The Limits of Humanitarianism

Realpolitik dictates that the U.S. take a backseat in East Timor

Why did the U.S. go to war over Kosovo but not East Timor? Yes, Australian and other troops are going into Timor, ferried and supported by the U.S. military. But the difference with Kosovo is striking:

--The peacekeepers did not bomb their way into Timor as they did in Kosovo. They waited for permission from Jakarta.

--Before intervening in Kosovo, the West had championed the case of the Kosovars. The Rambouillet peace conference tried to force Belgrade to turn Kosovo over to NATO. East Timor, on the other hand, has been championed by no one. Bill Clinton is the fifth...

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