanistan. This is interesting. Wise or unwise as the First (1991) or Second (2003) Gulf War against Saddam may have been, neither was fought on anything like automatic pilot. As for describing the younger Bush's 2001 decision to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan that sheltered al-Qaeda as "autopilot," amounts to a failure to comprehend the meaning of the phrase. Since it's unlikely that Zakaria-class pundits don't know the meaning of common expressions, or the history of recent events, if they write gibberish like "let's not get involved in another Middle East war on auto-pilot" they must have something else on their minds.
It seems to me the chorus of public policy bards, Zakaria and colleagues, supporters of the Obama presidency, think of non-proliferation itself as the First World's arrogant attempt to lock in the status quo.