A lot changed in 2008
Much of this blew up in 2008. In August, the Russians went to war with Georgia, declaring that Russia had not taken the place in history that the Americans had intended. In September, Lehman Brothers collapsed. The world had ceased to be the post-Cold War world. There were fundamental politico-military challenges to the United States, not existential, but serious. The assumptions about perpetual prosperity weakened as interdependence spread the contagion of 2008 throughout the world.
The idea that China would become increasingly prosperous, increasingly liberal and disinterested in international conflict proved to be in error. Two newly confident rivals, Russia and China, challenged the American understanding of the world as it was bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The challenge of the Islamic world spread, ranging from a more powerful and self-confident Turkey, to the Islamic State’s attempt to build a caliphate, to economic crisis in Saudi Arabia.
It was in this context that Hillary Clinton’s support of the intervention in Libya must be viewed, because it was the last gasp of the post-Cold War world. Moammar Gadhafi was clearly a thug and he might well have been about to carry out a massacre. Hillary Clinton accepted the notion that the United States, along with its coalition, had a moral obligation to prevent it. There have been theories that this was about oil or uranium or something else. It arose from a concept of the world that had eroded.