HITS and Kosovo


I'm extremely flattered that Samantha Power gave Heads in the Sand a favorable review in the New York Review of Books alongside Peter Scoblic's U.S. Versus Them (also recommended) so I feel bad quibbling, but it certainly wasn't my intention in the book to come across nearly as hostile to the NATO air strikes that secured Kosovo's de facto independence as her review makes me out to seem. As I wrote "despite the lack of UN authorization, the Kosovo War fit reasonably well into the liberal framework" which I think is what Power thinks as well.

My main concern with Kosovo was its impact on future liberal thinking as "a refusal to admit to any mixed feelings whatsoever about Kosovo or to delineate meaningful limits to the legitimate scope of humanitarian warfare" wound up distorting attitudes about both warfare and humanitarianism. It's the difference between Joschka Fischer, who has totally sound views about foreign policy, and Paul Berman who decided that -- contrary to Fischer himself! -- the logic of Fischer's life and politics was that he should support the invasion of Iraq.