Monday, November 27, 2006

Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention(1): Intro

The following 3-4 posts are an altered draft of my thoughts on humanitarian intervention. I should say that parts of this are results of research and therefore not my personal ideas, however, as a whole this is how the cookie should crumble, if I were god.

Developing a set of criteria for guiding decisions about humanitarian intervention is difficult without seeing everything in a broad context. Particularly, in the light of the post September 11 developments with respect to this matter, humanitarian intervention needs to be re-examined fundamentally before asking questions of where, when and why is it required. I propose escaping the limitations of the recent debate on the topic which involves definitions that are more or less precise, and their abundant interpretations. In essence the question should be “When, where and how is inter-state violence appropriate in order to alleviate human suffering?

In order to address this, I will begin by explaining how the above question is more relevant that simply asking about humanitarian intervention. Then I will explain when and how alleviation of suffering is humanitarian, and under what circumstances it would require military action. In case such action takes place, I will outline the major guidelines it should follow, of which, the key is to prevent the overlap between the military and humanitarianism. The conclusion will delineate how this leads in one direction: completely rethinking, if not removing, humanitarian intervention as we currently know it.

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