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What International Relations theory best explains humanitarian intervention. What is your critical view on the effectiveness of humanitarian inter...

Satisfactory Essays
Humanitarian intervention can be defined as an ‘activity taken up by a state, a group within a state, a group of states, or an international organisation which interferes coercively in the domestic affairs of another state’. (Vincent, 1974, p.3) Now, depending of the school of thought, this can be seen in either a positive or negative light. For those who subscribe to the solidarity theory, the idea of humanitarian intervention is perfectly viable as those who favour the theory advocate in the enforcement of an international law that can combat the violation of human rights for instance. On the other hand, pluralist theorists feel the idea of intervention, humanitarian or not, is simply impermissible. Nevertheless, the liberal argument seems best to describe the concept of humanitarian intervention, arguing from the stance that it prevents or ends the abuse of human rights. In critical response to liberal thought on humanitarian intervention, some would argue that not only does intervention undermine the sovereignty of states, it also breaks down the required conditions for international order. (Ayoob, 2002, p.84)The effectiveness of humanitarian intervention is also called to question with several recent interventions deemed to be failures. The use of military constitutes a huge part of the problem and brings about the need for change in the humanitarian intervention process.
PART 1 – LIBERAL ARGUMENT FOR HUMANARIAN INTERVENTION
The liberal argument is no doubt the best to explain the reasons behind and the benefits of humanitarian intervention. Famous liberal thinker, John Stuart Mill, expressed that there was a distinction between going into aggressive wars for selfish reasons and going to war in order to prevent atrocities wh...

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...e state is the main argument against its existence. (Spalding, 2013, p.5) Realist international theorists are in effect non-interventionists as they as believe the international society to be a state of anarchy and as such value order way above morality. In their opinion, for there to be order, states must be sovereign and their sovereignty respected. The highest power remains the state, it is on these grounds that universal human rights are rejected as well as the need for humanitarian intervention. Pluralists also add to the argument the claim that plurality of international politics is an indication that it is impossible for a universal standard of human rights to be agreed upon. The non-interventionist arguments stands on the foundation of the rejection of universal human rights and the importance of the state’s sovereignty over morality. (Spalding, 2013, p.6)
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