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Can Intervention Work?

Overview

Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus distill their 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 Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, the expansion of the EU, and the bloodless "color" revolutions in the former Soviet states, they reveal each effort's consequences for international relations, human rights, and our understanding of state ...

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Can Intervention Work? (Norton Global Ethics Series)

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Overview

Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus distill their 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 Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, the expansion of the EU, and the bloodless "color" revolutions in the former Soviet states, they reveal each effort's consequences for international relations, human rights, and our understanding of state building. Stewart and Knaus parse carefully the philosophies that have informed interventionism and draw on their 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.

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Editorial Reviews

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With test cases from Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan bubbling up in the news, Americans have good cause to reevaluate the effects of interventionism. Author Rory Stewart (The Places In Between) is a good position to do so. As a member of the British parliament and a Foreign Service embassy official, he has made forays into troubled areas including Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. In Can Intervention Work?, he joins with Gerald Knaus, the founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative, to explore the possibilities and pitfalls of interventionism and nation-building. A timely topic by two authorities.

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.)
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
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611203776
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart has written for the New York Times Magazine, Granta, and the London Review of Books, and is the author of The Places in Between. A former fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the British government for services in Iraq. He lives in Scotland.

Gerald Knaus, founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative, is a Carr Center Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School. He taught economics at the University of Chernivtsi (Ukraine) and worked for five years in Bulgaria and Bosnia for international organizations. He is a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a 2007/2008 Open Society Fellow. In 2004 he moved to Istanbul and regularly writes for the Rumeli Observer.

READER BIO
James Langton trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks, including the international bestseller The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud by Julia Navarro. He is also a professional musician who led the internationally renowned Pasadena Roof Orchestra from 1996 to 2002. James was born in York, England, and is now based in New York City.

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