Politics, practice, and reality of military involvement in
Politics, practice, and reality of military involvement in
Politics, practice, and reality of
military involvement in
Humanitarian Intervention &
What should we do, and what
are the limits of ambition ?
Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c.mult. Reinhard
Meyers, WWU Münster
Lebenslauf – Kurzfassung
Reinhard Meyers, Jahrgang 1947, studierte
Politikwissenschaft, Anglistik, und Geschichte an der
Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität 1966 – 1970 mit
dem Abschluß Magister Artium. Forschungsstipendiat der
Wiener Library, London, an der Graduate School of
Contemporary European Studies, University of Reading
1970 – 1972 mit dem Abschluß Master of Philosophy.
Wissenschaftlicher Assistent bei Hans-Adolf Jacobsen und KarlDietrich Bracher am Seminar für Politikwissenschaft der
Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität 1972 – 1984. Promotion
zum Dr.phil. 1974; Habilitation im Fach Politikwissenschaft 1986;
seit 1987 Professor für Internationale Politik und Außenpolitik an der
Westfälischen Wilhelms - Universität.
Die Forschungsinteressen galten ursprünglich der
Geschichte der internationalen Beziehungen und der
Sicherheitspolitik im 20. Jahrhundert; daneben trat aber
schon vor der Habilitation die Wissenschaftsgeschichte
der Lehre von den Internationalen Beziehungen sowie
deren Epistemologie, Methodologie und Theorie. Seit
den achtziger Jahren wird dieser Schwerpunkt ergänzt
durch Arbeiten zur Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, seit
den neunziger Jahren auch zur Europapolitik.
Seit 1991 mehrfach Prodekan und Dekan des Fachbereichs Sozialwissenschaften der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität, Oktober 1997
Ehrendoktor der Fakultät für Europastudien der Babes-Bolyai Universität
Klausenburg; Mai 2007 Ehrendoktor der Universität Novi Sad. Mitgründer
und von 1993 - 2010 Mitherausgeber der Zeitschrift für Internationale
Beziehungen. Programmbeauftragter für die internationalen
Doppeldiplomstudiengänge mit dem IEP Lille, der BBU Klausenburg (RO)
und der Universiteit Twente (NL) 1997 – 2008.
Hobbies: Industriearchäologie des Transportwesens, italienische Küche
This file can be downloaded from
There you can also find further material
to accompany our seminars on
International Theory and International
Lost in the maze ??? Send email to
► Why theory in the analysis of I.R.
► Consequences of different
► From Humantarian Intervention to
the Responsibility to Protect
► Open Questions
• Our knowledge of reality is once removed
• Social, political – and also academic or
scientific – behavior cannot be understood
as an immediate reflex reaction in an actual
• Rather, it is formed by the perception of a
real situation and by the interpretation, i.e.
the image, we have of a particular situation –
independent of whether the actual situation
is in reality formed in the same way as we
see and interpret it (Thomas Theorem).
Our knowledge of reality is always
Theory is "the net which we throw out
in order to catch the world – to rationalize, explain, and dominate it.“
Different theories = different nets =
Karl Popper. Logik der Forschung, 1935: p.26
(The Logic of Scientific Discovery, London:
Grand Theories of International
states as anarchic state of
unlimited zerosum game for
regulated by norm
World society as
The Billiard-Ball-Model of international Politics
Cobweb model of international Relations
Two Most Different Accounts of International Politics
to ensure own survival
Follow the national
Promote social learning
• Ideas & Education
• Rational Enlightenment
Balance of Power politics
• No world government
• Cooperation amongst
International society as
cooperation of free
association of individuals
Idea of human progress =
result of progress of forces
Security Dilemma & Arms
Consequences of different theories
for the discussion of our subject…
what should we do ?
what are the limits of our ambitions ?
protect - R2P
Consensus: what do we talk about ?
H.I. defined as „military intervention in a state, without
the approval of its authorities, and with the purpose
of preventing wide-spread suffering or death among
the inhabitants“ (Adam Roberts 1993)
► use of military force, exclusion of non-
► absence of the target state‘s permission
(incl. situations of state failure & state
► aim to help non-nationals
► agency question (self-help principle vs. UN
umbrella) still open
Consequences … if you are a Realist…(I)
International humanitarian intervention poses
no akward questions to political decisionmakers.
Within a rationally calculated framework of
national interests and political expediency,
intervention can be regarded as one
instrument in a whole battery of means from
gentle persuasion to outright warfare.
Reference back to the „ethics of responsibility“
– Verantwortungsethik (Max Weber)
Ethics of responsibility
Ethics of conviction/principle
• Problem: establish a relationship between
the strength of your convictions/principles
and the consequences/costs of your actions
according to convictions/principles
• Ethics of responsibility = optimization of
principles and consequences of action
• Ethics of principle = maximization of
principles without regard to cost/consequences of principled action
Consequences …if you are a Realist (II)
What has to be assured in H.I. is
►a logically cogent definition of aims,
►a clear formulation of a maximizing/
optimizing/satisfying means – ends relationship,
►a clear calculation of hardware, manpower, and
financial ressources needed in order to fulfill specific
►a realization of the availability of such ressources,
► a communicable entry – stay - exit – strategy.
(legal) form follows (political)
• The Swedes reputedly entered the 30 Years‘ War for
religious & humanitarian reasons – yet by 1648 they
also had defeated Denmark & became a Baltic Great
• 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), Macedonia (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
• Tanzanian intervention in Uganda
• Vietnamese intervention in Kampuchea
Consequences…if you are a Rationalist…
Early discussion of the concept backtraced to
16th & 17th Century Internat. Law classics –
from Vitoria to Grotius
De Jure Belli ac Pacis 1625 states that states
are entitled to exercise the right to H.I. „vested in human society“ on behalf of oppressed individuals & to end human suffering
► Grotian Tradition in International Affairs
allows full-scale use of force to end human
suffering (political) function follows (legal)
Slow change from doctrine of intervention to
doctrine of non-intervention in the 19th
century and beyond
► Monroe Doctrine 1823
►Calvo- & Drago- Doctrines 1868 & 1902
►2nd Hague Convention 1907
►UN Charter Art. 2(4) & Art. 2(7); authorization
of H.I. by Security Council under Ch. VII in
response to emergencies that constitute a
threat to peace & security
H.I. - a post- Cold War dead end ?
• tension between the principle of state
sovereignty and evolving international norms
relating to human rights and the use of force
• Proponents: imperative action in the face of
human rights abuses, over the rights of state
• Opponents: often viewed as a pretext for
military intervention devoid of legal sanction,
selectively deployed and achieving only
ambiguous ends – cf. In particular Third
World criticism, e.g.non-recognition by group
of 77: H.I. a neo-imperialistic tool !
Consequences… if you are an Idealist …
or, respectively, a Liberal Internationalist, or,
respectively, a Liberal Institutionalist…
• Problem: States, particularly in the Third
World, have long seen intervention as a
threat to their sovereignty.
• Humanitarian intervention is regarded as
no different [cf.Myanmar May 2008].
• Interventions have to be about regime
change if they are to have any chance of
accomplishing their stated goal.
• The United Nations, formed in the aftermath of World
War II to promote peace and stability, recognize the
importance of sovereignty…
• Cf. 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."
• The principle 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.
• The Genocide Convention of 1948 also overrode the
nonintervention principle to lay down the commitment
of the world community to prevent and punish – its
application however a Cold War problem… same as the
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights & the 1966
conventions on civil & political, and economic, social,
and cultural rights…
• Rwanda 1994 and Srebrenica 1995 highlight the
complexities of international responses to crimes
The dialectic parallel…
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
fundamental missions of the organisation.
Article 55 states that the UN shall promote and respect
the human rights and basic freedoms, and
subsequent UN initiatives have strengthened these
Humanitarian intervention, as the most assertive form
of promoting human rights at a global level, was and
is clearly incompatible with norms such as nonintervention and state sovereignty.
Solution: change of perspective
• In 2000, the Canadian government and several other
actors announced the establishment of the
International Commission on Intervention and State
Sovereignty (ICISS) – task: to address the challenge
of the international community's responsibility to act
in the face of the gravest of human rights violations
while respecting the sovereignty of states.
• "If the international community is to respond
to this challenge, the whole debate must be
turned on its head. The issue must be
reframed not as an argument about the 'right
to intervene' but about the 'responsibility to
protect.'" (Gareth Evans, Foreign Affairs, 2002)
• Responsibilty instead of control…
Background to conceptual change
• The end of the Cold War
• The massive rise of intrastate conflict, civil
war, and internal violence in the 1990s
• The development of weak & failing states in
the 4th world
• NATO intervention in the Kosovo 1999 –
legitimate, but not legal – without UN S.C.
mandate (fear of Russian veto)
• The development of the concept of human
security stressing limitis to sovereignty
R2P much more than military intervention
– a whole continuum
• The responsibility to prevent: to address both the
root causes and direct causes of internal conflict
and other man-made crises putting populations at
• The responsibility to react: to respond to situations
of com- pelling human need with appropriate
measures, which may include coercive measures
like sanctions, international prosecution, and, in
extreme cases, military intervention;
• The responsibility to rebuild: to provide,
particularly after a military intervention, full
assistance with recovery, reconstruction, and
reconciliation, addressing the causes of the harm
the intervention was designed to halt or avert.
…but the main point still is…
…the question of military action remains, for
better or worse, the most prominent and
controversial one in the debate.
Whatever else it encompasses, the responsibility to protect implies above all else
a responsibility to react - where necessary,
coercively, and in extreme cases, with
military coercion - to situations of compelling
need for human protection.
(Evans 2006, 709)
R2P – the question of legitimacy
ICISS identified five criteria of legitimacy to be
applied by the Security Council to any
(1) Just Cause: Is there “serious and irreparable harm
occurring to human beings, or imminently likely to
occur, of the following kind:
A. Large-scale loss of life, actual or apprehended, with
genocidal intent or not, which is the product either of
deliberate state action or state neglect, inability to
act, or a failed-state situation; or
B. Large-scale ethnic cleansing, actual or apprehended, whether carried out by killing, forced expulsion,
acts of terror, or rape.”
R2P legitimacy (2)
Intention: Is the primary purpose of the
proposed military action to halt or avert
human suffering, whatever other motives
may be in play?
(3) Last Resort: Has every non-military option
for the prevention or peaceful resolution of
the crisis been explored, and are there
reasonable grounds for believing lesser
measures will not succeed?
(4) Proportional Means: Is the scale, duration,
and intensity of the planned military action
the minimum necessary to secure the
defined human protection objective?
R2P legitimacy (3)
(5) Reasonable Prospects: Is there a reasonable chance of the military action being
successful in meeting the threat in question,
and are the consequences of action not likely
to be worse than the consequences of inaction?
Problem: These criteria answer the
legitimacy question, but not the legality
one – what if H.I. is regarded as legitimate, but not consented to by the
Security Council ?
R2P – a continuing story…
Report by the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges,
and Change, December 2004 [ A more secure world:
Our shared responsibility]
Resolution by the 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
necessary means. We accept that responsibility and
will act in accordance with it…“
R2P accepted into customary international law
A funny thing happened on the way to the
R2P – resurgence of the classical
Just War doctrine in modern guise ??
If that is indeed the case,
will it spell evil for R2P‘s acceptance
In the non-Christian world ?
Just War Concept
ius ad bellum
** iustus finis
** causa iusta
** legitima auctoritas
Judged by Politics
Just War criteria I
• Just cause
– The reason for going to war needs to be just and cannot
therefore be solely for recapturing things taken or
punishing people who have done wrong; innocent life must
be in imminent danger and intervention must be to protect
life. "Force may be used only to correct a grave, public
evil, i.e., aggression or massive violation of the basic
human rights of whole populations."
• Comparative justice
– While there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a
conflict, to overcome the presumption against the use of
force, the injustice suffered by one party must significantly
outweigh that suffered by the other..
• Legitimate authority
– Only duly constituted public authorities may wage war.
Just War criteria II
• Right intention
– Force may be used only in a truly just cause and solely for that
purpose—correcting a suffered wrong is considered a right
intention, while material gain or maintaining economies is not.
• Probability of success
– Arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate
measures are required to achieve success;
• Last resort
– Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives
have been seriously tried and exhausted or are clearly not
practical. It may be clear that the other side is using negotiations
as a delaying tactic and will not make meaningful concessions.
– The anticipated benefits of waging a war must be proportionate to
its expected evils or harms.
Open problems… political
• Have humanitarian interventions to be about
regime change if they are to have any chance
of accomplishing their stated goal ??
• Should the international community develop,
parallel to R2P doctrine, the concept of an
obligation to accept help ??
• Would it be advisable to regionalize the
production of security and make the regions
– under the general umbrella of the UN –
primarily responsible for good humanitarian
Open problems …technical
► centralization or decentralization of
the provision of humanitarian intervention/assistance ?
► a humanitarian assistance general
staff for the United Nations ?
► and finally „Wer soll dat bezahlen, wer
hätt dat bestellt, wer hätt esu viell pinke
pinke, wer hätt esu viell jeld“ (Willy
Thanx for listening