Operation Allied Force: setting a new precedent for humanitarian intervention
Walsh, Thomas F.
Yost, David S.
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On 24 March 1999, NATO initiated military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in response to the crisis in Kosovo. Operation Allied Force was conducted without the explicit authorization of the United Nations Security Council, but was justified by NATO allies as a means to bring peace and stability to Kosovo, and to prevent a greater humanitarian emergency from developing. In the absence of specific U.N.S.C. authorization, was NATO's violation of Yugoslavia's sovereignty through the use of force illegitimate? Or were the potential humanitarian consequences of inaction by NATO so disastrous as to make intervention a moral imperative, despite the stipulations of the U.N. Charter? These questions-still under debate-highlight the dilemma facing the NATO allies on the eve of Operation Allied Force. This thesis examines Operation Allied Force and how the most influential NATO allies (Britain, France, Germany, and the United States) justified the use of force in the Kosovo crisis without relying on an explicit U.N. Security Council mandate for such action. In addition, it considers whether NATO's intervention in the Kosovo conflict established a new precedent whereby U.N. Security Council authorization of the use of force is no longer a prerequisite for forceful humanitarian intervention.
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