Humanitarian action is always complicated by, but often blind to, its political influence. The intimacy of these two spheres of activity calls into question the basis of what political administrations deem humanitarianism. Unavoidably, definitional problems arise. These problems were exacerbated by the Reagan administration's insistence that non-military aid to the Contras in Nicaragua should be described as humanitarian. Bruce Nichols explores the way in which the concept of humanitarian aid has been stretched beyond recognition for political ends.
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