Other People’s Wars

  • Paul D. Williams


On 22 April 1999, Tony Blair suggested that ‘the most pressing foreign policy problem’ Britain faced was to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people’s conflicts’.1 Although Blair did not specify what exactly he meant by ‘other people’s conflicts’ his speech was primarily concerned with other people’s wars. Using NATO’s Operation Allied Force in Kosovo as the springboard to define his position on military intervention more broadly, Blair warned his American audience that in an age of accelerating globalisation, noninterference and isolationism were no longer credible policy options. The ideal of non-intervention had served its purpose but now needed to ‘be qualified in important respects’ including when genocide and ethnic cleansing were taking place. For Blair five questions could help decide when military intervention was appropriate: ‘First, are we sure of our case? … Second, have we exhausted all diplomatic options? … Third, on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake? … Fourth, are we prepared for the long term? … And finally, do we have national interests involved?’2 Interestingly, rather than answering the question of which


Foreign Policy Security Council Military Intervention Peace Operation Operation Enduring Freedom 
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Copyright information

© Paul D. Williams 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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