Effectiveness of Military Interventions

When a country intervenes in the affairs of another country, its action might be politically acceptable to its own population, at least in the short term – but adverse consequences are still possible:

●  Countries that intervene in the affairs of others are internationally damaged by doing so (  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example, had unintended consequences according to CNBC: Putin’s always wanted to weaken the West. He’s done the exact opposite.

●  Attacking another country can lead to the unintended effect of strengthening its leader in a wave of patriotic solidarity (6.3.6).

●  Interventions rarely help the target country either.  The Syria profile – Timeline, published by the BBC, tells a sorry story of intervention by the French, British, Americans, Russians and others.  At the time of writing, the Syrian civil war has not yet ended, the country lies in ruins, and much of its population has fled.

●  There are numerous difficulties in any international use of force, and many resulting problems, as reviewed later in this chapter (7.4).  Foreign wars have a very low success rate in practice.


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This is a current page, updated since publication of Patterns of Power Edition 3a.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/7324a.htm