Liberal commentators are quick to demand “humanitarian intervention” by military forces whenever conflict breaks out – particularly in the Global South. They argue that the West has a “duty” to keep warring factions apart, and even to remove the governments of “failed states”.
But a new report by the charity Save the Children should trouble even the loudest supporters of military intervention.
It found that troops associated with United Nations peacekeeping operations were seriously implicated in the sexual abuse of women and children in regions where they are stationed, such as southern Sudan, Haiti and Ivory Coast.
UN troops are often sent to intervene in conflicts in which the West has decided to take the side of one military force against another. In such situations the brutalising effect of war cannot be restricted to those directly fighting – the international “peacekeeping” forces inevitably become part of the barbarism.