Armed Intervention Criteria
History has shown that while armed intervention can be very effective the success of such action is highly unpredictable. When the United States entered World War II to help defeat Hitler, it was of course, successful. Conversely, Vietnam, an eight-year long experiment in failed guerilla warfare, lead us to a bitter defeat (Fall, 1966). It could be argued that projected victory or defeat has nothing to do with the necessity of the action.
With the established possibility of great loss of life and even eventual defeat, the decision to forcibly intervene should, be a reluctant one. Keeping in mind that reluctant is not equivalent to hesitant; a nation would be well advised to establish set criteria defining the appropriate arena for armed intervention in order that needed action might happen quickly.
What criteria are used to determine whether or not the United States involves itself in armed conflicts? There are 3 determining factors: unilaterally, multilaterally when authorized by the UN Security Council and multilaterally by regional collective defense action (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009). If one state or country is being provoked by another, this would meet the unilateral criteria. An example of multilateral action would be when the United States went to Kosovo to stop the genocide that was occurring there. The final determining factor, multilaterally by regional collective defense action, is at least two countries cooperate to defend an area.
Unfortunately, these determining factors can come into conflict with each other. One country’s unilateral action might spawn the retaliation of the country that is acted upon. This country would certainly perceive its own action as appropriate. Appropriate action can only truly be defined by first establishing a uniform code of ethics. This, due to the cultural, religious, and ethical diversity of the world’s populations is virtually impossible to...