chapter  4
27 Pages

THE KOSOVO CAMPAIGN: War as a risk management exercise

The rhetoric of humanitarianism and humanitarian intervention clearly dominated the discourse on the Kosovo campaign but this perhaps did not tell the whole story. Without the Soviet threat and decline of ideological and structural explanations for war, David Chandler for instance felt war defined through human rights discourse was simply a fig leaf for Great Power domination over weaker states.1 There were certainly other complex motivations involved than simply humanitarian rhetoric as Michael Mccgwire and Adam Roberts also suggest.2 These will be discussed in later sections. Kosovo perhaps failed to live up to its billing as a purely ‘humanitarian war’ but as Nick Wheeler rightly argues, motivations need not be solely humanitarian for an intervention to be deemed humanitarian.3 Indeed, that would be setting the bar impossibly high and states more often than not act on a combination of interests. Nonetheless, other less explicitly humanitarian considerations suggest there is more to it than meets the eye.