Debating Humanitarian Intervention: Should We Try to Save Strangers?

ISBN : 9780190202910

Fernando Teson; Bas Van Der Vossen
288 ページ
142 x 210 mm

When foreign powers attack civilians, other countries face an impossible dilemma. Two courses of action emerge: either to retaliate against an abusive government on behalf of its victims, or to remain spectators. Either course offers its own perils: the former, lost lives and resources without certainty of restoring peace or preventing worse problems from proliferating; the latter, cold spectatorship that leaves a country at the mercy of corrupt rulers or to revolution. Philosophers Fernando Teson and Bas van der Vossen offer contrasting views of humanitarian intervention, defining it as either war aimed at ending tyranny, or as violence. The authors employ the tools of impartial modern analytic philosophy, particularly just war theory, to substantiate their claims. According to Teson, a humanitarian intervention has the same just cause as a justified revolution: ending tyranny. He analyzes the different kinds of just cause and whether or not an intervener may pursue other justified causes. For Teson, the permissibility of humanitarian intervention is almost exclusively determined by the rules of proportionality. Bas van der Vossen, by contrast, holds that military intervention is morally impermissible in almost all cases. Justified interventions, Van der Vossen argues, must have high ex ante chance of success. Analyzing the history and prospects of intervention shows that they almost never do. Teson and van der Vossen refer to concrete cases, and weigh the consequences of continued or future intervention in Syria, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, Lybia and Egypt. By placing two philosophers in dialogue, Debating Humanitarian Intervention is not constrained by a single, unifying solution to the exclusion of all others. Rather, it considers many conceivable actions as judged by analytic philosophy, leaving the reader equipped to make her own, informed judgments.


Introduction; Fernando Teson and Bas van der Vossen; Part I: A defense of humanitarian intervention Fernando Teson; 1. Humanitarian intervention as defense of persons; 2. Just cause in humanitarian intervention; 3. Intervention and revolution: the equivalence thesis; 4. Proportionality in humanitarian intervention; 5. Further issues in humanitarian intervention; APPENDIX: The Iraq war; Part II: Humanitarian non-intervention Bas van der Vossen; 6. A presumption against intervention; 7. Between internal and external threats; 8. Why sovereignty (still) matters; 9. The success condition; 10. Justice ex post or ex ante?; 11. Three structural problems; 12. Looking for exceptions; 13. Humanitarian non-intervention


Fernando R. Teson is the Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar at Florida State University College of Law. He is the author, inter alia, of Justice at a Distance: Extending Freedom Globally (Cambridge University Press, 2015) [with Loren Lomasky] and Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry into Law and Morality , 3rd ed. (Transnational Publishers 2005), and dozens of articles in specialized journals.; Bas van der Vossen is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Smith Institute of Political Economy and Philosophy and the Philosophy Department at Chapman University. His research focuses on questions in political philosophy, and he is an Associate Editor of the journal Social Philosophy and Policy.