This book considers who should undertake humanitarian intervention in response to an ongoing or impending humanitarian crisis. It develops a normative account of legitimacy to assess not only current interveners, but also the desirability of potential reforms to the mechanisms and agents of humanitarian intervention.
Recent discussions in Just War Theory have been framed by a polarising debate between “traditionalist” and “revisionist” approaches. This debate has largely overlooked the importance of an applied account of Just War Theory. The main aim of this essay is to defend the importance of this applied account and, in particular, a nonideal account of the ethics of war. I argue that the applied, nonideal morality of war is vital for a plausible and comprehensive account of Just War Theory. A (...) subsidiary aim of the essay is to show that once we appreciate the importance of the applied, nonideal account, it becomes clear that the positions proposed by revisionists and traditionalists are, in fact, much closer than often presumed. (shrink)
If the resources used to wage wars could be spent elsewhere and save more lives, does this mean that wars are unjustified? This article considers this question, which has been largely overlooked by Just War Theorists and pacifists. It focuses on whether the opportunity costs of war lead to a form of pacifism, which it calls ‘Opportunity Costs Pacifism’. The article argues that Opportunity Costs Pacifism is, at the more ideal level, compelling. It suggests that the only plausible response to (...) Opportunity Costs Pacifism applies in highly nonideal circumstances. This has major implications for Just War Theory and pacifism since it is only at the highly nonideal level that war can be justified. (shrink)
Private military companies are taking over a growing number of roles traditionally performed by the regular military. This article uses the framework of just war theory to consider the central normative issues raised by this privatization of military force.
Recent work in the ethics of war has done much to challenge the collectivism of the convention-based, Walzerian just war theory. In doing so, it raises the question of when it is permissible for soldiers to resort to force. This article considers this issue and, in doing so, argues that the rejection of collectivism in just war should go further still. More specifically, it defends the ‘Individual-Centric Approach’ to the deep morality of war, which asserts that the justifiability of an (...) individual’s contribution to the war, rather than the justifiability of the war more generally, determines the moral acceptability of their participation. It then goes on to present five implications of the Individual-Centric Approach, including for individual liability to attack in war. (shrink)
The moral permissibility of the intervention in Libya largely turns on two fairly tricky assessments: whether the situation was sufficiently serious at the time the intervention was launched and what the predominant purposes of the intervention were.
This article considers the duty to undertake humanitarian intervention. It first examines the arguments for the duty to intervene and questions the possibility of supererogatory humanitarian intervention. It then considers the leading objections to this duty which, it is argued, are largely unpersuasive. In the final section, the article considers the duty to intervene in the context of the responsibility to protect doctrine, which provides the framework within which debates about humanitarian intervention now in large part occur.
The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty's report, The Responsibility to Protect, argues that when a state is unable or unwilling to uphold its citizens? basic human rights, such as in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, the international community has a responsibility to protect these citizens by undertaking humanitarian intervention. An essential issue, however, remains unresolved: which particular agent in the international community has the duty to intervene? In this article, I critically examine four ways (...) of assigning this duty. Although I highlight the benefits of institutionalising the responsibility to protect, I argue that we should adopt, in the short term at least, a consequentialist solution: humanitarian intervention should be the responsibility of the intervener that will be the most effective. (shrink)
The legitimacy of the military is frequently overlooked in standard accounts of jus ad bellum. Accordingly, this paper considers how the military should be organized. It proposes a normative conception of legitimacy – the ‘Moderate Instrumentalist Approach’ – that outlines the qualities that a military should possess. It then assesses the three leading ways of organizing the military according to this approach: the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs), a conscripted force and the all-volunteer force (AVF). The paper (...) argues that the AVF, despite some notable problems, is the most legitimate way of organizing the military. (shrink)
Despite the popularity of arming rebels as a foreign policy option, there is very little, if any, detailed engagement with the ethical issues surrounding the practice. There is a growing literature on the ethical issues surrounding civil wars and, more specifically, the conditions for engaging in just rebellion; but the focus of this literature is largely on the question of the justifiability of the rebels themselves in engaging in civil war and their conduct when doing so, rather than the permissibility (...) of the arming of rebels by other agents. It is precisely this issue that I want to address here. Overall, I argue that the process should be generally eschewed. More specifically, this article seeks to establish that arming rebels is generally impermissible and only exceptionally morally permissible. The former, far more restrictive claim will be established in the first part of the article. The latter, more permissive claim will be established in the second part of the article. (shrink)
The possibility of using private military and security companies to bolster the capacity to undertake intervention for human rights purposes has been increasingly debated. The focus of such discussions has, however, largely been on practical issues and the contingent problems posed by private force. By contrast, this article considers the principled case for privatising humanitarian intervention. It focuses on two central issues. First, does outsourcing humanitarian intervention to private military and security companies pose some fundamental, deeper problems in this context, (...) such as an abdication of a state's duties? Second, on the other hand, is there a case for preferring these firms to other, state-based agents of humanitarian intervention? For instance, given a state's duties to their own military personnel, should the use of private military and security contractors be preferred to regular soldiers for humanitarian intervention? (shrink)
The current mechanisms and agents of humanitarian intervention are inadequate. As the crisis in Darfur has highlighted, the international community lacks both the willingness to undertake humanitarian intervention and the ability to do so legitimately. This article considers a cosmopolitan solution to these problems: the creation of a standing army for the United Nations. There have been a number of proposals for such a force, including many recently. However, they contain two central flaws: the force proposed would be, firstly, too (...) small and, secondly, too dependent on major states. Accordingly, I argue that, to be a substantial improvement on the current situation, such a force would need to be, firstly, much larger and, secondly, in the hands of cosmopolitan democratic institutions. This two-part solution would solve the problems faced by current interveners, but is unlikely to be realised soon. Accordingly, I argue that our immediate efforts should instead be concentrated on improving regional organisations' ability to intervene. (shrink)
In this contribution, I defend the standard list of jus ad bellum principles. In The Ethics of War and the Force of Law: A Modern Just War Theory, Uwe Steinhoff endorses only three principles of jus ad bellum (right intention, just cause, and proportionality) and claims that the others are redundant. I argue that, although fundamentally all jus ad bellum principles can be reduced to proportionality, in practice it is vital to retain the main jus ad bellum criteria as separate (...) principles. (shrink)
The conflict in Ukraine indicates some of the features of a potential post-liberal order and raises several potential ethical issues that may arise for international interventions as the world changes. What types of interventions, if any, are justifiable in response to situations such as the one in Ukraine? Can interventions be permissible given the potential undermining of universalist claims that are often used to support them? How should states prioritize between situations if there is an even greater number of global (...) challenges in a post-liberal order? Three new books—Solferino 21 by Hugo Slim, Decolonizing Human Rights by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim, and Promoting Justice across Borders by Lucia Rafanelli—can help to navigate these questions. Drawing on their insights, this essay argues that reform interventions can be justified to defend the liberal international order, that intervention can be defended from a relativist basis, and that socioeconomic rights should be given greater priority. (shrink)
The private military industry has been growing rapidly since the end of the Cold War. The Morality of Private War uses normative political theory to assess the leading moral arguments for and against the use of private military and security companies.
Three central questions lie at the heart of this roundtable. First, what are the implications of Libya for the RtoP doctrine? Second, how should we judge the intervention in Libya morally and politically? Third, what is the likelihood of future action under RtoP?