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The Fallacies of Humanitarian Intervention A chapter from the Putinization of International Politics.

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Presentation on theme: "The Fallacies of Humanitarian Intervention A chapter from the Putinization of International Politics."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Fallacies of Humanitarian Intervention A chapter from the Putinization of International Politics

2 This file can be downloaded from my website  There you can also find further material to accompany our seminars on International Theory and International Politics  Lost in the maze ??? Send to

3 Talk based on my article: Interventionen als Instrument der internatio- nalen Politik: Entwicklung, Anspruch, Wirklich- keit, in: Bernhard Rinke/Christiane Lammers/ Reinhard Meyers/Georg Simonis (eds.): Inter- ventionen Revisited. Friedensethik und Huma- nitäre Interventionen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2014, S

4 Structure: I.The Background: changes in warfare from inter- state via asymmetric intrastate to hybrid warfare II.The Problem: overriding the prohibition of the use of [inter-state] force [UN-Ch. Art. 2(4)] and the ban on intervention in the domestic affairs of nations [UN-Ch.Art. 2(7)] by humanitarian intervention in the name of the Responsibility to Protect III.The Consequence: the legitimation/exculpation/ camouflage of traditional acts of power politics under the heading of humanitarian intervention IV.The Remedy: conceptual clarity – call a spade a spade… [ food for further debate: cf. the handout accompanying this paper]

5 Background: Traditional Warfare as Clausewitz saw it… War The state‘s monopoly of force [ius ad bellum] turns outward, into the international sphere - war is a continuation of the political traffic between nations with the intermingling of other means Struggle between large well-structured military organisations Central [staff] direction according to rational strategic principles Centralized political control by legitimate decision-makers Principle of command & obedience Primacy of politics

6 War turns inward…

7 New Wars: the Clausewitzian concept of war dissolves… Organized military force turns into the domestic sphere of crumbling state subjects (Failing States as catalysts of military strife and action); ius ad bellum as a public state monopoly dissolves as well as the protective social contract. The upkeep of domestic order & protection against outside interference as justification of political rule gives way to new aims and actors: domestic/intrasocietal conservation of power and influence by Organized Interests, Clans, Warlords, Mafia Gangs etc. securing plunder & booty, quick extraordinary profits, shadow economy trading routes, rare ressources, personal prestige & dependencies, etc. Struggle between armed ethnic groups & militias; private armies; rebel, irregular & partisan units; marauding gangs, indepen- dently operating snipers, private military companies & soldiers of fortune Abrogation of central political control of war and its rational overall strategic direction Primacy of (ethnonational) group interests Abrogation of the principle of command & obedience

8 A possible interpretation: Carl Schmitt‘s Theory of the Partisan (1963) [??] Characteristics of partisans: 1)Partisans do not wear an official uniform nor national emblems 2)Partisans show a highly intensive and overindividual motivation [because they fight at a political front, regard themselves in the service of a political, social, or religious salvationist idea – they are a partisan of a specific cause] 3)Partisans command maximal mobility, tactical surprise, quick change of attack & retreat enhanced by technology and motorization „Toyota warfare“ flexible communication and professional social media strategies 4)Schmitt‘s fourth characteristic is questionable: the tellurian character of the partisan as defender of his home ground only – but he admits himself that following Lenin, Stalin, and Mao partisans turn into offensive, world-aggressive revolutionaries uniting not the workers, but the insurgents of all countries in global irregular warfare…

9 Actions of governmental and nongovernmental actors blending the threat with or the open or covert use of a whole spectrum of traditional military and unconventional actors, means and instruments of force mainly on the tactical level: e.g.: Partisans & Mercenaries, Terrorists & Organized Crime, high technology and BC weapons of mass destruction, improvised explosive devices, cyberattacks, disturbances of energy production and grid distribution, economic warfare, propaganda-, desinformation-, and demoralisation campaigns, Aims of hybrid warfare in particular: critical infra-structure & weak points as well as populations on three planes: a) immediate conflict zone, b) the home front, c) the international community e.g.: airports & air routes, sea ports & sea routes, mass transport, energy production & transport, news & communication networks, crowds in public spaces and at special events (sports, open air concerts, fairs, Octoberfests, and the like) War turns hybrid (I)

10 War turns hybrid (II) Consequences of hybrid warfare : Mass panic, escape & refuge attempts, massive disturbances/ breakdown of public order; multifacetted infringements of human security and human rights Principle: The alarming or deterrent threat of hybrid warfare lies in the measure of damage to be expected Even smaller, geographically limited security disturbances may set in motion regional/global temporally, politically, economically, financially incisive follow-up processes Normative boundaries: none in international law Counter measures: must be highly adaptable, intelligent, and resilient, overcoming three typical deficits: 1) information/recognition/knowledge, 2) coordination of action, 3) ressources

11 Little green men…

12 Maskirovka Waleri Wassiljewitsch Gerassimow [General of the Army, at present Chief of the Russian General Staff] The Value of Science in Prediction, in: Military Industrial Courier, February 2013, deals with the use of political, economic, information technological, humanitarian, and other non-military measures as methods of waging conflict Fogging the divide between peace and war Growing role of nonmilitary means to reach political, strategic, and at times tactical aims. In many cases, they have exceeded the power of the force of weapons in their effectiveness. The open use of forces, often under the guise of peacekeeping and crisis regulation – is resorted to only at a certain stage, primarily for the achievement of final success in the conflict.

13 The new face of war – or is it the old ??

14 Basic Problem The United Nations, formed in the aftermath of World War II to promote world peace and stability, recognize the sovereign equality of all its member states by emphasizing in its Charter the prohibition of the use of force between its members and the importance of sovereignty… Art.2(4) All members shall refrain in their inter- national relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political inde- pendence of any state … Art. 2(7) "Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state."

15 Basic Problem II Prohibition of the use of interstate force ex Art. 2(4) UN-Charta coupled with Prohibition to intervene in domestic affairs ex Art 2(7) UN-Charta Necessary boundary condition of an inter- national system of deterrence based on mutual assured destruction and hardened second-strike capabilities He who shoots first dies second

16 Caveat The principle of nonintervention does not rule out the application of enforcement measures in case of a threat to peace, a breach of peace, or acts of aggression - cf. Ch. VII UNCh – if so resolved by the Security Council The Genocide Convention of 1948 also overrode the nonintervention principle to lay down the commitment of the world community to prevent and punish genozide – its application however was a Cold War problem… in the same line as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights & the 1966 Conventions on Civil & Political, and Economic, Social, and Cultural rights…

17 Basic Problem III Along with the emergence of non-intervention as a universal norm, a UN-initiated parallel development was in conflict with this principle: the development of human rights as a global issue. Article 1 of the Charter emphasises promoting respect for human rights and justice as one of the funda- mental missions of the organisation. Article 55 states that the UN shall promote and respect the human rights and basic freedoms, and sub- sequent UN initiatives have strengthened these claims. Humanitarian intervention, as the most assertive form of promoting human rights at a global level, was and is clearly incompatible with norms such as non- intervention and state sovereignty.

18 Basic Problem IVa No Government has the right to hide behind national sovereignty in order to violate the rights or fundamental freedoms of its people. Kofi Annan, , with reference to the Kosovo Conflict

19 Basic Problem IVb Two concepts of Sovereignty, Kofi Annan, The Economist State sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined – not least by the forces of globalisation and international cooperation. States are now widely understood to be instruments at the service of their peoples, and not vice versa. …At the same time individual sovereignty … has been enhanced by a renewed and spreading consciousness of individal rights…

20 So what does all this lead to ? The classic definition of humanitarian intervention [by J.L.Holzgrefe (2003:18)]: „…the threat or use of force across state borders by a state (or group of states) aimed at preventing or ending widespread and grave violations of the fundamental human rights of individuals other than its own citizens, without the permission of the state within whose territory force is applied…” Holzgrefe, J.L. (2003): The humanitarian intervention debate, in: Holzgrefe, J.L./ Keohane, Robert O. (Hrsg.): Humanitarian Intervention. Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., S.15 – 52.

21 …and as a further consequence… Resolution of the UN world summit, Sept. 2005: „ Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and neces- sary means.[…And if a state fails in that responsibility, the initiative turns over to the international community…] We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it…“

22 Why do nations intervene in the domestic affairs of others ? Legitimate Grounds for Intervention Realism Rationalism Idealism Political International Responsibility Expediency, Legal to protect National appropriateness Just War Doctrine Interest (Grotius ff) Revived

23 Some historical examples… The Swedes reputedly entered the 30 Years‘ War for religious & humanitarian reasons – yet by 1648 they also had defeated Denmark & became a Baltic Great Power… The Powers intervened around the Mediterranean and on the Balkans at various times during the 19th century – in Greece (1827), Sicily (1856), Syria (1860), Krete (1866), Bosnia (1875), Bulgaria (1877), Mace-donia (1887) – and the US in Cuba 1898 – ostensibly for humanitarian and democratic reasons, but nearly always also against the Ottoman Empire… Indian intervention in East Pakistan/Bangladesh 1971 Tanzanian intervention in Uganda 1979 Vietnamese intervention in Kampuchea December 78

24 …and some more recent ones… Nagorno-Karabakh Transnistria 1990 – 1992 South Ossetia 2008 Abchazia 2008 Libya 2011 [no doubt to be continued] General characteristic: in all these cases humani- tarian intervention produced frozen conflicts (with the exception of Libya, where it resulted in still ongoing inter-religious and inter-tribal warfare) manifest in some sort of military balance between the conflicting parties, a ceasefire, but no political solution

25 Conclusio An analysis of the vast majority of historically manifest humanitarian interventions produces two trends: „… first, the presence of a large degree of national interest whenever states have launched a supposedly humanitarian intervention; and second, a marked unwillingness amongst states to intervene when national interests are not at stake, regardless of the humanitarian suffering taking place …“. Thus, in my interpretation the whole humanitarian inter- vention/R2P debate conceals a nasty consequence: the legitimation/exculpation/camouflage of traditional acts of power politics under a false flag – that of humanitarian intervention. Hehir, Aidan (2013): Humanitarian Intervention. An Introduction. 2nd ed. Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan, p.198

26 Thank You for your patience…


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