The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line:How Humanitarianism Went to War

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A first-hand account of the failure of humanitarian intervention, from Somalia to Iraq

The idea that we should ‘do something’ to help those suffering in far-off places is the main impulse driving those who care about human rights. Yet from Kosovo to Iraq, military interventions have gone disastrously wrong. The Thin Blue Line describes how in the last twenty years humanitarianism has emerged as a multibillion-dollar industry that has played a leading role in defining humanitarian crises, and shaping the foreign policy of Western governments and the United Nations. Drawing on his own experience of working in over a dozen conflict and post-conflict zones, Foley shows how the growing influence of international law has been used to override the sovereignty of the poorest countries in the world.

Reviews

  • Fascinating and important ... rigorous and nuanced.

    Stephen PooleGuardian
  • Poised to influence debate ... Foley’s treatment of the court’s legal issues is informed and direct.

    New York Times Book Review
  • When can massive and systematic violations of human rights within one state justify a foreign intervention? Today, few questions are more pressing. With this vital and necessary book Conor Foley outlines an important agenda for change.

    Philippe Sands QC, author of Lawless World and Torture Team