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Kosovo and the Great Air Power Debate

Kosovo and the Great Air Power Debate

Journal Article, International Security, volume 24, issue 4, pages 5-38

Spring 2000

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Quarterly Journal: International Security



In the first of two articles on the 1999 war over Kosovo, Daniel Byman and Matthew Waxman of the RAND Corporation seek to dispel the notion that NATO air attacks alone brought Serbia to the negotiating table. They argue instead that air power worked synergistically with other factors—including the threat of a NATO ground assault, declining Russian support for the Serb cause, and the role of the Kosovo Liberation Army—in ending the conflict. More generally, Byman and Waxman maintain that the current debate over the role of air power as an instrument of coercion is "fundamentally flawed." Noting that the outcome of this debate could have broad policy implications, the authors suggest that instead of asking if air power alone can coerce an adversary to surrender, political and military leaders, as well as theoreticians, should ask: "How can [air power] contribute to successful coercion, and under what circumstances are its contributions most effective?"


For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Byman, Daniel A., Matthew C. Waxman. "Kosovo and the Great Air Power Debate." International Security 24, no. 4 (Spring 2000): 5-38.

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