Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention

TitleConstructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsFinnemore, Martha
EditorKatzenstein, Peter J.
Book TitleThe Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics
PublisherColumbia University Press
CityNew York

Since the end of the Cold War, states have increasingly come under pressure to intervene militarily and, in fact, have intervened militarily to protect citizens other than their own from humanitarian disasters. Recent efforts to enforce protected areas for Kurds and no-fly zones over Shiites in Iraq, efforts to alleviate starvation and establish some kind of political order in Somalia, the huge UN military effort to disarm parties and rebuild a state in Cambodia, and to some extent even the military actions to bring humanitarian relief in Bosnia are all instances of military action whose primary goal is not territorial or strategic but humanitarian. This essay examines the role of humanitarian norms in shaping patterns of humanitarian military intervention over the past 150 years.

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