Force-backed humanitarianism, which relies on rational influence over events in other countries, may have been a more feasible project in the bipolar era of the Cold War, with its relatively defined and stable web of alliances and proxies. Today, a multitude of newly empowered actors make a series of choices – the Muslim Brotherhood President appeasing the military, say, or liberal Egyptians backing a coup – that have wholly unpredictable consequences.

Pankaj Mishra, “Unholy Alliances”, The New Yorker (23 September 2013), 114.