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Imperialism or barbarism

Human rights is the organising principle of the new world order just as anti-communism was for the cold war. So far the west has willed the ends but not the means. After Kosovo, we must acknowledge that the only realistic means is a system of liberal imperialism based on great power mandates.

By David Rieff   July 1999

If anything is clear from the Kosovo crisis-and, for that matter, from the unhappy experiences of outside intervention forces over the past decade in places such as Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia-it is that ad hoc responses to state failure and humanitarian catastrophe are rarely successful. At the same time, the fact that there is now a willingness on the part at least of the Nato countries to intervene militarily in the internal conflicts of other nations represents a radical change in international affairs. The conflict over Kosovo, the first war ever waged by the Nato alliance, was undertaken more in…

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