Humanitarian Intervention

1036 Words5 Pages
The legitimacy and efficacy of humanitarian interventions has become one of the most important aspects of foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Even what type of military action constitutes a genuine humanitarian intervention is unclear; the term humanitarian itself remains hotly debated. Humanitarian interventions are a morally complex action, as they often take place in an environment with multiple competing powers attempting to further their respective interests. How can humanitarian interests be furthered without the corrupting influence of political agendas? Humanitarian impulses should be treated as sincere, but limits should be imposed to prevent the abuse of the humanitarian label as a mechanism to legitimize otherwise unacceptable…show more content…
This has the benefit of providing a buffer against claiming an operation as “humanitarian” when the result of an operation is not aligned with the claimed goals, and by doing so it offers a more objective definition of humanitarianism. Since leaders are obviously primarily responsible to their populations, the predicament of whether or not to make significant sacrifices to save non-citizens is another moral dilemma encountered in humanitarian interventions. Wheeler compellingly argues that it cannot be an equal exchange in lives lost for lives saved, since humanitarian interventions are intended to result in a net gain of lives (Wheeler 2000, 51).This is a concern that is virtually impossible to reach a concrete solution to, as the circumstances can vary so widely from case to case, and the political constraints on an intervening power can similarly…show more content…
While “liberal peacebuilding” is a different concept than humanitarian interventions, encompassing a much more expansive conceptualization of intervention that reshapes entire societies, they do share a number of characteristics in common. His thesis, however, that market-based economic reforms and the imposition of liberal principles on societies emerging from war appears to be remarkably Western-centric. While he claims that this is not a one-size-fits-all philosophy to be applied in all cases (Paris 2010, 361), he qualifies this claim with the assertion that one merely needs to implement market-oriented reforms tailored to the specific context. The theory behind such a belief clearly is that such policies are the most likely to result in long-term peace, however it inherently makes the assumption that market-oriented, liberal reforms will work in all contexts on the condition that it is slightly altered for cultural sensibilities. While often not an explicitly defined goal, one could argue that such liberalizing reforms are the desired result of all humanitarian interventions carried out by Western

More about Humanitarian Intervention

Open Document