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At the Point of a Gun

Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention. Paperback. Sprache: Englisch.
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Writing from the front lines of the hot wars of the post-Cold War world -- the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, and most recently Afghanistan and Iraq for The New York Times Magazine -- David Rieff witnessed firsthand most of the armed interventions… weiterlesen
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Titel: At the Point of a Gun
Autor/en: David Rieff

ISBN: 074328707X
EAN: 9780743287074
Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention.
Sprache: Englisch.
Simon & Schuster

1. August 2006 - kartoniert - 290 Seiten


Writing from the front lines of the hot wars of the post-Cold War world -- the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, and most recently Afghanistan and Iraq for The New York Times Magazine -- David Rieff witnessed firsthand most of the armed interventions waged by the West or the United Nations in the name of human rights and democratization. His report is anything but reassuring. In this timely collection of his most illuminating articles, Rieff, one of our leading experts on the subject, reassesses some of his own judgments about the use of military might to solve the world's most pressing humanitarian problems and curb the world's cruelest human rights abusers, presenting what, taken as a whole, is a thoughtful and impassioned argument against armed intervention in all but the most extreme cases.

At the Point of a Gun raises critical questions we cannot ignore in this era of gunboat democracy. When, if ever, is it appropriate to intervene militarily in the domestic affairs of other nations? Are human rights and humanitarian concerns legitimate reasons for intervening, or is the assault on sovereignty -- sovereignty that is as much an article of faith at the UN as it is in Washington -- a flag of convenience for the recolonization of part of the world? What role should the United Nations play in alleviating humanitarian crises? And, above all, can democracy be imposed through the barrel of an M16?

Collected here for the first time, Rieff's essays draw a searing portrait of what happens when the grandiose schemes of policymakers and the grandiose ethical ambitions of human rights activists go horribly wrong in the field. Again and again, they ask the question: Do these moral ambitions of ours to protect people from massacre and want match either our means or our wisdom?

Rieff's articles appear as they were written. Some, however, are accompanied by brief reconsiderations in which the author describes how and why his thinking has changed both as he has reflected on what it means, as in Iraq, to impose democracy by force, and as he has witnessed, firsthand, what that redemptive project actually looks like in practice.

This is not an optimistic report. To the contrary, it is the chastened conclusion of a writer who was once one of the leading advocates of such interventions. But the questions Rieff raises are of the essence as the United States grapples with the harsh consequences of what it has wrought on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.




Part One: The UN and International Relations Leading Up to Iraq

Hope Is Not Enough

A New Age of Liberal Imperialism?

An Age of Genocide

In Defense of Afro-Pessimism

Lost Kosovo

Goodbye, New World Order

Part Two: The Iraq War and its Aftermath

The Lives They Lived: Collateral Damage

The Specter of Imperialism: The Marriage of the Human Rights Left and the New Imperialist Right

End of Empire

The Way We Live Now: A Notion of War

Were Sanctions Right?

Blueprint for a Mess

The Shiite Surge





David Rieff, 1952 geboren, ist politischer Schriftsteller und Journalist. Über die Krisengebiete der Welt schreibt er u.a. für die Zeitungen New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, El País und Le Monde. Rief, das einzige Kind Susan Sontags aus ihrer frühen Ehe mit dem Soziologen Philip Rieff, lebt in New York City.


"Provocative. . . . Brutally articulate. . . . Intriguing." -- The New York Times
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