Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society

Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society

Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society

Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society

Synopsis

The extent to which humanitarian intervention has become a legitimate practice in post-cold war international society is the subject of this book. It maps the changing legitimacy of humanitarian intervention by comparing the international response to cases of humanitarian intervention in the cold war and post-cold war periods. While there are studies of each individual case of intervention--in East Pakistan, Cambodia, Uganda, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo--there is no single work that examines them comprehensively in a comparative framework.

Excerpt

Although this book has only been written in the last two years, my exploration of the ideas discussed in it can be traced back to the Western intervention in northern Iraq to protect the Kurds in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War. Shortly before this action I had read a fascinating essay by one of my students taking the MA in International Law and Politics at the University of Hull that had introduced me to the concept of humanitarian intervention. Whether I would have ventured into this subject without the 'intervention' of Justin Morris is hard to say, but what attracted me to it was that it offered a vehicle for integrating my research interests in Strategic Studies—especially the ethics of force—and the 'English School' theory of international society. I had been engaged with the latter since reading Hedley Bull's The Anarchical Society as an undergraduate, but the writer who really started me thinking about humanitarian intervention was R. J. Vincent. After the 1991 Kurdish crisis, I re-read Vincent's two great contributions, Nonintervention and International Order and Human Rights and International Relations. These two books span twenty years of his thinking on the subject and reflect the tensions in Vincent's work between pluralist and solidarist conceptions of international society. It became clear to me that there was a book to be written that built on Vincent's contribution and examined how different theories of international society lead to different conceptions of the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention. This became the project that has culminated in Saving Strangers.

Justin Morris became a member of the Department at Hull, a close personal friend, and we wrote several pieces together exploring the legal, political, and philosophical issues raised by the interventions in Iraq, Somalia, and Rwanda. I owe Justin an enormous personal and intellectual debt, and whilst he has not read any page of the manuscript, his influence is to be found throughout. Four other friends at Hull also deserve a special mention. I was very fortunate to have Andrew Mason as a colleague; he brightened my days with his warm friendship and cheerful disposition, and I was constantly drawing on his enormous reservoir of philosophical knowledge. Andrew made many useful comments on earlier versions of the Introduction and Chapter One. Tim Huxley was also a great support to me and was an endless source of knowledge about the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia. Martin Shaw's work on world society challenged my own English School thinking and we spent many enjoyable hours arguing over the merits of these theories. The final influence upon my thinking at Hull

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