State Building Interventions

State Building Interventions

State Building Interventions in Post Cold War Period: A Critique of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and ‘Humanitarianism’

Shahida Aman

Abstract

This paper explores the concepts of humanitarianism and responsibility to protect, which have most influentially guided state building interventions in the post Cold War period. With more than fifty states intervened in the guise of ‘responsibility to protect,’ this paper attempts to analyze why interventionist state building has developed as a major concern for the international state system. It further delves into the impacts of such interventionist rationale on the nature and functioning of the international state system. This paper argues the rise of sovereignty as responsibility and humanitarianism challenged the inviolable sovereignty of states by making it conditional on the government’s exercise of monopoly over violence within its territory and extension of protection to its citizens against war, crimes, violence and bloodshed. It acted as a prelude to intervention in many cases, however, it has also come under criticism for lack of legal grounds, no universal applicability, strategic contestation by major powers, pro-active support for intervention harming the pacifist nature of humanitarianism and for intervention being a militarily imperial exercise. The paper further argues that the selective application of the principle of human security and non-intervention by major powers in crucial conflicts makes the moral ground of this principle very dubious. It also highlights that in post 9/11 period, the mixed successes of these concepts in practice, resulting form a large number of political, institutional and operational challenges, underlie the need to use non-military diplomatic, political and economic means for conflict resolution.

Key words: Conflict societies, interventionism, Responsibility to Protect, State-building.

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