Sometimes, Right Makes Might

THROUGHOUT HISTORY, GOING BACK AT LEAST TO THE Peloponnesian War, nations have ascribed idealistic purposes to their military struggles. But as with Sparta's classic balance-of-power contest with Athens, discernible national interests have always been at stake. What makes America's intervention into Somalia seem so inspiring -- and also so dangerously slippery -- is that it may be the first time since the Crusades an invasion has been launched for a purely moral rationale.

A logical place to look for a modern precedent would be the days of Woodrow Wilson, that professor of Presbyterian rectitude who draped foreign policy with a mantle...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!