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NATO, Kosovo and ‘humanitarian intervention’

28 pages, pdf
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NATO, Kosovo and ‘humanitarian intervention’

Publisher: Paul Latawski

Volume: 28 pages, pdf


NATO’s employment of military power against the government of Slobodan Milosevic over Kosovo has been among the most controversial aspects of the Alliance’s involvement in South East Europe since the end of the Cold War. The air operations between March and June 1999 have been variously described as war, ‘humanitarian war’, ‘virtual war’, intervention and ‘humanitarian intervention’ by the conflict’s many commentators and critics. Key features of the debates over NATO’s employment of military power have been concerned with its legality and legitimacy (i.e. the role of the UN and international law), its ethical basis and its impact on the doctrine of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states. The conceptual debates that have raged over these issues are important not only within the context of European security but more generally for their impact on the international system as a whole. This chapter examines these issues by focusing on three broad questions. Why did NATO undertake military action over Kosovo? What kind of armed conflict did it engage in? Can such a resort to force be justified?