Intervention: The Use of Military Force in the Post-Cold War World

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Intervention: The Use of Military Force in the Post-Cold War World

By Richard N. Haass
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1994
255 pp. $24.95
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A member of Bush's national security team offers a compact and discriminating survey of whether and how the United States should conduct military interventions. Haass takes as his point of departure the various criteria that public figures (such as Caspar Weinberger, Colin Powell, and Les Aspin) have offered on the subject over the past decade, guidelines Haass himself formulated as the drafter of Bush's valedictory speech on national security affairs. (The most prominent statements in this genre, none of which the author finds fully satisfactory, are usefully appended to the volume.) He decries gradualism, thinking it best to "use force massively at the outset." The just war requirement of "last resort" he finds ill-advised, mainly because its observance may mean the "loss of surprise and the loss of initiative." When force is used, "it is better to err on the side of using more rather than less." Haass is skeptical of uses of force that smack of "nation-building," though he appears to favor precisely that in the Haitian case. Though Haass defends Bush's handling of the interventions in Panama, the Persian Gulf, and Somalia, there is remarkably little special pleading in the book; the tone is quite even-handed. Readers who wish to discover how the United States can be the world's policeman without getting bogged down in quagmires -- the golden grail of contemporary foreign policy -- will find much useful advice in this carefully hedged manual.

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