Debating the political, legal, and moral dimensions of intervention

The trouble with mixed motives: debating the political, legal, and moral dimensions of intervention

Susan D. Fink

In the aftermath of the Iraq war and the transfer to Iraqi authority, a bitter debate persists the motives for the war and the reasons for the transatlantic antipathy thy it engendered. There are those who argue that moral talk coming out of the White House represents a fig leaf for realpolitik, a change in tactics after the failure to find evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Why had President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, both known for their moral personal philosophies and foreign policies, relied primarily on legal and threat-based justifications? (1) Why did they leave until the eleventh hour the moral argument about Saddam’s brutish behavior toward the Iraqi people? Does the timing of various justifications belie their validity?

The Iraq war, like the 1999 Kosovo campaign, was launched without a United Nations Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing it. Some say this unhinged the international legal order, that all moral talk must be expunged from intervention discourse to pave the way for a new legal order, based solely on power and law. (2) But the moral dimension of the Iraq debate is far more pervasive than these critics care to admit. In fact, it was integral to the political and legal cases each nation made, whether or not that nation supported the war. What is more, the prominence of the moral dimension in policy is on the rise, for better and for worse.

The transatlantic relationship is straining under the disagreement about the authorization and justification for the Iraq war, and those wishing to promote anti-American and anti-Western sentiment take advantage of the dispute. The national motivations, indeed, were fundamentally mixed, and skeptics and supporters alike see that as a problem. Yet motives in international politics are invariably mixed. Why then the rancor?

The reason is that there has been a shift in the normative landscape, a radicalization of moral, legal, and political arguments for and against war. What happened in the Iraq case cannot be fully explained by any one of these dimensions alone. (3) It is better to look at the way states authorize and justify the use of force, satisfying domestic and international political requirements–how in this instance Washington, London, Paris, and Bonn chose to justify their behavior leading up to the Iraq war–using all three dimensions, and then test the accusations against them. By examining three contending imperatives within each state’s thinking about intervention–imperatives of power, cooperation, and human solidarity–it is possible to understand the decision each government made.

Again, the truth about motives is not to be found in any one of these ways of thinking–moral, legal, or political–but rather in the debate among them. This approach denies us the ability to make satisfying judgments against one side or the other in the Iraq debate. Yet a complete picture of what happened is not possible without it.


The “triptych” approach to understanding international behavior, and the same set of three categories, by whatever names, have proven advantageous in the past. Lecturing at the London School of Economics in the 1950s, Martin Wight identified three traditions of international thought evident since the Renaissance: the Realists, Rationalists, and Revolutionists. (4) Others have also found that tracing the debate among the three traditions is essential to understanding the most important questions of international politics. Hedley Bull called their respective advocates Hobbesians, Grotians, and Kantians, and more recently Stewart Patrick analyzed the way unilateral and multilateral means are used to achieve nationalist, internationalist and collective objectives. (5) Hereafter, we will call the three traditions the “power,” “cooperative,” and “solidarity” approaches.

The power tradition sees the world as a system of states organized only by the relative power they can wield. Force is the dominant mode of international interaction, since no authority higher than the state exists to enforce national will, laws, or norms. Its adherents take a positivist approach to international law, emphasizing what is rather than what ought to be. The power approach has both aggressive and defensive forms. On the aggressive side, it is willing to impose interests, or in some cases norms, through the use of force. Its more defensive variant favors the promotion of interest by noncoercive means, such as multilateralism and international law.

The cooperative tradition, in contrast, sees an international society–more than a system but not quite a state–underpinned by law and institutions, its parts increasingly interdependent. From this perspective, international politics are shaped less by international anarchy than by custom arising from habitual interaction. Cooperation rather than conflict is the dominant mode of international relations in this tradition. This approach recognizes the existence of international anarchy, on the one hand, but appreciates the value of universal norms on the other. It seeks to reconcile the two by finding the “lesser evil” in policy debates; it concerns itself with matters of law and justice, employs the just war doctrine, looks for the “law behind the law,” and seeks multilateral approaches to diplomacy. There are realist and idealist variants of the cooperative approach; the realist aspect tends to employ multilateral approaches for coercive purposes, while its idealist counterpart sees multilateralism as a way of fostering shared norms.

The third tradition sees the world as one of moral solidarity–an international community that should eventually become a state under a central authority. This view sees the world as made up not so much of states or institutions as of individuals and ideas in which domestic and international politics merge. The moral solidarity view is only superficially about relations among states; it focuses more on collective goals, such as human rights, the environment, labor relations, and other matters it considers of importance to humankind. Inherent in solidarism is mutual exclusivity of ideals, and adherents may promote their ideal using evolutionary or revolutionary means. The evolutionary form focuses on promoting universal ideals through noncoercive measures, while revolutionary adherents are willing to enforce their ideas, even by violent means.

Power-based thinking is attractive to states, which seek to protect and advance their own interests and security. Humanitarian intervention has challenged but has in turn been informed by this approach, producing such hybrids as the “right to intervene” and the Bush administration’s doctrine of limited preemption. (6) Calculations of national interest remain central to the French and German demand for multilateralism, just as they do to the American and British war on terror. The persistence of the power approach is also partly explained by the longevity of the “unipolar moment,” which brings about attempts to counterweight the power of the United States as the sole remaining superpower.

The cooperative approach, nonetheless, has become increasingly embedded in international politics since World War II. The number of international institutions has proliferated in recent years, growing by two-thirds from 1985 to 1999. Such regimes aspire to rein in national power and to harness the best of the moral solidarity imperative by codifying its norms in law. The extensive resort to just war doctrine and the continued importance of seeking UN mandates, such as in the Kosovo and Iraq episodes, are evidence of the persuasiveness of the cooperative tradition.

An upswing of the solidarist thinking is evident in examining the Kosovo and Iraq crises; the national decisions made in those cases cannot be explained purely in terms of power calculations or the requirements of international law. In the months before the Iraq campaign, the human solidarity imperative remained even for states that did not focus on the humanitarian aspects of the problem. States sought international legitimacy by casting in moral terms the struggles between freedom and liberation and between multilateralism and unilateralism.

Thus the rise of solidarist thinking, the institutionalization of cooperative thought, and the persistence of power-based decision making will make the use of force even more hotly debated in the future. In the Kosovo instance, decision makers satisfied the demands of all three imperatives; where they do not, consensus will be unlikely.


In March 1999, NATO launched an aerial campaign over Serbia. Extensive diplomacy, including three Security Council resolutions and negotiations convened under threat of coercion, had failed to resolve the crisis caused by “ethnic cleansing” perpetrated against ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo. (7) By consulting all three traditions, each nation found a combination of political, legal, and moral grounds that overcame resistance to the decision to intervene.

Germany and France initially demanded a UNSC mandate, insisting that without it the action would be illegal under international law. They later reversed their positions, for different reasons. Germany was reacting to a tension within the cooperativist tradition that pitted its post-World War II commitment to international law and multilateralism against its strong wish to be a responsible, reliable international partner. (8) The German position also revealed a tension within solidarism: its left-leaning coalition government was torn between a tradition of pacifism and a desire to uphold human rights and humanitarianism. In the end, the commitments to reliable international partnership and to humanitarian values overcame pacifism and insistence upon multilateralism. The result was a watershed event: (9) the German troops sent to Kosovo were the first ordered to participate in offensive military operations in fifty years–and the decision had been made without a UNSC mandate. (10) The German case, then, was essentially a tension between elements of the cooperative and solidarist traditions, in which the moral component tipped the scales toward intervention.

France’s stance on authorization reflected a desire to bolster its position as a veto-bearing member of the Security Council; it rested authority solely on the authority of previous council resolutions. (11) Yet it had to claim this legitimacy without the resolution that it had previously insisted upon throughout the crisis. (12) This insistence reflected long-standing reservations about American dominance of NATO and European security affairs, and France’s aspiration to a leadership role on the continent. (13) Throughout the crisis, French officials expressed concern about “a new American unilateralism.” (14) To reverse his stance on the UN mandate, President Jacques Chirac declared that “the humanitarian situation constitutes a ground that can justify an exception to a rule, however strong and firm it is.” (15)

France framed its arguments in just war terms–in particular, the fulfillment of the principle of last resort and NATO’s just cause in the face of Milosevic’s barbarous crimes and continued recalcitrance. The French justification was also a moral one, not just because of humanitarian aims but in its sense of spreading French values as universal norms, especially the “matter of human rights on our continent.” (16) The French approach was thus essentially a hybrid of power and solidarist thinking, with multilateralism supporting both.

The British, for their part, claimed the existence of an “humanitarian exception” to the authority of the Security Council and cited previous resolutions as a legal basis. (17) The British justification represented a blend of strong cooperativist and solidarist traditions. Prime Minister Tony Blair explained, “This is a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand…. We have learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. If we let an evil dictator range unchallenged, we will have to spill infinitely more blood and treasure to stop him later.” (18) Blair further framed the crisis as a fight between the forces of order and “a disintegration into chaos and disorder” in which “many regimes … are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts.” (19) Whereas the Germans saw tension between values and interests, Britons accepted what Blair called a “subtle blend of mutual self interest and moral purpose” in which “the spread of our values makes us safer.” (20) The British approach was thus a harmony of cooperativist and solidarist thinking.

The United States based its legal justification on previous Security Council resolutions, the impending humanitarian emergency, and a threat to peace and security in the region. In the debates within the U.S. government, justification was framed in terms of the national interest. By the end of the 1990s, the administration believed it had exhausted congressional patience with requests for troops where vital national interests were not at stake. In any case, interest-based arguments resonated with the American people as well, as did emphasis on U.S. rather than UN authorization to act. The American case was thus essentially power based, with moral claims and legal aspects adduced in support.

The three traditions, then, were clearly present in the decision making of each of the four countries in 1999. All three dimensions had to be accommodated to make consensus possible. The lesson of the Kosovo case is that diverging attitudes can be reconciled if decision makers satisfy the demands of all three imperatives. It also points to an upswing in the power of the solidarist arguments, which forcefully challenged both strictly power-based calculations of national interest and cooperativist attachment to international law.


The Iraq case shows that the ethical dimension was influenced by two contending agendas for the future of international order. Even though the Americans and British, on one side, and the French and Germans, on the other, differed on justification and authorization, both viewed Iraq, as they had Kosovo, in the context of a struggle between “civilization” and “barbarity.” Their visions of civilization, however, were sharply at variance. The American and British leaders saw a struggle between human liberty and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship; the French and Germans saw a contest between multilateralism and unilateralism, between collective responsibility and superpower prerogative. (21)

Ethical determinations regarding authorization and justification were shaped by these contending viewpoints, just as these lenses continue today to color judgments on the decisions of early 2003. One such judgment is that important moral dimensions were not taken account of at the time; in particular, there was insufficient frank discussion of the humanitarian costs of the alternatives of war and of continued coercive diplomacy and containment.

The November 2002 vote on Security Council Resolution 1441 was viewed as a referendum on war with Iraq. France insisted that its vote in favor of the resolution was meant to “strengthen the role of the UN”; (22) this insistence reflected France’s interest in strengthening its own international position as a permanent member of the Security Council. The United States and Britain saw UNSCR 1441 as fulfilling the last-resort principle; France and Germany disagreed, countering that “the conditions for using force against Iraq are not fulfilled.” (23) The Germans insisted that “the unity of the [UN Security] Council is of central importance” and, in light of that imperative, argued for a continuation of containment, sanctions, and no-fly zones. (24) Nonproliferation regimes had not, Berlin felt, been fully exploited; the Germans held that “peaceful means have therefore not been exhausted,” that the Security Council was “crucial to world order” in the future, and that war should be avoided. (25) The German approach was thus cooperativist, but because it allowed no military option at all, it was also solidarist, taking the form of an idealized multilateralism.

President Chirac took a moral-exclusivist stance as well, on the necessary source of authority for war. He maintained that the UN was “the only legitimate framework for building peace, in Iraq and elsewhere” and that France would advance its principles through collective action. (26) Other French officials, meanwhile, were arguing that adherence to international law was a moral obligation, that only such law could legitimate the use of force, and that France must advance the idea of collective responsibility. (27) At home, Jacques Chirac’s popularity soared in proportion to the anti-American nature of his stance. (28) Just as in the Kosovo case, France’s position was thus a moralized power-based approach, with the cooperative tradition in a supporting role.

The British, as they had in Kosovo, insisted upon a sound legal basis for intervention in Iraq. The British attorney general declared that military action would not violate international law, though other lawyers insisted on the opposite. (29) The British people insisted on either proof of the existence of weapons of mass destruction or issuance of a UN mandate. (30) Politicians called for a separate Security Council mandate for the reconstruction of Iraq, in order to avoid a postwar occupation situation; the prime minister accordingly persuaded the Americans to seek a second Security Council resolution for intervention. Yet the British stance was as moral as it was legal. Echoing his approach in 1999, Blair couched the threat as “disorder and chaos” that jeopardized other foreign policy aims such as the alleviation of poverty, protection of the environment, and the promotion of international health. The threat, he held, was embodied in states and groups that “hate our way of life, our freedom, our democracy.” (31) As in the Kosovo case, the struggle was not with the people of the Iraqi nation but with “barbarous rulers” who defied collective norms and laws. (32) Thus the British argument, like the German position, was a combination of strong cooperative and solidarity approaches.

The United States relied on previous Security Council resolutions to authorize intervention–a cooperativist approach. This tradition was also apparent in American just war arguments. Washington interpreted UNSCR 1441 and subsequent inspections as giving Saddam his last chance, beyond which lay force, the last resort. Secretary Powell later recalled, “We gave diplomacy every chance…. [W]e could wait no longer.” (33) The power approach was also clearly evident in the American case: “The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security.” (34)

Thus cooperative and power-based imperatives informed the way the United States viewed authorization for war. However, the roles of both had their limits. While legal advisers suggested that the American presence in Iraq was technically an occupation, the moral imperative of “liberation” was more important. The president made Iraqi liberation the centerpiece of his 2003 Captive Nations Week address. (35) Stating his case at the UN General Assembly before the war, the president emphasized solidarity with the Iraqi people, who had, he said, “suffered too long in silent captivity.” He explained, “Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal.” (36) Finally, the whole approach was couched as a great struggle for human liberty. The idea of liberation is central to solidarist thinking.

In his well known June 2002 West Point graduation speech, the president spoke of the American “commanders who [had] saved a civilization.” (37) In his speech at the war’s end, he likened the American posture to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, the Truman Doctrine, and Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” doctrine. (38) Clearly, Bush saw the state of the world as a struggle between the civilized forces of democracy and human liberty, on one side, and the barbaric forces of oppression on the other. (39) The American position, like that of the French, was thus a strongly solidarist version of the power-based approach. Like the German and British, they had similar approaches but reached opposite conclusions on intervention. Likewise the German and French reached the same conclusion from different motives.

Decision makers did not reach agreement, as they had four years earlier, and policy and diplomacy have suffered thereby. In particular, the Iraqi people and the men and women of the coalition forces have lost the benefits that could have accrued from increased international cooperation. But it is not too late.


The Kosovo crisis was 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. If the structural deficiencies that exacerbate discord are addressed, however, cohesive policy is possible. Even before then, there are some practical steps that states can take.

Accept the Dilemma of Mixed Motives. Policy makers can resist temptations to exploit seeming inconsistencies in policy to their political advantage. They can instead ratchet down the rhetoric and accept, as Michael Walzer urges us, that “the lives of foreigners don’t weigh that heavily in the scales of domestic decision making. So we shall have to consider the moral significance of mixed motives.” (40) In both the Kosovo and Iraq cases, there existed neither strictly realpolitik nor purely cooperative positions. Leaders can help publics recognize the dilemma of diverging moral imperatives, just as they acknowledge contending interests and varying, even conflicting, legal interpretations.

Make the Humanitarian and Human Rights Case. One of the casualties of the trend toward polarization between the war on terror and the multilateral imperative was the thorough discussion of humanitarian considerations. Justifications offered before the Iraq intervention, and criticism of those justifications, did not bear out the promise of what some human rights advocates had seen after the Kosovo intervention as “the beginning of the new age of human rights enforcement.” (41)

The United States and Britain produced reports regarding Saddam Hussein’s abuses but did not refer to them extensively. Human rights and humanitarian officials were surprisingly absent from the debates. (42) The French/German side argued for disarmament rather than regime change, whereas the American/ British coalition called for the use of force. The human rights/humanitarian argument for the removal of Saddam Hussein but against the use of force was not fully heard, and this was a missed opportunity. First, the suffering of the Iraqi people, concealed for years by limited access, could have been more fully exposed. Second, such arguments would have resonated with publics and citizens, who deserved but did not see an open and careful weighing of the human costs and benefits of either containment or military intervention. (43) Finally, such an argument, forcefully made, would have increased pressure on regional regimes to censure Saddam Hussein.

Establish Criteria for just War Decision Making. Just war criteria reemerged in the 1990s as a framework for moral arguments about the use of force. In 2003, it at least made the language of proper authority, just cause, and right intention central in public pronouncements. In part, the ethic was popular with governments because it gave them general and persuasive norms to which to appeal, rather than specific and possibly binding laws. That such words resonate with publics, however, is no doubt the main reason leaders use them. Decision makers should establish criteria applying just war principles to various situations such as rogue states possessing WMD, reducing the temptation to wield just war doctrine solely as a political tool and thus enhancing its usefulness in general.


The moral dimension played an important role in the political and legal debates about authorization and justification of intervention in Kosovo and Iraq. The moral element was not merely “tacked on” or secondary; rather, it informed legal and political considerations, overcoming objections to the use of force in Kosovo and causing a standoff among NATO allies with regard to Iraq.

The lesson is that of the three imperatives that influence international behavior, the solidarist approach will be increasingly important in the decades ahead but that laws and institutions have not caught up to the social reality. This is nothing new. In the nineteenth century, the dominance of the power tradition stimulated bilateral international relations and brought an institutionalized balance of power. In the twentieth century, the cooperative approach prevailed in the aftermath of two world wars, and multilateralism and international institutions proliferated. Entering the twenty-first century, the solidarist imperative is on the rise, fostered by transnational movements, the democratization of information technology, and other trends. (44) Current political and legal structures are inadequate to address this increasingly collective consciousness, on one hand, and increasing transborder threats, state failure, and poverty on the other. The legitimacy of unilateralism and multilateralism is no longer the issue; the need is for a three-tiered diplomacy that integrates–by addressing simultaneously–the persistence of power, the embedded nature of cooperation, and the reemergence of the solidarist imperative. (45)

A way to begin is to identify and bolster the elements of the old order that nations hold most dearly and in common. Norms of humanitarian intervention, protection, and prevention of WMD proliferation have all been proposed as ripe for codification, but states continue to resist engaging the matter. (46) A decade after the Rwanda genocide, decision makers have yet to develop criteria for responding to such crises. In his address to the UN on 23 September 2003, Kofi Annan lamented that the international community was “hesitant and tardy” in engaging in “serious discussions of the best way to respond to threats of genocide or other comparable massive violations of human rights.” (47) With that task still undone, leaders must now agree upon criteria for countering imminent threats of rogue states and terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction. Codification and criteria development will be a difficult process, but one well worth the diplomatic toil. (48)

That said, nations should give existing universal values a chance. Western intellectuals are often the quickest to question the universality of norms, such as those in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They can do so only by ignoring the fact that the declaration had international authorship and offers international benefits. (49) Likewise, critics may continue to argue that the trend away from United Nations mandates means that all talk of right and wrong should be expunged from the law and replaced by state practice. The Kosovo and Iraq decisions, however, show that moral talk is state practice. The reason is that, despite significant legal and political disagreements surrounding authorization and justification for forcible intervention, fundamental freedoms, to those who do not yet possess them, remain more than rhetorical.


(1.) Daniel Casse, “The War of Ideas: A Look at the Men and Women Who Shape Bush’s Bold Foreign Policy,” Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2004, available at www.opinionjournal .com/forms/printThis.html?id=110004795.

(2.) Michael Glennon, “Why the Security Council Failed,” Foreign Affairs (May/June 2003), p. 32.

(3.) For a power-based look explaining the French and British positions as a contest for leadership on the European continent see John O’Sullivan, “The British-French Duel,” United Press International, 24 March 2003. For a strictly economic argument explaining the American position as a contest for control of Iraqi oil fields see Jeffrey Sachs, “Saudi Arabia Was Real Target in Iraq War,” Financial Times, 12 August 2003, available at www 2003/0812target.htm. For a human rights perspective, see Ken Roth, “War in Iraq: Not a Humanitarian Intervention,” Human Rights Watch, available at For a just war analysis supporting the war, see George Weigel, “Iraq and Just War, Revisited,” available at PFarticle.asp?vm_id=2&art_id-23364&sec _id=44806.

(4.) Martin Wight, International Theory: The Three Traditions (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1992), pp. 7-24.

(5.) In reference to Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679, English philosopher), Hugo Grotius (1583-1645, Dutch jurist and statesman), and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804, German philosopher). Stewart Patrick, “Beyond Coalitions of the Willing: Assessing U.S. Multilateralism,” in Strategy and Force Planning, 4th ed., ed. Security, Strategy, and Forces Faculty (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College, 2004), pp. 589-602.

(6.) Right to intervene or “right of interference”: see, for example, Bernard Kouchner, “The Future of Humanitarianism,” twenty-third annual Morgenthau Memorial Lecture on Ethics and Foreign Policy, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, 2 March 2004, available at 23%20MML.pdf. Doctrine of limited preemption: George W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: September 2002), p. 15.

(7.) The UN Security Council resolutions were UNSCR 1160 of 31 March 1998, calling upon Belgrade and the Kosovo Albanian leaders to enter into meaningful dialogue with international involvement, for the return of refugees and a solution to the political problems in Kosovo, and an understanding that the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia should be maintained and the rights of the Kosovo Albanians respected; UNSCR 1199 of 23 September 1998, calling for a cessation of hostilities, endorsement of international monitoring, and the establishment of Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM); and UNSCR 1203 of 24 October 1998, endorsing the agreements between Yugoslavia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) inserting an observer mission and between Yugoslavia and NATO, and calling for the use of force in Serbia in the form of unarmed aerial observer missions to verify compliance with the cease-fire and refugee returns. Additionally, the Security Council issued, in the form of presidential statements, condemnations of the Racak massacre (19 January 1999) and Belgrade’s declaration of the head of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) as persona non grata (29 January 1999). It further condemned the barring of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from Yugoslavia after the Racak massacre, and the shooting of KVM personnel.

(8.) Article 25 of the German Basic Law states: “The general rules of public international law form part of the Federal law. They take precedence over the laws and directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants of the Federal territory.”

(9.) Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping declared the Kosovo operation “very clearly … a turning point in German foreign policy…. [I]n my view, this is a turning point in a certainly positive way.” Echoing Gerhard Schroeder, he referred to German responsibility among nations, stating, “For the first time we accept responsibility in such a fundamental matter, and Germany is part of Europe, of the western democracies, and not opposed to them as it was until the end of World War II.” Rudolf Scharping, interview with Richard Meng, Main Frankfurter Rundschau, Internet version, 27 March 1999, Federal Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), FBIS-WEU-1999-0327.

(10.) Adrian Hyde-Price, “Berlin Republic Takes to Arms,” World Today (June 1999), p. 13, quoted in Pierre Martin and Mark R. Brawley, eds., Alliance Politics, Kosovo, and NATO’s War: Allied Force or Forced Allies? (New York: Palgrave, 2000), p. 131. German troops had participated in earlier crisis-management operations in the 1990s, including service in Somalia, Cambodia, and Bosnia. See David Yost, NA TO Transformed: The Alliance’s New Roles in International Security (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace, 1999), p. 189.

(11.) Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres Dossiers d’archive, “Legal Basis of the Action Undertaken by NATO” (Paris, 25 March 1999), available at dossiers/kossovo/kossovo.html.

(12.) Craig R. Whitney, “French Are Gearing Up to Join in Dousing the Flames in Kosovo,” New York Times, 25 January 1999, p. A6.

(13.) Throughout the Kosovo crisis, France was engaged in promoting European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), the purpose of the December 1998 meeting at Saint Malo with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and President Jacques Chirac of France. See Dimitris Keridis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr., NATO and Southeastern Europe: Security Issues for the Early 21st Century (Dulles, Va.: Brassey’s, 2000), and Fraser Cameron, The Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Past, Present and Future (Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic, 1999).

(14.) John Vinocur, “Going It Alone, U.S. Upsets France; So Paris Begins a Campaign to Strengthen Multilateral Institutions,” International Herald Tribune, 3 February 1999, p. 1. In January 1999, Prime Minister Jospin announced, “We’re confronted with a new problem on the international scene. The United States often behaves in a unilateral manner and has difficulty in assuming the role it aspires to as organizer in the international community.” In February 1999, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine described the United States as a “hyperpower” that had to be counterbalanced. In an interview with Liberation, Vedrine suggested five steps to countering American power: solid nerves; perseverance; methodical widening of the bases of agreement among Europeans; cooperation at each stage with the United States, combining friendship and the will to be respected, while defending in all circumstances organized multilateralism and the prerogatives of the Security Council; preparation–politically, institutionally, and mentally–for the moment when Europe has the courage to go farther.

(15.) Jacques Chirac, press conference at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, 6 October 1998, cited in Ivo H. Daalder and Michael E. O’Hanlon, Winning Ugly: NATO’s War to Save Kosovo (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2001), p. 44.

(16.) Jacques Chirac, Speech to the French People, 24 March 1999, available at www.diplomatie .fr/actual/dossiers/kossovo/

(17.) United Nations Security Council S/PV.3988, 24 March 1999, available at PV-3988.pdf.

(18.) Tony Blair, “Doctrine of the International Community,” in Strategy and Force Planning, ed. Security, Strategy, and Forces Faculty, pp. 569-79.

(19.) Tony Blair, “Chaos and Disorder,” House of Commons, 23 March 1999, available at pa/cm 199899/cmhansrd/vo990323/debtext/ 90323-03.htm. Blair, “Barbarous Acts,” and “Doctrine of the International Community.”

(20.) Ibid.

(21.) During the 1999 Kosovo debates, Chirac offered a plan to counter U.S. “unilateralism”–a proposal made to the French diplomatic corps that the UN General Assembly consider reshaping the international order based upon “collective sovereignty.” He listed seven principles, the first (at the unnamed Americans) advocating “collective responsibility” in international action “excluding unilateral temptations and leading to shared management of the global risks and threats that weigh on our peoples.” Vinocur, “Going It Alone.”

(22.) NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 8 November 2002.

(23.) “Battle of the Rival Texts,” Guardian Unlimited, available at Story/0,2763,902543,00.html.

(24.) Joschka Fischer, “Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Joschka Fischer: Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation between Iraq and Kuwait, New York, 5 February 2003,” available at www.germany-info .org/relaunch/politics/speeches/020503.htm.

(25.) Joschka Fischer, “Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Joschka Fischer: Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation between Iraq and Kuwait, New York, 19 March 2003,” available at www.germany-info .org/relaunch/politics/speeches/031903.htm.

(26.) Jacques Chirac, 20 March 2003, available at _article=191.

(27.) Dominique de Villepin, “Law, Force and Justice,” speech delivered to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 27 March 2003, available at _gb.php3?id_article=240.

(28.) Philip Delves Broughton, “Chirac’s Tough Stand Wins Friends at Home,” Daily Telegraph, 17 March 2003, available at www .jhtml?xml=/news. Sixty percent of French citizens opposed the war with or without a UN mandate, a level of opposition second only to the Spanish in Europe. Support for the war rose significantly in Britain and Germany with the prospect of a separate Security Council resolution (“A Review of Worldwide Support (or Lack of It) for War on Iraq,” Eriposte, iraq_war_worldwide_support.htm.

(29.) Clare Short, “Full Text: Clare Short’s Statement,” Guardian, 18 March 2003, available at,2763 ,916678,00.html.

(30.) Support for the war in Britain was 75 percent with both proof of WMD and a UN mandate, 46 percent with proof alone, 41 percent with a mandate only, and 24 percent with neither. “War with Iraq” (poll), MORI Social Research Institute, .shtml.

(31.) Tony Blair, “Britain Has Never Been a Nation to Hide at the Back,” Guardian, 21 March 2003, available at Story/0,2763,918661,00.html.

(32.) Ibid.

(33.) Colin Powell, “Speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, 31 March 2003,” available at 0,2763,296277,00.html.

(34.) George W. Bush, “War Ultimatum from the Cross Hall in the White House, 18 March 2003,” available at Story/0,2763,916543,00.html.

(35.) “A Proclamation by the President of the United States: Captive Nations Week, 2003,” available at releases/2003/07. The Captive Nations Week Resolution, signed by President Eisenhower and passed as Public Law 86-90 on 9 July 1959, declared, “Those submerged nations look to the United States, as the citadel of human freedom, for leadership in bringing about their liberation and independence and in restoring to them the enjoyment of their Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, or other religious freedoms, and of their individual liberties.” Despite its bold wording, successive presidents ignored the law, and liberation theory was often credited more as a domestic political strategy to “roll back” political opposition rather than communism. See, for example, Perry L. Weed, The White Ethnic Movement and Ethnic Politics (New York: Praeger, 1973), and John W. Spanier, American Foreign Policy since World War II, 11th ed. (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1988). Whereas previously most administrations minimized commemoration of captive nations and liberation theory altogether, the Bush administration, like the Reagan administration before it, seems willing to act on it.

(36.) George W. Bush, “President’s Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly,” 12 September 2002, available at www.whitehouse .gov/news/releases/2002/09/print/20020912-1 .html.

(37.) George W. Bush, “President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point,” 1 June 2002, available at releases/2002/06/print/20020601-3.html.

(38.) George W. Bush, “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended: Remarks by the President from the USS Abraham Lincoln,” available at www 20030501-15.html. The Four Freedoms were those of speech and worship, and from want and fear (declared 6 January 1941 and incorporated in the August 1941 Atlantic Charter); Harry S. Truman declared on 12 March 1947 his determination to extend military and economic aid to any nation threatened by communism; on 8 June 1982 President Ronald Reagan asserted the need to promote and extend freedom in the face of the “totalitarian evil” represented by the Soviet Union.

(39.) In a half-hour address in November 2003, he used the terms “freedom” and “liberty” fifty-four times, and “democracy” thirty times, mentioning national interests only once. George W. Bush, “Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy,” 6 November 2003, available at releases/2003/11/print/20031106-3.html.

(40.) Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (New York: Basic Books), pp. 101-102.

(41.) David Chandler, From Kosovo to Kabul: Human Rights and International Intervention (London: Pluto, 2002), p. 12.

(42.) See, for example, Bernard Kouchner, “France Is at an Impasse,” Le Monde, 3 March 2003, available at themes_45.htm.

(43.) See, for example, Walter Russell Mead, “Deadlier than War,” Washington Post, 12 March 2003, p. A21.

(44.) The international campaign to ban land mines is an example of the way trans-state movements are already interacting with states and multilateral institutions to shape policy.

(45.) Martin Wight found that the tradition that focuses on moral solidarity, what he called “Revolutionism,” has emerged not as a steady stream of thought but rather in waves. Examples of the preeminence of the tradition in international politics include the Wars of Religion, the French Revolutionists, and twentieth-century totalitarianism. Martin Wight, International Theory: The Three Traditions (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1992), p. 10. The current phenomenon of radicalized religious movements using international terrorism may be interpreted as a fourth wave of this tradition.

(46.) For example, The Responsibility to Protect, Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (Ottawa: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, December 2001), available at .asp; and Lee Feinstein and Anne-Marie Slaughter, “The Duty to Prevent,” Foreign Affairs 83, no. 1 (January/February 2004), pp. 136-50.

(47.) Kofi Annan, “Secretary General’s Address to the General Assembly, New York, 23 September 2003,” available at ossg/sg/pages/23sept.htm.

(48.) See Martin Wight, “Western Values in International Relations,” Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), p. 111.

(49.) Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (New York: Random House, 2001).

Commander Fink is a member of the Naval War College’s National Security Decision Making faculty. A 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, she is a helicopter pilot and has served as detachment officer in charge in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 11 (HC-11), as well as on the staff of Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet. Commander Fink has served as a White House Fellow and has earned a master’s degree in national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, as well as a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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