Paul Collier starts of his brief chapter on military intervention in The Bottom Billion this way:
Indeed, others have been critical of Collier’s position here. Last week I linked a lengthy critique by William Easterly (one of my favorite experts on these issues) on just this topic. Still, Collier maintains that intervention can play three important roles: restoration of order, maintain postconflict peace, and preventing coups.
Collier is skeptical about building up local military presence too quickly in a postconflict context. An outside presence that is willing to take causalities is usually necessary. U.N. Peacekeepers that avoid engagement at all costs are useless. The massively expensive and hubris laden efforts in Iraq unfortunately poison the water for intervention strategies. Yet Collier reminds us that the consequences of such reluctance are likely to result in future holocausts like the one in Rwanda a decade ago. Furthermore, there are examples of effective interventions in other regions of the world. Collier lifts up the underreported and little acknowledged success of British troops in Sierra Leone during Operation Palliser. The challenge in the future will be to discern what contexts warrant taking such interventionist risks.