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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Original Monster Abroad

The Greek Revolution of 1821 was similar to today’s war in Ukraine.

First Cemetery of Athens
A man visits the 1st cemetery of Athens, Greece on November 29, 2022. (Photo by Costas Baltas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe, Mark Mazower, Penguin Books, 608 pages.

Despite fading from public attention, humanitarian intervention shaped post-Cold War international relations in ways that continue today. It began in Somalia with military assistance to famine relief in 1993 and expanded during the Yugoslavian wars of devolution. A U.S.-led NATO campaign against Serbia in 1999 after its crackdown on Kosovar separatists marked a highpoint. British prime minister Tony Blair evoked the tear-stained faces of refugees and heart-rending tales of cruelty in a Chicago address that year to make a larger case for humanitarian intervention. Samantha Power later framed a responsibility to protect populations against genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other human rights violations, which the United Nations recognized in 2005.