International relations have evolved so much for the past century. Laws and policies that govern these nations were created in order to bring each and every one of them closer. But the closer these nations get to each other, the more they’re able to see each other’s loopholes and imperfections. This is what usually led to misunderstandings between nations. If these misunderstandings are not sorted out, this could lead to conflicts between these nations. These conflicts, if not properly mediated, could lead to much more hostile interactions between the nations.
In order to solve these conflicts, other countries try to get involved. This is where the concept of intervention comes in. But then, another issue is raised regarding this. Is it ethical for other countries to intervene with the matters of other countries? Let’s say it is not a conflict between different countries, instead, it’s just an internal conflict of a certain country, is it right for other countries to butt-in and intervene? There is an existing right of humanitarian intervention, and it has been one of the most talked about and most controversial foreign policy issue over the past years.
There were some instances that it was successful, and there were some wherein it was a complete failure. To what extent is this “responsibility to protect” ethical? These questions still require answers, as more and more international conflicts arise. Analyzing the concept of intervention, we would come across with the concept of non-intervention, which deals with the legalities of interfering with the internal politics of another nation or state.
Non-intervention is the norm in international relations which is about how one state is not allowed to interfere in the internal politics of another, and this is grounded on the concepts of state sovereignty and self-determination. As sovereign nation states, they are the supreme power within their political territory, and no other state outside that territory should intervene with the internal politics of that state.
The theoretical basis of this norm of non-intervention is on the principles of sovereignty and the political nation’s right to self determination or the freedom to determine their political status. This norm of non-intervention is clearly in opposition of the right to humanitarian intervention. Because of these opposing concerns, nations find it hard to determine what stand they’re supposed to take. As international problems and conflicts intensify, the more nations are confused with what action they have to take regarding these matters.
In order to arrive at a consensus, we need to determine the line which serves as a boundary to intervention and non-intervention, before we decide on what measures to take. Factual account One controversial case regarding intervention was NATO war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This war was intended to protect the rights of the Kosovo Albanians, but despite its legitimacy, the legality of the action is still in question . Human rights can be a legitimate reason for the use of violence, but it is greatly contested and even denied by the intervening states.
This because, morally speaking, military intervention should be grounded to cases of humanitarian emergencies which aims to stop the loss of life and not increase the body count. This issue of intervention is still a highly debatable matter, and it’s hard to arrive at a normative agreement with a strong basis. With regards to the desirability of intervention in the name of humanitarian principles, many people are very skeptical about this matter. However, intervention may be able to reflect a new solidarity for the society of states, reflecting both the negative and positive sides of the issue.
Intervention is perceived as profoundly of social context, that these international relations occur because they are bound by legal and moral obligations with each other because of their relations. Various states that form a certain society have their own definition of sovereignty, non-intervention and the rejection or the possibility to use force against each other. These are the norms which they follow in the society that they form as a group of states, and that society provides order in their own context, which is based on their logical and moral values, especially when it comes to the concept of human justice.
The society they formed must have order, since it is the only guarantee that individuals and groups are going to enjoy their rights, and that is the logic behind that. There are several views on sovereignty and non-intervention, and this is divided between the pluralists and the solidarists What these pluralists believe is that these states are only able to agree on a minimum set of rules that they need for coexistence, and this includes sovereignty and non-intervention.
For these people, they believe that humanitarian intervention is a big violation of the rules regarding the independent choices of other political communities, and that there is a strong abusive power behind this, which tries to coerce and intimidate the weak. This is why pluralists reject intervention, being ultimately subversive to the inter-state order being promoted. Meanwhile, the solidarists often argue and assert that intervention is a duty that one nation have to fulfill in the presence of extreme human suffering in another nation.
This is in relation to what the United Nations call as the Responsibility to Protect, by forging a consensus of the nations involved to use intervention as a means to avert problems being experienced by other countries. It is thought that it would actually be able to strengthen the legitimacy of the society of states as well as forge its commitment to justice, by taking the proper action as the situation calls for it. It shows a flaw in the pluralist suspicion that humanitarian intervention would just be in conflict with the prerequisites of order and coexistence.
Instead, it aims to strengthen the compatibility between nations by offering to protect national interest, as well as promoting international order and advocating for the recognition of the human rights. Human rights promotion can also be associated with the concepts of national interest, so the long run benefits of this is already laid out. By promoting and enforcing human rights, we can finally do away with an unjust world, since we equate injustice to disorder. If we are to promote equality and enforce the human rights, we could have a better world.
Another concrete example for this would be the Cold War as well as the post-Cold War issues. For an intervention to be qualified as legitimate as well as humanitarian, it should follow four necessary requirements, which includes the presence of supreme humanitarian emergency, all reasonable peaceful remedies were attempted, but still resulted to nothing, third is that the use of force should be proportional to the harm that will be prevented or stopped, and finally, there should be a assurance that the intervention will lead to positive results .
However, there are claims that the humanitarian motives for intervention are rather unnecessary; as it stated that the means being adopted in this matter doesn’t threaten the possibility of a positive outcome. Not every action has a corresponding humanitarian justification, since the rules and the norms regarding this matter both have constraints and actors. An essential aspect of these norms is the verbal or legal endorsements being given by the states as a part of an attempt to legitimate or justify their behavior.
This is not a problem, since these states become entangled with their own justifications, as the adherence of these words are enough to strengthen the normative framework that makes the states as the global police, thus leading to a narrowed range of possible actions for that framework. During the Cold War, there were a lot of regimes which are guilty of the systematic and persistent human rights violation, but despite all these interventions during this time are very visible and are very exceptional.
Intervention was widely accepted, leading to the ban of the use of force since it is considered as a breach of the United Nations Charter. This has led to deaths of many people all over the world, showing what violence can lead to in the context of intervention. Despite the non-intervention rule emphasized during that time, many people were still slaughtered, including the Tutsi in Burundi, the Ibos during the Biafra’s war fro secession from Nigeria, and the massacre of the East Timorese after Indonesia’s take over of the island.
These all happened in the middle part of the 20th century. Ethical Analysis When it comes to the concept of international relations, our main obligation is to respect the choices of other political communities, since a state will remain self-determining, even though there is a struggle among its citizens as well as failures in establishing free institutions. If neighboring countries keep on poking their noses on other states, then they are being deprived of self-determination.
Foreign states as well as international organizations have no right to intervene on how other states systematically infringe the human rights of their citizens, consequently violating their international, moral, and legal obligations to their citizens. Basing on the human rights, the citizen doesn’t have any specified rights regarding good government, as well as rights to protection from bad ones. Also, the foreign states have no right or even an obligation to save these citizens from their own oppressing government.
In relation to this, there is a constant competition between the moral demands of human rights and self determination, which leads to divided opinion regarding respect for autonomy or the emphasis on the moral claims of the victims of suffering. This is what makes up the international community, wherein it is divided between the morality of the action or the respect to established laws and norms on how states should run themselves. However, this society of states should not only be a political community, but also an ethical community as well, following its own set of norms.
The issue of concern however would be judging upon the weights to be given to various demands by ethical communities competing against each other. Regardless of the strength of a cosmopolitan, at some extent they have to lend a hand on granting some moral standings to some states, one of this instances is the case of genocidal massacres. Humanitarian interventions should always be morally permissible, depending on the state’s self-determination, respect for the autonomy as well as respect for the rights of the people.
There is an argument which states that a full appreciation that the ethical and political basis of international society requires in order to put an end to atrocities like that of Bosnia and Kosovo are local tragedies, rather than making it a full blow international concern. Solving the problem should come from the inside, and not from external factors. Being sovereign is not an assurance of domestic well being, instead it’s just a guide for independence to follow, which could then result to the realization of a good life. However, these arguments lack ethical grounding, that’s why it is not fully acceptable.
Humanitarian exception should not be denied, despite a strong principle of non-intervention, one should step up and fight the oppressor in place of the oppressed which has no means of defending himself. Pluralism reflects the autonomous choices of free moral agents, despite the fact that not all these choices even deserve our toleration or even respect. As international human rights has spread all over, it reduced the grounds for an appeal to defensible normative pluralism, as unusually sever violation of the human rights is able to overcome presumptions regarding intervention.
This is also the reason why we stand against paternalism, as it denies the states of autonomous agency. But in cases which involve severe heinous human rights violations like slavery as well as genocide, it clearly denies of individual autonomy for the people, giving way to stronger presumptions which are against paternalism. Ethnic cleansing and forced slavery are cases which are hard to deal with, and would greatly require intervention if the state itself is not able to resolve this kinds of problems.
When problems become so severe in the state, wherein the human rights violations are really terrible that it undermines the states self-determination, then it could be grounds for intervention. The human rights violations which have a great impact on the human beings moral conscience is just a manifestation that there are no moral bonds between the state and the citizens that it forfeits the respect that they demand from the outsiders, that’s why intervention is really an option to take.
During the time after the Cold War, violations like genocide are regarded not jut offenses against the state it is performed in, but also as offense to the ethical norms that was set by the society of states, so it’s not only the concern of one, it is already the concern of all (the members of the society of states). In the context of the post Cold War, a new norm of security council-authorized humanitarian intervention was recognized, despite the lasting suspicion among many states. This serves as an addition to the elaboration of a controversial set of criteria in order to say that a certain intervention is humanitarian.
However, there is a continuing debate on the practice of unilateral humanitarian intervention, as it continues to be viewed with great skepticism by the society of states. It has been argued that there is a possibility that unilateral intervention could lead to a support of a new solidarity in the context of the international society, that’s why it should not be disregarded or ruled out. This lead to further arguments regarding Kosovo Tragedy, whether it was legitimate, just, proportionate and effective in terms of bringing about humanitarian results.
There are claims that a thorough examination will prove that Kosovo was indeed a scene of human rights abuses which has reached unimaginable levels . Other evidences of violence during this time is manifested by Serbian crimes, and looking at the Serb-Albanian confrontations, we can see that this dates back to the time of the 1974 Yugoslav constitution There are also other manifestations of human rights abuses during that time, including the Serb discrimination and violence which was evident enough to justify intervention by the NATO .
The Yugoslav government were greatly violating the human dignity and rights of several communities in Kosovo, that’s why any of the violent responses of intervention is highly justifiable, taking consideration of all the injustice happening during those times. Analyzing these actions taken by NATO, there was no evidence of NATO’s real intentions. There were allegations that the intervention done by NATO would greatly upset the international order by weakening the restraints on using force, giving the strong ones the motivation to coerce the weak.
The real task then lies on the hands of the solidarist, for them to find the right ways in order to make the unilateral humanitarian intervention an expression of the collective will of the society states, and hopefully, would not just be possible threats to the principles that they follow in order to keep peace and order in the land. This action by NATO can be considered as one big step in the direction of uniting various states, since it received the approval of the members of the members of the society of states.
However, NATO’s actions were not in line with that of the United Nations Security Council, but they however claimed that they are backed by international law. Arguments were given regarding a possibility of having a flaw in the system. There is something fundamentally wrong, since the states have to break the law in order to do good to others. If this is the case, then there are a lot of things that needs working out.
However, there was enough evidence to say that a lot of things went wrong and a lot of lives may have been saved not because of the irregularity of war, but because of the character of means that was employed by NATO, greatly undermining the humanitarian meaning of intervention, which is the real reason for the intervention. NATO boasted of a possible “casualty-free” victory by resorting to dropping cluster bombs from 15,000 feet as well as using depleted uranium tipped armor piercing shells and missiles, if that was their way of avoiding casualty .
Because of this, the Serb ethnic cleansing has been accelerated, and the number of civilians killed and hurt rapidly increased in both Serbs and Albanians. Considering the ethical context of intervention, there are some concerns which are really disturbing. One is resolving violence with violence. Increasing the death toll of the people fighting in order to achieve freedom is somewhat a disturbing thought. The nations who intervene with other nations should also be responsible of what happens afterwards, as they should do the necessary measures after the intervention and just leave the place as it is .
Assessment and advocacy According to Robert Belloni, the problems inherent to the idea that human rights values and practices can be solved through violent means have been carefully discussed in Ken Booth’s volume . Wheeler on the other hand, stayed firm with the idea that just or humanitarian motives for waging war against other nations are nothing but secondary issues when it comes to identifying whether an intervention is really qualified to be addressed as humanitarian.
As the years pass, the states are adopting humanitarian arguments in order to legitimate and justify their actions. This is the most lasting contribution of Wheeler’s study of the evolution of solidarism in international politics. This was even stated in NATO’s justifications of their intervention in Kosovo. This could mean that there is a precedent in the passage of pluralist to solidarist norms and behavior in the context of international politics, but this would require more similar cases.
The implication of this is that there is a deepening need for a dialogue among the involved actors, including both the states and the non-states. This could lead to an agreement of a set of substantive rules which could possible govern humanitarian intervention, in order for it to counter the fear that it might be abused to continue to serve as a tool for the strong to coerce the weak. Jack Donnelly provides possible alternatives to intervention .
Here he suggests that there are other institutions that could fill the gap made by the global institutions which are unwilling or unable to aid the victims of human rights abuse. This is one form of intervention which is the regional intervention. Through this, there is a possibility that there will be an increase in the number of roles that could lead to genuine humanitarian motivations. This can be achieved by increasing the number of national interests which has to be accommodated.
It is better to have selective humanitarian intervention rather than having no interventions at all. As long as the society permits and retains an international system which is structured around the sovereignty of states, there would always be problems in the authority, selectivity and inequality . Nothing will happen if the people will do nothing and just leave them in the hands of the authority to sovereign states. People should look at the moral limitations and intervening at an equal side especially in terms of genocide and partisan politics.