The Nonintervention Delusion: What War Is Good For

by Djallel Khechib

Author: Richard Fontaine

Affiliation: The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) 

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs  

Date/Place: November/December, 2019, U.S.

Type of Literature:  Journal Article

Word Count: 4962


Keywords: U.S. Wars,  Military Interventions, Costs and Benefits, Record of Interventions. 



Despite the loudness of official and academic voices within the U.S. criticizing the principle of military intervention and calling for an end to these endless costly wars which are waged in vain, especially in the Middle East, the author argues here that military intervention is an essential and important tool as a tradition of U.S. foreign policy, thatand policymakers must accept this fact and take advantage of the correct lessons for interference during recent decades. Thus, the claims regarding “the end of interventions” are just delusions. In order to prove his perspective, the author identifiesconfines five basic arguments on which critics of the military intervention principle rely on, then attemptshe to refutes them one by one. The arguments are: 1. Washington does not need to use military force in response to terrorism (and its impacts), especially as its severity effects diminishes after 18 years of the war on terror. 2. Bad history of interventions. 3. The inability of the U.S. to exit easily after an intervention. 4. Why should the U.S. shoulder the burden of interventions and solve problems alone when its allies can do the duty as well as those concerned with the intervention? 5. The iIntervention was often carried out in places that were less important to the U.S’. vital interests, so the resources for these interventions must be spent on the real threats posed by powers like China and Russia. In response to these arguments, Fontaine sees argues that: 1. Terrorism continues to pose a danger to the United States, her values and interests, so preventing the atrocities by force will limit the evolution of terrorism and spare Washington more costly military interventions in the future, as it happened in Bosnia, Kosovo, etc. 2. There is also a record of successes for military interventions, and the opposing voices are selective ones, for instance, expelling Saddam from Kuwait, ending the war in Bosnia, restricting the terrorist movement in the Middle East, and abolishing the physical presence of ISIS. 3. Staying after an intervention does not necessarily mean being involveding in a costly fighting, it may be to train local forces, orto maintain stability and balance. 4. The U.S. alone has the capacity and the will to lead successful military operations. The European allies proved their failure in taking matters into their own hands such as i, (In the Balkans and, Libya…), as well as the US’American’s Gulf allies who preferred to intervened in Yemen, but insteadthey caused a humanitarian disaster and while strengtheninged the very Iranian role it sought to eliminate. 5. The American’ abandonment of military intervention in the Middle East may lead to the increasing of terrorism and distract her attention regarding the rise of China, just as it happened after the  9/11 attacks. Finally, the author provides “a set of useful recommendations” for Washington in order to ensure a successful military intervention in the future. 

By: Djallel Khechib, CIGA Senior Research Associate

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