Humanitarian intervention has always been more popular in theory than in practice. In the face of unspeakable acts, the desire to do something, anything, is understandable. States have tended to be reluctant to act on such desires, however, leading to the present situation in which there are scores of books and countless articles articulating the contours of a right—or even an obligation—of humanitarian intervention, while the number of cases that might be cited as models of what is being advocated can be counted on one hand.
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