International Interventions and Normative Prudence as a ‘Forgotten’ Virtue of Statecraft

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This article presents a case for making normative prudence key to the debates concerning international interventions and statebuilding. Despite a rich conceptual history, contemporary IR literature seems to have forgotten the concept. We address this gap by defining the virtue through the yardsticks of deliberation, caution, foresight, and knowing the limits of one's abilities. Applying these yardsticks to the cases of the Kosovo (1999) and Iraq wars (2003), we argue that once developed in the context of international interventions, the concept of normative prudence provides an invaluable platform for assessing interventions and, if employed robustly, it can help those undertaking the interventions to prepare for the ‘day after.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


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