Can the extraordinary powers of the international mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina be justified by reference to a state of emergency, and do they facilitate its objectives of state-building and democratization? A review of the history of the international protectorate—and in particular the Office of the High Representative—finds that the answers to these questions are negative. Its philosophy, as revealed by its actions, is very similar to that of 19th century liberal imperialism; but the theory of emergency powers of the constitutional dictator of Niccolo Machiavelli offers a better roadmap for future post-conflict missions. The specification and independent monitoring of a red line beyond which international power will not be used is vital to their legitimacy and effectiveness.