Justifying Coercive and Non-Coercive Intervention: Strategic and Humanitarian Arguments

Acta Analytica 16 (27):133-52 (2001)
The world's political and military leaders are under increasing pressure to intervene in the affairs of sovereign nations. Although the sovereignty of states and the corollary principle of nonintervention have been part of the foundation of international law, there is some latitude for states, as well as collective security organizations, to intervene in another state's domestic and foreign affairs, thus making sovereignty and the principle less than absolute. In this paper I first sketch a reasonable foundation for sovereignty of states and the principle of nonintervention. Second, I offer a decision-making procedure for justified intervention. Finally, I argue that there is an important difference between the strategic argument and the humanitarian argument, a difference that may have profound implications for the future use of the latter argument by our political leaders.
Keywords just war theory  intervention  sovereignty  strategic argument  humanitarian argument  genocide  Kosovo
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