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The Real Cause for the US Involvement in Kosovo War
The dual theme of the book "Promised Land, Crusader State" can be used to examine the present situation of United States involvement in Kosovo. The roles the United States have played in the international community have fluctuated between the Promised Land in which America is concerned with maintaining its own sense of security and the Crusader State in which America actively participates overseas in creating what it sees as a proper moral order. As the only remaining superpower in the postmodern era, the United States often has, in the last few decades, played the role of world's policeman and entangled itself in situations where its motivations are not clearly defined.
In examining the situation in Kosovo, we can also take a dual approach. First, we can view the ways in which the United States has acted as the "Crusader State" by analyzing the reasons United States and NATO have given for military action in Kosovo. These reasons, for the most part, involve justifications to act against the ethnic cleansing that has been carried by Slobodan Milosevic, and also invoke historical references. Secondly, we can examine the military situation from more of a "Promised Land" perspective by evaluating the possible motivations for United States intervention to determine how convincing they are.
It is as if the United States is attempting to make up for its isolationist past, the attitude that persisted in the earlier history of the country which maintained that involvement in other countries' affairs was not a chief priority. In both World Wars the American public hesitated on the issue of committing troops despite its European allies' involvement. This isolationist attitude of the past was cause for many of the United States' regrets. Perhaps the damages that Europe suffered, such as Hitler's massacre of the Jews could have lessened or even prevented if America acted more quickly. Now it seems Bill Clinton, much like the presidents of the 1950's to 1980's, is eager to compensate for America's past hesitation. The lesson that was learned by not participating in World War II was "aggression must be resisted or it gets worse."
Now, Clinton wants to draw an analogy between the United States' eventual involvement in World War II with the decision for bombing runs in Kosovo: the United States must act again to prevent acts of tyranny or mass destruction. Further, the United States in the post World War II era has taken up the responsibility for making sure the world is "safe". McDougall refers to this postwar attitude as meliorism, which "assumes that the United States alone possesses the power, prestige, technology, wealth and altruism needed to reform whole nations." The United States tends to view himself morally favorable and interprets democracy as something that should be actively promoted. At the same time, fascism and authoritarianism are things that should be suppressed. Because the United States has the large resources to promote his vision of a global order, he can choose to involve himself in places where any benefits for such involvement may not be apparent.
Clinton has to find a way of justifying American military involvement by invoking the United States' global responsibility of ensuring that misdeeds are punished and that its vision of harmony can be maintained. "He knows the public needs a sense of sacrifice, an illusion of moral righteousness, to go with its abdication of global responsibility." However, this kind of argument is limited, because it seems the United States only chooses to exercise its moral superiority only when other, perhaps, economic interests are involved. There was no economic deployment to Rwanda when massive ethnic warfare was happening. This is perhaps be
Quotes talked about in this paper
Names referenced in this essay
Bill Clinton, Slobodan Milosevic,
Organizations referenced in this essay
NATO, Clinton administration,
Locations included in this paper
United States, Kosovo, America,
Companies included in this paper
Houghton Mifflin Company,
Keywords referenced in this paper
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