Military Intervention: Acceptable or not?


The death of Lee Rigby a week ago brought attention to a highly controversial area of international relations, namely: the legitimacy of outside intervention in a country’s internal affairs. Officially, the International Community does not support intervention, unless there are some international interests. This leads to highly controversial decisions taken by some governments.

 

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Courtesy of The Daily Mirror

 

When referring to the international community, the United Nations stands as the beacon of international cooperation. The UN Charter acts as a set of rules for state behavior when engaging other states. However, when it comes to armed intervention, it fails to specifically enunciate an exact principle of non-intervention. It only implies a principle through its Article 2(1) which brings forth the “principle of sovereign equality of all the Member states”. It then goes on to say about peaceful settlement of international disputes in Article 2(3). Article 2(4) stresses out the importance of not using force “against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the U.N.”. Finally Article 2(7) draws boundaries for UN intervention altogether. If we take into account the politics involved in high level negotiations related to the international community, then the controversial nature of these principles is perfectly justified because of the interests of the dominating powers. The UN Security Council has been criticized for a long time for its non-democratic nature.

 

 

One of the murderers, in a short statement, said: “I apologize that women had to witness this today but in our lands, our women have to see the same”. His statement can be easily interpreted in many ways but at first sight, it would seem that he believes that the situation in his country is a justification for his actions in London. This points out the “one sided” nature of Foreign Intervention because developed states have not experienced in their modern histories such events yet they have been involved. Becoming the noble armed actors that fight for the good of the innocents has only created a strong feeling of resentment towards them. They use their military force to impose and dictate standards of living of an alien nature to the populations involved. The armed interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the situation with Syria are proof of how the politics of the “Carrot and Stick” are applied on an international level. However, what governments don’t seem to understand is that sticks generate negative feelings which, directed back at you, can have serious repercussions.

 

The stabbing in France and the decapitation in London which both happened this past week can be considered the result of a long chain of events that culminated in a feeling of general injustice among the people that the International Community was supposed to help. 9/11 seemed to be the first event to show the resentment of populations in poor or developing states towards the rich and powerful. As such, the Interventionist policies have been revised and the question of: “whether or not an intervention is worth the costs” has been gaining more and more popularity among the academics, analysts and politicians. A good example is the conflict in Mali where it was speculated that intervention could worsen the situation. As such, if an intervention increases resentment against a country, should that country proceed to use force or should it struggle to find a diplomatic approach?

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