Humanitarian Interv

Topics: Kosovo, Sovereignty, Kosovo War Pages: 7 (2477 words) Published: February 21, 2013
Humanitarian interventionism
in today’s world

In an era where people seemingly all feel an urge to act as Good Global Citizens, the principle of non-intervention has certainly lost much of initial strength and value. The Where? Why? When? What should we do now? have been top of the day questions in matters international affairs. How far have we pushed the limits of national sovereignty? Are we even allowed to do so? To what extent does the need for humanitarian intervention provide an excuse for imposing one’s position in matters that be can barely understand? It is a simply the expression of our natural solidarity as human beings helping one another in times of disgrace, or are we missing the point? In order to find the answer to these questions, we will take the situation of Kosovo as a representative case study.

Instead of directly going into the subject, we will first discuss on the key concepts that we shall appeal to in our attempt to address tour prior questions: * Interventionism - the policy of intervening in the affairs of another sovereign state * Non-intervention - is the norm in international relations and international law that one state cannot interfere in the internal politics of another state, based upon the principles of state sovereignty and self-determination * Humanitarian intervention – the threat or use of force across state borders by a state aimed at preventing or ending widespread and grave violations of fundamental human rights of individuals other than its own citizens, without permission of the state within whose territory force is applied * A Principle - a fundamental or primary rule of action that gives a guiding sense of right or wrong and thereby serves as a basis of conduct * Moral basis - rules or habits of conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong * Legitimacy – expression of consensus, free from coercion, based on relevant norms of legality, morality and constitutionality

We will now move on to a more detailed analysis of our research question, analyzing from the perspective of several IR theories such as realism, liberalism or critical theory, concepts we are already familiar with.

The notion of state sovereignty was been introduced and perpetuated by realist scholars and later through neo-realism. This notion has been constructed on the classical realist assumption that: the nation state is the most important actor in the world of politics and therefore the most relevant element in the understanding of international relations. Realism has presented us with a particular understanding of sovereignty. One of its most widely recognized principles is ensuring national sovereignty through the principle of non-intervention. As a consequence, it has been established that sovereign states are also entitled to monopoly on violence in and control over their territory, a theory that Max Weber contributed to.

However, it is true that realism has become ideologically outdated. If we think of the 19th century, rules different and were much simpler. The only type of protectionist war held was to protect the Christians from the Turks. However, the notion of state and state sovereignty is increasingly being associated with the concept of human rights, thus giving it a broader and less specific meaning.

Situated at the opposite pole, Liberal internationalism argues that liberal states should intervene in other sovereign states in order to pursue liberal objectives. Such intervention can include both military invasion and humanitarian aid. Their stand is most commonly recognized as liberal interventionism.

Right at the middle of these two extremes are the principles of Critical theory - neither is it against, nor does it sustain the institutions of modernity. It rather accepts the structures of the modern world and searches to explain reality, but not in terms of black or white - like the realist or liberalist approach.

One of the main focuses...
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