Humanitarian Intervention: A Realist Perspective - Essay Example

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Humanitarian Intervention: A Realist Perspective

Humanitarian intervention can be functionally defined as military intervention by one or more countries in the territory of another for the protection of citizens other than their own from humanitarian calamities. Interventions in Somalia and Cambodia were pivotal in arming this movement with powerful precedents. The failure to intervene in Rwanda, and to a certain extent in Bosnia, also served as chilling reminders of what horrors international indifference could bring about. Some scholars have argued that it is only the changing normative context of international relations, rather than theories of power and economic interests, that can explain the rationale and requirement of humanitarian intervention in today’s world. The lens of realism, instead, offers a clear and present vision of non-intervention and strategic restraint in international politics. Before outlining the key realist arguments against humanitarian intervention, it shall be prudent to take a look at the central tenets of the paradigm and its approach to world politics. ...Show more

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This essay attempts to show, by employing the logic of realism, that normative underpinnings of humanitarian intervention – use of military force by one country in another for the safety of the latter’s citizens – are essentially misplaced and intervention runs contrary to the practice of international relations. …
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