Humanitarian Intervention

Simon Caney

in Justice Beyond Borders

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780198293507
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602337 | DOI:
 Humanitarian Intervention

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Focuses on the question of whether it is ever justified to intervene in the affairs of another political regime. To answer this question, the chapter begins, in Section I, with an analysis of what is meant by humanitarian intervention, and then goes on, in Section II, to outline a cosmopolitan argument for the right, and indeed duty, of humanitarian intervention. Sections III–VI then consider four counter-arguments for a norm of non-intervention presented by ‘society of states’ theorists, realists, and nationalists; these are that humanitarian intervention is illegitimate because it fails to respect the right to self-government, is presumptuous and arrogant, destroys international stability, and rarely succeeds. Sections VII–VIII argue that there is a moral case for intervention on humanitarian grounds, and analyse the conditions that must be satisfied before intervention is attempted (VII), as well as the principles that should guide the conduct of an intervention (VIII). Section IX examines whether international law should affirm a right to humanitarian intervention, and Section X summarizes and concludes, suggesting that overall, on cosmopolitan grounds, humanitarian intervention is defensible under certain conditions, but pointing out that it is a reactive policy, and that there is a strong case to be made for tackling and preventing problems rather than responding to them after they have arisen.

Keywords: cosmopolitan arguments; cosmopolitanism; humanitarian intervention; legitimacy; morality; nationalism; nationalist approaches; non-intervention; realism; realist approaches; society of states; society of states approaches

Chapter.  19764 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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