Just Intervention

Just Intervention

Just Intervention

Just Intervention

Synopsis

What obligations do nations have to protect citizens of other nations? As responsibility to our fellow human beings and to the stability of civilization over many years has ripened fully into a concept of a "just war," it follows naturally that the time has come to fill in the outlines of the realities and boundaries of what constitutes "just" humanitarian intervention. Even before the world changed radically on September 11, policymakers, scholars, and activists were engaging in debates on this nettlesome issue--following that date, sovereignty, human rights, and intervention took on fine new distinctions, and questions arose: Should sovereignty prevent outside agents from interfering in the affairs of a state? What moral weight should we give to sovereignty and national borders? Do humanitarian "emergencies" justify the use of military force? Can the military be used for actions other than waging war? Can "national interest" justify intervention? Should we kill in order to save? These are profound and troubling questions, and questions that the distinguished contributors probe in all their complicated dimensions. Sohail Hashmi analyzes how Islamic tradition and Islamic states understand humanitarian intervention; Thomas Weiss strongly advocates the use of military force for humanitarian purposes in Yugoslavia; Martin Cook, Richard Caplan, and Julie Mertus query the use of force in Kosovo; Michael Barnett, drawing on his experience in the United Nations while it debated how best to respond to Rwandan genocide, discusses how international organizations may become hamstrung in the ability to use force due to bureaucratic inertia; and Anthony Lang ably envelopes these--and other complexissues--with a deft hand and contextual insight. Highlighting some of the most significant issues with regard to humanitarian intervention, "Just Intervention braves the treacherous moral landscape that now faces an increasin

Excerpt

Anthony F. Lang Jr.

Humanitarian intervention was poised to be one of the central topics of debate among policymakers, scholars, and activists before September 11, 2001. But after that day’s terrorist attacks and the military response to them, debates about sovereignty, human rights, and intervention suddenly took on different meanings. Partisans to old debates refocused their energies on terrorism, asymmetric warfare, and nation building.

Debates over humanitarian intervention may have been eclipsed by the war on terrorism, but the dilemmas that it generated have not disappeared. Indeed, if we look beyond the shallow “lessons of Somalia,” the questions that generated the debates of the 1990s remain central to international affairs. Should sovereignty prevent outside agents from interfering in the affairs of a state? What moral weight should we give to sovereignty and sovereign borders? Do humanitarian “emergencies” justify the use of military force? Can military force be used for actions other than waging war? Can a humanitarian intervention be in the “national interest”? More fundamentally, should military force be used to save lives or protect rights? Should we kill in order to save?

This volume provides some answers to these and related questions. During the past twenty years, the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs has been exploring these questions through its publications and programs. Articles on this topic have appeared primarily in the council’s journal, Ethics & International Affairs, and also in other council publications, including Human Rights Dialogue and its annual Morgenthau lectures. the council has also been addressing these themes in its conferences and workshops, although only a portion of that work can be represented in this volume. the selections included here—including five newly commissioned . . .

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