Cover image for Democracy by force : U.S. military intervention in the post-Cold War world
Democracy by force : U.S. military intervention in the post-Cold War world
Von Hippel, Karin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 224 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.
Reading Level:
1710 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E840 .V63 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Since the end of the Cold War, the international community, and the USA in particular, has intervened in a series of civil conflicts around the world. In a number of cases, where actions such as economic sanctions or diplomatic pressures have failed, military interventions have been undertaken. This 1999 book examines four US-sponsored interventions (Panama, Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia), focusing on efforts to reconstruct the state which have followed military action. Such nation-building is vital if conflict is not to recur. In each of the four cases, Karin von Hippel considers the factors which led the USA to intervene, the path of military intervention, and the nation-building efforts which followed. The book seeks to provide a greater understanding of the successes and failures of US policy, to improve strategies for reconstruction, and to provide some insight into the conditions under which intervention and nation-building are likely to succeed.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Von Hippel's volume is an important contribution to the literature on intervention in so-called "failed states." The work focuses on an assessment of postintervention nation-building activities-- specifically US-led efforts to nurture democracy following the military operations in Panama, Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia. Importantly, von Hippel places the analysis in the context of past US nation-building efforts. Emboldened by the rebuilding efforts in Europe and Japan after WW II, the US attempted similar policies in the Third World. However, different circumstances, different levels of effort, and fading public support led to the debacle in Vietnam. Only in the post-Cold War era is the US once again eager to reconstruct imploding states. Considering Panama, Haiti, and Bosnia "qualified" successes and Somalia a "resounding" failure, von Hippel compares the four missions to isolate the reasons for the different outcomes. For the future, a three-fold approach is recommended: reestablishing security, empowering civil society and strengthening democratic institutions, and coordinating international efforts. The conclusions emphasize that, while intervening forces can provide an environment within which democracy and peace can grow, local leaders and institutions will be the key to success. All levels. W. W. Newmann; Virginia Commonwealth University

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: dangerous hubris
2 Invasion or intervention? Operation Just Cause
3 Disappointed and defeated in Somalia
4 Heartened in Haiti
5 UNPROFOR, INFOR and SFOR: Can peace be forced on Bosnia?
6 Hubris or progress: can democracy be forced?