Waging War to Make Peace: U.S. Intervention in Global Conflicts

By Susan Yoshihara | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Conclusion

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barba-
rous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind….
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a
last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights
should be protected by the rule of law….

—Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Some say the Kosovo crisis was seen as a turning point for international politics, but was it a death knell for the international legal order? Can states take steps to heal the breach? The lesson of the collective Kosovo decision of the NATO nations was that if the demands of three contending imperatives—the fundamental, underlying “mixed motives”—are met, diplomacy benefits and consensus emerges. In 2003, in contrast, decision makers on both sides of the intervention debate showed disappointing unwillingness to recognize the lessons of the Kosovo campaign, and in this sense Iraq was an opportunity lost. The structural deficiencies that exacerbate discord may never be resolved, but if the underlying disputes on the implications of these structural realities are addressed, cohesive policy is possible. Even before then, there are some practical steps that states can take.

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