Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post-Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions. Diana Johnstone's well-documented study demonstrates that a crucial moment in establishing in the public mindand above all, within the political context of liberalism and the leftthe legitimacy of such interventions was the "humanitarian" bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999.
In the course of the civil wars that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia, a complex history came to be presented as a morality play in which the parts were scripted to meet the moral needs of the capitalist West. The identification of Muslims as defenseless victims and Serbs as genocidal monsters inflamed fears and hatreds within Yugoslavia, and prepared the way for power to be shifted from the people of the region to such international agencies as NATO.