The American Calculus of Military Intervention

Military interventions have traditionally been a source of controversy in the United States. But America’s appetite for the dispatch of armed forces has been diminished greatly by factors that have primarily emerged in the 21st century. These include, most painfully, the protracted campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq that have made US political and military leaders more cautious about waging wars to end tyranny or internal disorder in foreign lands.

Debates on military intervention are complicated by the network of political, security and economic interests that must be balanced when contemplating this option. In this IISS commentary, Karl Eikenberry, the William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at CISAC, talks about how four factors have heavily influence the current calculus.