U.S. Intervention Policy for the Post-Cold War World: New Challenges and New Responses

In This Review

U.S. Intervention Policy for the Post-Cold War World: New Challenges and New Responses

Edited by Arnold Kanter and Linton F. Brooks
W.W. Norton, 1995
256 pp. $25.00

The end of the Cold War has made the world more disorderly and so has multiplied the opportunities for American military intervention abroad. The end of the global rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union has also, however, reduced what the American public is willing to pay, in lives and treasure, to support such interventions. That is the lesson of Bosnia, Somalia, and Haiti. It is also the basis for one of the themes of this interesting collection of essays, most of them by authors who have served in the American government: the need for less costly, and therefore politically acceptable, instruments of intervention. Among the instruments discussed are economic sanctions, interference with information networks, and -- a new entry in the dictionary of military oxymorons that already includes "peace enforcement" and "friendly fire" -- nonlethal weapons.

The essays on how the United States might intervene are supplemented by two concerning when and whether it should do so. Coit D. Blacker suggests what he terms "extremely demanding conditions" for intervention. Fareed Zakaria argues that American intervention is warranted only to secure interests in the world's "core": Western Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East. Their conclusions are the basis for the book's second theme: the many post-Cold War opportunities for the United States to intervene abroad are likely to become occasions for American nonintervention.

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