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The Illusion of Control

Force and Foreign Policy in the Twenty-first Century

Subject Intervention (International law)


Contrary to popular expectations, the end of the Cold War did not push aside the military components of U.S. foreign policy. In the last decade of the 20th century threats and applications of force often took center stage, ranging from the major war against Iraq to coercive bombing in the Balkans to peacekeeping operations for implementing diplomatic settlements to the delivery of humanitarian aid. Seyom Brown maintains that, despite popular reluctance , the use force as an instrument of foreign policy is likely to grow in the 21st Century, and that this prospect warrants concern and open debateThe increased willingness to consider force as a normal tool of diplomacy has been prompted by both a politically chaotic world in which the globally-dispersed interests of the United States are the targets of hostile threats, and by the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), which promises to bring an unprecedented degree of controllability into the conduct of war.Brown argues that the promise of controllable, precisely calibrated war to serve the countrys foreign policy objectives is a dangerous illusion. He offers a set of guidelines designed to make sure that a heavy burden of justification is always borne by those urging the resort to military force.

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