Why is the West Going to War? The Motives behind Western Military Interventions after the Cold War in Light of Official Statements Delivered by Western Leaders
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2020-06-25
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2015;51(3):9–28
The article discusses the official justification of Western or Western-led military interventions after the Cold War. Its aim is to identify and analyse the motives and reasons for such actions as publicly presented by leaders of the Western states involved in particular operations. Five cases are discussed: the Gulf War (1990–1991), the intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995), the NATO operation in Kosovo (1999), the intervention in Afghanistan after 9/11 (2001–2014) and the war against Iraq (2003–2010). Analysing primarily official documents and statements given by the leaders of key Western states or international organisations (i.e. NATO), the author is trying to establish the main features of the justification of these interventions as well as a hierarchy of the motives for taking such actions as declared by Western authorities. Those motives are divided in four broad groups: ‘hardcore’ national interests of Western states, economic motives, humanitarian reasons, and interests of the international community as a whole. The article stipulates that the motives most frequently listed as being the most important for undertaking an action were the interests of the international community as a whole, while economic motives were almost always absent from the official rhetoric.