TAS212 Politics of Military Interventions

Teacher responsible:

Dr. Wojciech Michnik

Brief course description:

The course introduces participants to the study of contemporary military interventions focusing on its political and strategic dimensions. Both theoretical and practical questions regarding modern conflicts are discussed in the first part of the course.  


During class meetings we will seek to answer following questions:
What is a military intervention and why this concept is so popular in contemporary international affairs?
What are the types of interventions and are they any different than "all-fashioned" wars?


The main body of the lectures is comprised of the case studies of selected military interventions. Starting with the history of modern conflicts, this part deals with various forms and scales of military interventions such as: the US-led intervention against Iraq in 1990-1991; UN intervention in Somalia; Western military engagements in wars of Yugoslavia, Soviet Union war in Afghanistan; United States' war in Afghanistan; American war in Iraq; Russia war with Georgia; and international intervention in Libya.

Reading list:

Lawrence Freedman, On War and Choice, National Interest, May/June 2010
Colin S. Gray, Another Bloody Century, Infinity Journal, Issue 4, Fall 2011
Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflicts, ch. 1, Is there an Enduring Logic of Conflict in World Politics,
Nicholas J. Wheeler, The Political and Moral Limits of Western Military Intervention to Protect Civilians in Danger, "Contemporary Security Policy" 2007, pp. 1-26.
Christopher Coker, Ethics and War in 21st Century,
John G. Fox, Approaching Humanitarian Intervention Strategically: The Case of Somalia, SAIS Review,Winter-Spring 2001
Zbigniew Brzezinski, After Srebrenica, The New Republic, 07.08.1995
Eliot A. Cohen, Kosovo and New American Way of War,
Martin Ewans, Conflict in Afghanistan, Studies in Asymmetric Warfare,
Charles King, The Five-Day War, "Foreign Affairs", Nov/Dec2008, Vol. 87, Issue 6