Pragmatism over principle: US intervention and burden shifting in Somalia, 1992–1993
Journal of Strategic Studies
Taylor & Francis
MetadataShow full item record
Recchia, S. (2018). Pragmatism over principle: US intervention and burden shifting in Somalia, 1992–1993. Journal of Strategic Studies https://doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2018.1441712
The conventional wisdom about the 1992 US intervention in Somalia is that it was a quintessentially humanitarian mission pushed by President George H. W. Bush. This article challenges that interpretation, drawing on newly declassified documents. The Somalia intervention, I argue, was largely a pragmatic response to concerns held by the US military. In late 1992, as the small UN mission in Somalia was collapsing, senior American generals worried about being drawn into the resulting vacuum. Hence they reluctantly recommended a robust US intervention, in the expectation that this would allow the UN to assemble a larger peacekeeping force that would take over within months. The intervention ultimately failed, but the military learned useful lessons from this experience on how to achieve smoother UN handoffs in the future and thus effectively shift longer-term stabilisation burdens to the international community.
burden sharing, humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, bridging operations, multinational operations, Powell doctrine
Open access publication was made possible by an EC Career Integration Grant.
Embargo Lift Date
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2018.1441712
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/271078
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/