World history is fraught with unrest. To assist in restoring a semblance of order, and deter countries from unnecessary warfare, The United Nations Charter, developed in 1945, specifies conditions in which force may be used legally. These conditions include self-defense, when force is authorized by the United Nations Security Council to maintain and restore international peace and security, and by regional collective defense action (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 183).
Armed interventions are a type of force that can be sanctioned by the United Nations. Typically, armed interventions involve the deployment of military personnel to a foreign country in order to tip the balance in a civil war, restore order, maintain peace, or physically coerce a state to change its policies (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 166).
Interference in the domestic affairs of another country is usually illegal according to the United Nations Charter, which encourages countries to settle their international disputes by peaceful means and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 184).
Countries are given the option of arbitration or a judicial countermeasure from the International Court of Justice. However, these tribunals do not have reinforcement powers (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 184).
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Therefore, in many cases it is sometimes necessary for countries to stage an armed intervention. Usually, these interventions are justified by the participants as a measure to restore international peace or to serve humanitarian purposes (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 183).
Given the current unrest in the world, it is not surprising that internal wars, not interstate wars, are the most likely threat to international peace and security (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 184).
Internal wars are often difficult to contain, and more often than not become interstate wars before the end is reached. Determining the difference between internal and interstate wars is difficult, and many times it depends on the interpretation of the status (state or not a state) of those involved. According to UN charter, while armed intervention is permissible during an interstate war, it is not during an internal or civil war, where the state has sovereignty.
Humanitarian armed intervention, or using force to stop the fighting among competing groups, provide the necessary security to feed starving people, or halting ethnic cleansing, legally violates the principle of nonintervention in the domestic affairs of the state (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 185).
However, the UN can justify an armed intervention for humanitarian reasons only if the issue poses a threat to international peace. The legal roots of humanitarian intervention can be traced back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when classical international lawyers took the view, based along the lines of the just war tradition, that the use of force across boarders to punish injustice was legal (Wittman, 2008).
Humanitarian intervention can take place for genuine reasons and motives, or it can be a pretext used by political leaders and diplomats in an effort to justify armed interventions done exclusively for national-interest reasons (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 185).
Regardless of reason, humanitarian intervention typically succeeds in providing greater security and meeting human needs (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 185).
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Policymakers face difficult decisions about whether or not to intervene with armed force to respond to aggression, prevent or stop genocide, restore order, or maintain the peace (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 186).
There are several different criteria used for making decisions about the use of armed intervention. Economic and military abilities of the countries in question are considered during the decision making process. Sovereignty is also questioned. According to international law, armed intervention is prevented in the domestic affairs of a country unless requested by that country’s government. However, in certain situations outlined in UN charter, it is allowed. These include situations in which the conflict threatens international peace, and self-defense responding to aggression. National interest is also weighed during the consideration of armed intervention. Some people argue that armed intervention should be pursued only if there is a vital national interest to be served (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 186).
Human rights are also considered. Many feel that human rights outweigh those of countries, and there is clearer legal ground for humanitarian armed intervention under UN Security Council auspices (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 186).
The costs of armed intervention are important to analyze, particularly the effect on the human condition. Armed intervention has very real costs not just to people and property in states and societies subject to intervention, but also to the armed forces conducting such interventions (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 186).
These are difficult to know for sure, but the prospects play an important role in deciding whether or not armed intervention is used. A final important issue to take into account is the possible support of an armed intervention from other countries. Most countries contemplating an armed intervention hope for multilateral support in conducting armed interventions (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 186).
All of these criteria, while worthwhile to consider in making the decision whether or not to pose an armed intervention, consistently conflict with each other. These criteria are very subjective, are based mostly on personal opinion and judgment, and leave considerable amounts of gray area. With the passage of the UN Charter in 1945, armed intervention was prohibited. However, the human rights provisions in the Charter gave the system something of a dual character. The signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other treaties gave rights not only to states, but also to individuals (Wittman, 2008).
... two states working defensively together for a common objective in one region. These are the three set criteria’s for armed intervention; they ... 7 pages. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from www.uwo.ca. Viotti, P. & Kauppi, M. (2007). International Relations and World Politics. New ... also be the same type of reasoning that this countries citizen feels especially since the terrorist attacks of September ...
That said, we are left with an analytical framework that specifies factors that typically are part of decisions to engage armed intervention (Viotti & Kauppi, 2009, p 186).
The UN Security Council should without a doubt, allow armed intervention when it is used to protect a group of people, such as in humanitarian armed intervention. The sovereignty of a state cannot be a protective barrier behind which human rights can be massively or systematically violated with impunity (Wittman, 2008).
States have a responsibility to protect a duty to intervene abroad when a national government fails to protect its people or puts them at risk (Lawrence & Archer, 2007).
This armed intervention could possibly take the form of an international police force. David Southall, in his article Pity the Children, expresses this idea in regards to a police force specifically to protect children.
This idea could be applied also universally. Southall states war crimes are no different from any other violent crime. An international police force could adopt a similar approach to crimes committed as part of armed conflict (Southall, 1998).
He goes on to state that the police force would have to have access to all areas of the country affected by the conflict, and also be allowed to transfer medicines, food, water, and sanitation systems through the frontlines of conflict. Ultimately, the desired outcome by the United Nations when formulating this Charter was peace and international order. It is important for armed intervention to be used to promote humanitarian rights and justice, because justice itself also provides order (Wittman, 2008).
Task Words Explain Provide Content Words State sovereignty International order International intervention Mass violence Re-state the Topic The topic is asking me to expand on both the positive and negative effects of global involvement in the internal affairs of independent nations with regard to the avoidance and settling of large-scale bloodshed. It requires me to substantiate my arguments both ...
Gostin, Lawrence O & Archer, Robert. (2008).
The Duty of States to Assist Other States in Need: Ethics, Human Rights, and International Law. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 35(4), 526-533. Retrieved March 4, 2010, from Research Library database.
Southall, David (1998).
Pity the children. New Statesman, 11(518), 34. Retrieved March 9, 2010, from Research Library database.
Viotti, P., & Kauppi, M. (2009) International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy, Identity (4th ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Wittman, A. (2008).
When Something Must Be Done. The World Today, 64(1), 26-29. Retrieved March 6, 2008, from Research Library database.