The Intervention Debate: Towards a Posture of Principled Judgment

The Intervention Debate: Towards a Posture of Principled Judgment

The Intervention Debate: Towards a Posture of Principled Judgment

The Intervention Debate: Towards a Posture of Principled Judgment

Excerpt

Deciding when and how to use force is one of the central elements of strategy. Throughout American history, debate has raged over whether force is appropriate only in defense of the homeland and vital national interests or whether it should also be used to promote more expansive objectives like regional security and stopping humanitarian disasters in regions with few tangible U.S. interests.

The 1990s showed the extremes of this issue. In the George H. Bush administration, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell both advocated restrictive conditions for the use of force, with tangible interests at stake, clear support from the American people and Congress, and an explicit exit strategy. In the Clinton administration, officials such as National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright supported a more expansive use of force in places like the Balkans. Eventually the Clinton administration settled upon a complex set of requirements that tried to bridge many approaches, but it, too, failed to gain wide acceptance among the polity or the public at large. Today, the debate still rages.

The author of this monograph, Dr. John Garofano, Senior Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, argues that American policymakers must take an approach based on “principled judgment” when deciding on the use of force. He concludes with a discussion of Army roles and requirements for future contingencies.

The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this study to help Army leaders provide effective advice to national policymakers when the use of force is being considered.

DOUGLAS C. LOVELACE, JR.
Director
Strategic Studies Institute . . .

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