On 11 September 2001, NATO officials in Brussels were discussing how to continue their third Balkans intervention. Compared to earlier NATO campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo, this Macedonia deployment was a low-key affair, with some 4,ooo British-led troops to supervise a disarmament process agreed to by Albanian rebels. But the previous wars in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia-demonstrating the bottomless possibilities of ethnic brutality - had cast a long shadow. The threat of war in Macedonia raised many familiar dilemmas; these involved the morality and wisdom of military intervention in other peoples' civil wars, the prospects and limits of nation-building in ethnically fractured societies, the appropriate balance of transatlantic roles and the operational coherence of an extended Western alliance.