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Can Intervention Work?
     

Can Intervention Work?

by Rory Stewart, Gerald Knaus
 

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Best-selling author Rory Stewart and political economist Gerald Knaus examine the impact of large-scale interventions, from Bosnia to Afghanistan.
“A fresh and critically important perspective on foreign interventions” (Washington Post), Can Intervention Work? distills Rory Stewart’s (author of The Places In Between) and Gerald

Overview

Best-selling author Rory Stewart and political economist Gerald Knaus examine the impact of large-scale interventions, from Bosnia to Afghanistan.
“A fresh and critically important perspective on foreign interventions” (Washington Post), Can Intervention Work? distills Rory Stewart’s (author of The Places In Between) and Gerald Knaus’s remarkable firsthand experiences of political and military interventions into a potent examination of what we can and cannot achieve in a new era of nation building. As they delve into the massive, military-driven efforts in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the authors reveal each effort’s enormous consequences for international relations, human rights, and our understanding of state building. Stewart and Knaus parse carefully the philosophies that have informed interventionism—from neoconservative to liberal imperialist—and draw on their diverse experiences in the military, nongovernmental organizations, and the Iraqi provincial government to reveal what we can ultimately expect from large-scale interventions and how they might best realize positive change in the world. Author and columnist Fred Kaplan calls Can Intervention Work? “the most thorough examination of the subject [of intervention] that I’ve read in a while.”

Editorial Reviews

Seth G. Jones
…Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus provide a fresh and critically important perspective on foreign interventions…the book's insistence on caution and humility in foreign interventions is an important contribution, which bucks conventional wisdom.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Stewart and Knaus convincingly argue for new approaches to understanding and executing political and military intervention in the modern world. Making use of firsthand experiences in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the authors move beyond the philosophical models utilized by various international organizations and analyze both the efficacy and consequences of nation building. James Langton provides steady, clear narration for this audio edition. He pronounces esoteric terms and foreign phrases consistently and without hesitation. His use of emphasis focuses listener attention on important passages and guides them through complicated sections. Additionally, Langton’s tone invites listeners to think about the book’s arguments and assertions. Although his English accent adds zest to this rather academic exploration of international intervention, listeners without an understanding of global politics may become confused or lose interest. A Norton hardcover. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"James Langton provides steady, clear narration...His use of emphasis focuses listener attention on important passages and guides them through complicated sections...[his] tone invites listeners to think about the book's arguments and assertions." - Publishers Weekly

"...a fresh and critically important perspective on foreign interventions...the book's insistence on caution and humility in foreign interventions is an important contribution, which bucks conventional wisdom." - The Washington Post

Kirkus Reviews

A sober assessment of what "intervention" can and cannot accomplish.

British Parliament member Stewart (The Places In Between, 2006, etc.) and Knaus, the founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative, are not opposed to interventionper se, but they argue that many of its premises, and certainly the implementation, are faulty. Stewart takes up failures in execution of intervention especially in Afghanistan, and Knaus shows that the Bosnian precedent, often considered a model for success, was anything but. In Afghanistan, there is a mismatch between means and ends—the spending of $14 billion per year just on training the military and police cannot be sustained by a government with a budget of just $1 billion per year. Knaus deconstructs a succession of untruths or exaggerations about the Balkans War, where the so-called Brcko model was based on giving plenipotentiary or almost vice-regal powers to an administrator. After becoming generalized there, the program was transferred to Iraq, along with personnel, under the Coalition Provisional Authority. Knaus shows that the successes attributed to the model are largely mythical and that what was accomplished by the CPA was based largely on models other than those implemented in Bosnia. Stewart and Knaus stress that lip service to rhetorical or administrative formulas and standards and exaggeration of threat and achievement are no substitutes for truthfulness.

Two experienced authors effectively identify what those who decide to make such interventions require for success, that what is required often does not exist and that brute force is not a viable alternative.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393342246
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/27/2012
Series:
Amnesty International Global Ethics Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,166,844
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Rory Stewart is a member of the British Parliament and the former Ryan Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

Gerald Knaus, founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative, is a Carr Center Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

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