Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session
The purpose of this seminar is to examine systematically, and comparatively, great and middle power military interventions into civil wars during the 1990's. These civil wars were high on the policy agenda of western states during the 1990's. Yet, these interventions were usually not motivated by obvious classical vital interests. Given the extraordinary security enjoyed by the great and middle powers of the west in the Cold War's aftermath, these activities are puzzling.
The United States played a significant role in most of the cases. The interventions required the employment of significant military power in actual combat operations, and/or sustained peace enforcement operations, which cost real money. They often resulted in modest casualties for the interveners, and sometimes significant casualties for the objects of their intervention. The interventions were controversial, at least in the United States. These civil wars and the interventions they precipitated required considerable attention from policy makers. They were, in short, not "cheap."
The interventions to be examined are the 1991 effort to protect the Kurds in N. Iraq; the 1993 effort to ameliorate famine in Somalia; the 1994 effort to restore the Aristide government in Haiti, the 1995 effort to end the conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina, and the 1999 Nato war to end Serbia's control of Kosovo. By way of comparison the weak efforts made to slow or stop the 1994 genocide in Rwanda will also be examined.
The seminar approaches these interventions with a range of questions:
These interventions command attention for both theoretical and policy scientific reasons. Theoretically, an examination of these interventions may tell us something about broad trends in international politics. They may shed light on such questions as the nature of "unipolarity," or the erosion of sovereignty norms. An examination of these interventions is also necessary in light of the September 11 attack. All security related discussions now focus on the counter terror war. Were the interventions of the 1990's merely an interlude, while states awaited bigger threats? Or do they tell us something about the future of international politics. From a policy science point of view, these interventions all amounted to "limited wars" for the intervening powers. What do they tell us about how to conduct limited war? What have they taught us about modern conventional military power? What have they taught us about differences among the military organizations and capabilities of the western powers?
This is a seminar. All who show up for class are expected to participate, whether they are taking the course for credit or not. All should do the reading, or the seminar format cannot work. The Professor will serve as discussion leader. Depending on numbers, one or more students per week will be asked to make a ten-minute presentation outlining the key issues raised in the reading. All students taking the course for credit will present some work during the final class meetings of the semester. Auditors working on related projects are also encouraged to present their work during these final meetings.
Those taking the course for credit can satisfy the requirement for written work in one of two ways: a typical class paper, or, a pair of review essays. The latter requires some explanation. The student will read at least two related books for each of the review essays, for a total of four books. These cannot be the required books on the syllabus.