Debates about military intervention, humanitarian or otherwise, typically involve two poles: the legality of intervention in relation to international law and the feasibility of those interventions. Legality is typically understood as specified by Chapter I (Article 2) and Chapter VII (Article 51) of the UN Charter, which firmly defend the sovereign equality for all member states, while sanctioning war only in the case self-defence and threats to international peace and security, respectively.
Feasibility is taken here as the capacity to resolve such breaches and/or restore a sustainable peace. Prima facie it seems a straightforward term to grasp but it raises many complex considerations. Feasibility is always about judging the required means to achieve a particular end – the protection of civilians, the eradication of a despotic regime, providing relief to populations under severe threat.
There is another range of issues that needs consideration. These centre on the concept of legitimacy, where questions are inevitably raised by the limited nature of legal argument. What is considered legal in some instances, may not be considered legitimate, and vice versa.
Taken together, all of this suggests a three dimensional inquiry into the nature of intervention. A range of possible arguments is plausible as a response to these issues. This e-book brings together a group of world-class academics and practitioners to comment on and debate these issues.
The authors of this e-book probe and explore interventions from these angles in a unique collection of essays.