POSC 2200 – Modern
Conflict
Russell Alan Williams
Department of Political Science
Unit Five: Modern Conflict
“Managing Insecurity, Human Rights and Humanitarian
Intervention”
Required Reading:


Globalization of World Politics, 31.
Badescu and Bergholm, “The Responsibility to Protect and the
Conflict in Darfur: The Big Let-Down,” Security Dialogue, Vol. 40
no. 3, June 2009, Pp. 287-309.
Outline:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Introduction – The Context
Humanitarian Intervention
Challenges to Humanitarian Intervention
Conclusions
Term Paper Due, in class, in hardcopy March 13. The late
penalty is 5% per day.
1) Introduction - The Context:
Rwandan Genocide
(1994):


April 6 – Rwandan President Habyarimana is assassinated in the
first step of a planed genocide of the Tutsi minority
Next 100 days – Approximately 700,000 Rwandans are killed
UN Response = Withdrawal of existing UN mission(?)

Highlights the gap between UN/existing international security
concepts and the reality of global politics?
1) Introduction - The Context:
UN and ideals of “sovereignty” support “nonintervention” in domestic affairs . . . but most global
security problems stem from domestic political
problems . . . .
 Widespread human right problems
 Civil wars
 Endemic poverty
 “Failed States”
=“Human Security” is threatened by “insecurities” that
are not managed by existing approaches
2) Humanitarian Intervention:
“Humanitarian Intervention”: States have a right (or,
to some, a duty) to intervene in other states suffering
large losses in human life.
Resulting from either actions of that state’s government, or a
systematic failure of governance.

E.g. “Genocide”: Organized, or openly condoned acts,
intended to destroy a national, ethnic or religious group.



Illegal under UN conventions since 1948
Supported by:
NGO’s & some states – E.g. Canada
Radical change to both:

“Sovereignty”
 Security

2) Humanitarian Intervention:
Controversy . . .

Ideas surrounding “Humanitarian Intervention” are
very liberal, very optimistic and, to some, very
idealistic

Problems:
 Many states prefer existing “sovereignty”
regime
 International law unclear on the legality of
using force in other societies

Concern:
 High risk that “Humanitarian Intervention” is
a rhetoric that will be abused . . . .
2) Humanitarian Intervention:
Result – Long UN process to clarify and codify
legality of HI . . . .
“Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” (2005): Set clearer
standards for HI to try to satisfy both complaints

When a state is unwilling or unable to protect its own
citizens from harm, its “responsibilities” are transferred to
international society.
 Many criteria must be met . . . .

In practice – the UN plays key role in managing
humanitarian intervention on a “case by case” basis.
 E.g. only the “Security Council” can approve “Forcible
Humanitarian Intervention”
3) Challenges:
Question: What is the record of the UN & international
society in applying Humanitarian Intervention ideas?
 And do interventions reduce human suffering?
A great deal of debate . . . but a few major themes:
1) Those operations that have occurred have reduced
the level of human harm, at least in the short term.

Text: HI is a “short term palliative” but longer term
problems (e.g. like crushing poverty or ongoing ethnic
conflict) may not be dealt with . . . .
 E.g. Somalia (?)
Afghanistan (?)
3) Challenges:
2) The Problem of “selectivity”: Critics warned HI
would become a problem . . . .



States with national self interest in an intervention would
use this a legitimating rhetoric; or that interventions
would only occur when there was an ulterior motive . . . .
Theoretically - Thucydides: “The strong do what they
like”
 Selectivity and inconsistency undermine moral basis
of the ideas
In practice?
 E.g. Iraq (2003) Many US officials and scholars used
emerging R2P norms to support invasion and to
discredit the UN. Intervention was illegal and
inconsistent with R2P rules!
 E.g. Darfur
Badescu and Bergholm: R2P and
Darfur – “the big let down”

Examine the case of Darfur and the limited UN
intervention – what can be learned here?

Darfur?


Sudanese government using
militias to remove hostile
population in region
250,000 dead & 2,000,000
displaced . . . .
Badescu and Bergholm: R2P and
Darfur – “the big let down”

Examine the case of Darfur and the limited UN
intervention – what can be learned here?

Darfur?


Sudanese government using
militias to remove hostile
population in region
250,000 dead & 2,000,000
displaced . . . .
=Case is a “textbook example” of problems R2P was
supposed to address
Badescu and Bergholm: R2P and
Darfur – “the big let down”

Examine the case of Darfur and the limited UN
intervention – what can be learned here?
Their argument(s)?



States did not want to pay the “costs”
of intervening
HI is still conceptually difficult to do
“on the ground”
Much of the UN’s involvement was for
appearances – so that governments
could say they were doing “something”
Highlights the inconsistencies of R2P – But does this mean other
R2P operations are illegitimate??
3) Challenges:
3) The Problem of the UN itself (!)

Without reform, Security Council members continue to
have “veto power” over R2P missions . . . .
 The process is always “political” and inconsistent
However, “Humanitarian Intervention” and its
link to “human security” is not only
producing new interventions, but has
altered focus of arms control efforts

E.g. Antipersonnel landmines

E.g. Small arms (?)
“Campaign to Control Small Arms”

NGO Campaign


E.g. “Project Ploughshares”
Supporting UN “Human
Security” initiatives to limit
spread of “small arms”

One person per minute killed
Goals? A UN “Arms Trade Treaty”
 Limit illicit spread of weapons
 Regulate legal trade – where weapons likely to
be used to violate human rights
http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/ArmsTradeTreaty/html/ATT.shtml
5) For Next Time . . .
Unit Five:
International Security, War and Strife
“Managing Insecurity, the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass
Destruction (WMD’s)”
Required Reading:


Globalization of World Politics, Chapter 24.
John Mueller. “The Essential Irrelevance of Nuclear Weapons: Stability in
the Postwar World,” International Security, Vol. 13(2), (Fall 1988), Pp. 5579. (Available from e-journals, or as an excerpt, from the instructor).
Term Paper Due, in class, in hardcopy, March 13.
The late penalty is 5% per day.
Download

Humanitarian Intervention