The Ethics and Politics of Humanitarian Intervention

By Stanley Hoffmann; Robert C. Johansen et al. | Go to book overview

6
COMMENTS ON COMMENTS

Stanley Hoffmann

I HAVE NO significant disagreements with Prof. Sterba. As this commentator has indicated, I accept his "friendly amendment." In the Yugoslav tragedy, blame can be spread very widely. Certainly, the various organizations involved -- the European Union, the UN, NATO -- have often acted lamentably and ineffectively. But fundamentally this was the fault of the main powers, without whose initiatives and support those organizations can only display their own muddles. I would simply like to point out that Prof. Sterba's formulation of the Kantian approach (which he himself describes as the "currently" most favored formulation) is the Rawlsian version of it, and that Kant's own was very different, as Rawls recognized. My own is, if I may say so, more Kantian than Rawlsian, insofar as my emphasis is on a moral sense of duty, and not on a consensus.

Much of what Prof. Johansen proposes is wise and worthy of consideration by statesmen and scholars. There are two points over which I want to argue with him. First, while I agree with him that we need to distinguish cases of collective security against aggression from interventions in a country's internal affairs aimed at protecting human rights, and while I am quite willing to call the latter cases of humanitarian intervention, there are instances in which domestic turmoil or domestic policies that do not endanger human rights immediately constitute a threat to regional or world peace -- through the production of flows of refugees or because the internal war threatens to spill over into other countries or because, say, a state's nuclear program threatens the stability and security of the area. These cases may well not call for "humanitarian" intervention as it is defined by Prof. Johansen, but intervention may be justified any-

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