Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention

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Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention

Edited by Jonathan Moore
Rowman & Littlefield, 1999
320 pp. $24.95

The literature on humanitarian intervention is large, ever-growing, and in many parts, mediocre. Sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross, this collection of essays offers its share of pompous declarations of the obvious and pious expressions of the unrealistic. But it contains some sharply worded statements of uncomfortable truths as well. Canadian Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, former commander of U.N. Forces in Rwanda, has written a blunt and passionate essay on the 1994 Hutu-led massacre, decrying the feebleness of the instruments put at his disposal to block the genocide. Michael Ignatieff thoughtfully explores the impact of television on humanitarian aid, and Pierre Hassner provocatively suggests that we live not in a world of traditional nation-states but rather in one increasingly organized along "medieval questions of legitimate authority, just cause, proportionality, and discrimination but without a pope and emperor." Whether medieval politics can control, much less eliminate, medieval brutality is the unanswered question that hangs over this book.

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