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Victims and victors: reflections on the Kosovo War

  • LAWRENCE FREEDMAN

Abstract

Both the ‘CNN effect,’ whereby images revealing large-scale suffering push governments into humanitarian interventions, and the ‘bodybags effect’, whereby images of casualties pull them away, were evident in the Kosovo War, as was the ‘bullying effect,’ whereby the use of excessive force risks draining away public support for interventions. Although Serbs deliberately tried to present themselves as victims, however, the harsh methods used to suppress Kosovar Albanian aspirations ensured that it was they who appeared as the victims. The Serb effort was also counter-productive in that it made the KLA harder, instead of easier, to defeat.

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