I agree with the broad thrust of Abramowitz and Pickering’s article. They rightly highlight the failings of the current agents and mechanisms of humanitarian intervention. The problem, however, is twofold. First, all the currently-existing interveners possess notable, and well-known, flaws. The U.N. and regional organizations suffer from serious shortfalls in funding and equipment. States frequently lack the commitment and willingness to act. And, although NATO’s operations in Bosnia and Kosovo raised hopes that it would be a willing and powerful humanitarian intervener, the reluctance of many of its members to commit troops in Afghanistan (where member states have clear interests) has cast serious doubts over whether it can be relied on as an effective agent of humanitarian intervention in the future (where the interests of its members may be less clear). Second, there are problems with the authorization of intervention: there are many occasions when humanitarian intervention should be rapidly undertaken, but is not because it has been stymied in the U.N. Security Council. There needs, then, to be notable improvements if the international community is to possess the capacity to intervene effectively for humanitarian purposes when necessary.

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