A big reason why we shouldn’t invade random countries on flimsy pretexts, besides being a waste of money and destructive of life, is it completely undermines our moral authority. I wish our Secretary of State could say something like, “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century,” without sounding like a complete hypocrite.
I want to be part of a country which holds itself to such a high standard it can speak with an unquestionable moral authority. I want our statements to carry real moral weight instead of sounding like punchlines.
For all the talk of international law, in practice on the world stage the “law” is whatever the strongest players claim it is. As the strongest country in the world we set the tone for international behavior and we keeping promoting the precedent that powerful countries are allowed to militarily interfere in weaker ones without international approval.
I’m not saying our behavior is as bad as Putin’s, I just wish we weren’t even in the contest.