Doing Good and Doing Well: An Examination of Humanitarian Intervention

Doing Good and Doing Well: An Examination of Humanitarian Intervention

Doing Good and Doing Well: An Examination of Humanitarian Intervention

Doing Good and Doing Well: An Examination of Humanitarian Intervention

Synopsis

Garret deals with the issue of humanitarian intervention, of which the recent Kosovo conflict provides a prime example. Even though the writing of this book was completed before NATO began its intervention on behalf of the Kosovars, the book provides a valuable background for assessing the Kosovo issue--it lays out the history of previous humanitarian interventions and analyzes the controversies surrounding them. Garret provides a sophisticated framework by which such interventions can be evaluated both morally and pragmatically. His book offers some particularly relevant material on the American role in humanitarian interventions. This book is valuable for those who wish to make sense of the pros and cons of humanitarian efforts in international hot spots, like Kosovo.

Excerpt

In discussing the idea of humanitarian intervention, there are some important preliminary matters that need attention before we proceed further. The terms "humanitarian" and "intervention" are typically embued with such a variety of nuances and differing interpretations that to join them together into a single concept almost inevitably produces ambiguity and perhaps even tension, especially since both words inherently carry a lot of emotional baggage.

The chief complicating factor in addressing humanitarian intervention is that it really stands as a specific subset of a much broader range of activities that can legitimately be described as either humanitarian or interventionist, and some of which are relatively uncontroversial. The tendency in some quarters is to define "humanitarian intervention" simply as a coming together of these two generic types of behavior, but this makes any intelligent discussion of humanitarian intervention as a discrete phenomenon exceedingly difficult. "Humanitarianism" in international relations, for example, can cover a large number of items, such as the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross, famine-relief efforts by private or governmental organizations, international assistance to victims of floods or earthquakes, and even essentially private and individual matters such as family reunification. It is . . .

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