Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Human rights and war are antithetical


Al-Jazeera America had a good essay on so-called military hawks for human rights. I was once a proponent of humanitarian-based military intervention until I realized its fundamental flaw. Its premised upon a scenario that never actually happen in reality. 

Human rights groups may want action based on moral principles but countries always and only act in self-interest. The fact that countries act in this sort of amoral fashion is not inherently bad but it also means that the utopian principle on which humanitarian intervention is based does not happen. Liberal hawks may say, "Who cares about an impure motive if it causes a moral result?" The problem is that the impure motive makes the moral result far less likely to occur and, in many cases, may even result in a bloodshed and destruction worse than what was there before - a 'cure that's worse than the disease' scenario.

Once countries launch military interventions based on self-interest, it affects both how they act and how their actions (and thus perceived motives) are received by the domestic populations. When their motives are questioned, this compromises a 'humanitarian intervention's' chances of achieving even the self-interested goals, let alone the moral ones.

An impartial United Nations' army would be the only chance for the humanitarian intervention principle to be successfully achieved, but such an international army will never be formed in the real world.

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