Conclusion: Humanitarian Intervention after 11 September

Jennifer M. Welsh

in Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199267217
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601118 | DOI:
Conclusion: Humanitarian Intervention after 11 September

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This concluding chapter assesses the debate over humanitarian intervention in the light of the events of September 11, 2001. On the one hand, it can be argued that 9/11 has reversed the momentum behind the norm of ‘sovereignty as responsibility’. In the course of waging the war on terrorism, the powers of sovereign states have been increased and the willingness of Western states to criticize the treatment of civilians within other sovereign jurisdictions appears to have weakened. On the other, there are three reasons why humanitarian intervention – and the issues associated with it – will continue to preoccupy scholars and statesmen in a post-September 11th world. First, the terrorist attacks of 2001 have reinforced the view that instability within or collapse of a state anywhere in the world can have implications that reach far wider than that particular region. Second, the debate about what constraints should be placed on the use of force – particularly those related to proper authority – are as relevant for the ‘war on terror’ as they are for humanitarian intervention. Finally, as the missions in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 have shown, humanitarian rationale are all-important in justifying the use of force in international society, even when other motives are at work.

Keywords: Afghanistan; Al–Qaeda; Bush Doctrine; Chechnya; counter-terrorism; criteria; extreme emergency; International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty; just cause; Patriot Act; proper authority; proportionality; Saddam Hussein; September 11th; Taliban

Chapter.  4148 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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