In Harm’s Way: Why and When a Modern Democracy Risks the Lives of Its Uniformed Citizens

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Series Details Vol.16, No.2, June 2007, p163-182
Publication Date June 2007
ISSN 0966-2839
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Despite the risk of disastrous outcomes, time and again, advanced democracies have sent their soldiers abroad to dangerous places. They do so not out of necessity (i.e. self-defence), but choice (e.g. humanitarian intervention). What motivates political leaders to accept the risks of such actions? This heuristic study examines three diverse cases in which a medium-sized, advanced democracy, Italy, decided to deploy its troops abroad. It did so because it was both a way to foster its standing in world affairs and a deeply felt, 'moral' commitment to international law. This conclusion can probably be applied to several other democracies such as Germany, Canada or Sweden.

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