FA: The Brahimi report calls for more robust force and command and control. Isn't this reminiscent of what Boutros Boutros-Ghali called for in An Agenda for Peace, which was so politically unacceptable ten years ago? Is the Brahimi report different? Or have conditions changed to such an extent that what was proposed ten years ago is now politically palatable?
MH: Not much has changed since then. Just as it was ten years ago, the core issue is that nations don't want a more robust United Nations. If you recall, the initial response to An Agenda for Peace-back when Boutros Boutros-Ghali was not yet persona non grata-was positive. The New York Times and The Washington Post praised it for its insights and practicality. And then it slowly died. Keep in mind this was not the first time this idea was proposed and, for many of the same reasons, shelved. Similar proposals have been made, going back at least to the 1960s. Sadly, we're seeing the beginnings of a similar arc of response: initial good reviews, then a descent into obscurity as it becomes clear that no nation really wants to put forward the resources to implement it.
FA: You say the "debate on humanitarian intervention is utterly phony." Could you elaborate?
MH: The debate is phony on two levels. First, a number of academics and pundits have offered up guidelines of when, where, and how to intervene. These guidelines are just not practical because they don't account for the enormous and often haphazard public pressures to intervene faced by presidents and other Western leaders-what is often known as the "CNN effect." It is a sudden spate of grim headlines and horrific TV footage, as in the case of the Srebrenica massacre, that typically inspires the public to demand action from leaders. This renders unrealistic the debate over academic rules and fastidious guidelines for intervention.
The second level of falsity is that, for most of the Cold War, the question centered on whether
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