UN Responses in the Former Yugoslavia: Moral and Operational Choices [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 8 (1994)

December 3, 1994

Weiss examines the moral choices that accompanied the military, humanitarian, and diplomatic dilemmas of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and offers prescriptions for reconciling moral imperatives with political and operational constraints. He faults the international community not only for its delayed response to the conflict, but also for its failure to coordinate an effective response. Weiss argues that the international political community's decision-making process regarding military action in the Balkan conflict was based on the political climate rather than on concrete objectives. Weiss proposes the creation of a human rights protection force (HUMPROFOR), arguing that if the international community continues to rely on sanctions as a "standard weapon," the UN should draw up a "standard list of exemptions." Describing the UN's actions as "hollow," Weiss concludes that "the UN provided a convenient forum for governments to appear to be doing something without really doing anything substantial to thwart aggression, genocide, and forced movement of peoples." Weiss addresses the limitations of the UN system, arguing that it should never have been expected to mediate a conflict that ought to have been prevented earlier.


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