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The Future of Intervention: A View from Washington

The Future of Intervention: A View from Washington

Western military intervention has been a defining feature of the post-Cold War security environment. However, the idea of intervention is now in decline because of the failure in Iraq and the challenges in Afghanistan and Libya. This decline is exacerbated by the return of great power rivalry, which competes with failing states for attention and resources. Nevertheless, the United States will still feel compelled to intervene if its real red lines are breached—imminent mass atrocities that could be prevented, and the creation of safe havens for anti-American terrorists. The result will be half-hearted interventions that address the near term threat, but which do not provide for post-conflict stabilization or nation-building. Thus, the demand for UN stabilization missions will remain strong.

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