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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blast from the past

Stanford's Stephen Stedman, who has recently worked for Kofi Annan's High Level Panel on Threats, wrote the following in a Foreign Affairs essay on "The New Interventionists." This was in 1993, just as the Clinton era was about to begin:
Many civil wars may have to be allowed to run an ugly course. Herein lies an irony that clouds the clear morality of many new interventionists: the possibility that humanitarian assistance may extend war and anarchy rather than end it. Aid to besieged populations, if it assists prolonged resistance, may only end up costing more lives. Likewise, arming a weaker party in the belief that justice calls for a "fair fight" may simply produce a permanent state of war. Fewer lives may be lost if one side wins outright. Moreover, a decisive victory is sometimes the best result, followed by a forward-looking conciliatory peace.

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