HOFFMANN's KANTIAN JUSTIFICATION FOR HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION
James P. Sterba
T HOSE WHO undertake the task of commentator are usually concerned to find fault with the work under discussion, and the quality of their comments is usually measured by the significance of the faults they uncover. Or more precisely, since the reality and significance of a work's faults are usually contested, at least by the author, the success of a commentator is usually measured by the intensity or liveliness of the exchange that the commentator manages to provoke. Commenting in this way is, of course, akin to fighting a battle or making war. Arguments are attacked, shot down (like a plane) or sunk (like a ship). Theses are defended or demolished (like the walls of a city). Ideas (like people) are killed or destroyed. But why should war-making be our model for being a commentator? I think that we need a more peaceful and cooperative model. So I want to try something different. What I propose to do is, first, show how Stanley Hoffmann's norms for humanitarian intervention can be seen to follow from a particular moral approach to practical problems, second, discuss briefly his specific recommendations for the Yugoslavian situation, and third, show how, by making a slight change, his account can gain a rhetorical advantage.
To begin, I want to distinguish a moral approach to practical problems from various nonmoral approaches. Nonmoral approaches to practical problems include the legal approach (what the law requires with respect to particular practical problems), the special interest approach (what the special interests of the parties require with