Humanitarian Intervention

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POLS 1501
HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION

Essay Question: Humanitarian Intervention is one of the key features of post-Cold war international politics. What exactly is it? What are the arguments for and against it? Discuss your answers in the context of a recent case, such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan or East Timor.

Hypothesis: That despite the incidents where humanitarian interventions have proved seemingly unsuccessful, they are, nonetheless, a vital tool in alleviating the human suffering that so plagues contemporary society.

The post-Cold war world is one that has been riddled with conflict, suffering and war. In the face of such times, the issue of humanitarian intervention and about who, when and how it should be employed, has become hotly debated. While some critics declare this kind of intervention to be a violation of national sovereignty, others believe that relief efforts aimed at ending human suffering are perfectly justifiable. (7) The key question here is, if internal wars cause unacceptable human suffering, should the international community develop collective mechanisms for preventing or alleviating it?(5) This essay will attempt to address such a question, by outlining the arguments for and against humanitarian intervention in the context of the Bosnian crisis of 1991. In light of the evidence, it will be proven that although humanitarian intervention does have flaws, it is a vital tool in alleviating the human suffering that so plagues contemporary society.

The complex issue of humanitarian intervention is widely argued and inherently controversial. Humanitarian intervention involves the coercive action of states intervening in areas for the sole purpose of preventing or halting the killing or suffering of the people there. (1, 9, 5) It is an issue argued fervently amongst restrictionists and counter-restrictionists, who debate over whether humanitarian intervention is a breach of international law or a moral requirement. (10)...
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