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There are many ways in which humanitarian intervention is viewed as a quintessentially liberal foreign policy practice from the fact that liberal-democratic states have the principle initiators and the important role accorded to international institutions and the traditionally liberal concern for human rights The 1999 Kossovo crisis is not an exception If you look at the military operations carried out by the English-speaking nations in the last twenty years the successes have been those which were undertaken either to expel a foreign invader as in the Falklands in 1982 and Kuwait in 1991 or to overthrow a dictatorship which had negligible public support as in Grenada in 1983 Panama in 1989 and Haiti in 1994 Getting involved in a civil war is much more risky For example the United Nations intervention in Somalia from 1992 to 1995 was a total fiasco which achieved absolutely nothing When a civil war breaks out in a backward Third World country such as Somalia Sierra Leone Algeria or the Sudan both sides are usually just as bad as each other so it is not worth backing either of them These countries are not likely to become stable democracies in the foreseeable future no matter what the Western powers do In these sorts of cases it would be wise to follow a policy of non-intervention and leave the combatants to stew in their own juice Kossovo on the other hand is not a backward Third World country It is a part of Europe only two hours by jet from Heathrow Airport nearer to us than some of the places where millions of Britons spend their summer holidays it was Robert Burns who said that even if you cannot right the worlds wrongs you should at least do what you can The conflict between the Serbs and the Kossovars is not a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other There is no doubt that
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