To begin with a somewhat autobiographical turn, this project is founded in the experience of growing up in the decade following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Although the threat of global nuclear war, under which my parents lived for many years, had receded, and the War on Terror had not yet begun, I have vivid memories of the news reports from this period being punctuated by scenes of bloody localised wars in societies far away or, in the case of the former Yugoslavia, close at hand. News of suffering, human rights abuse and genocide, and the apparent failure of the international community to prevent these occurrences aroused, from a relatively early age, both a concern for the welfare of those affected by political violence and a desire to learn about violent conflict. As an undergraduate and later a graduate student during the early 2000s, I observed the rise of the War on Terror and the apparent confidence amongst prominent Western policymakers that the causes of freedom, democracy, human rights and development could be well served by the use of military force. I also observed the polarisation within British society and beyond, between those deeply opposed to Western interventionism in Afghanistan and Iraq and those who found normative value in the use of force to expand liberal systems in formerly authoritarian states.
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