Should States Ever Interfere in the Affairs of Other States?

1602 WordsMar 20, 20117 Pages
Is the intervention of one state in the affairs of another ever justified? Do states have a moral duty or a legal right to interfere? Where is the line drawn? This essay will observe some of the answers to these and other questions surrounding the interference of one state in the affairs of others. It will also distinguish between interference and intervention and consider the conflict between these issues and sovereignty. Furthermore, it will examine different types of intervention and pro- and anti-intervention arguments to try to determine whether states are ever justified in interfering in the affairs of other states. The Westphalian Constitution of world politics based on the peace treaty of Westphalia in 1648 formed the foundation…show more content…
Secondly, it could justify the use of force for humanitarian reasons to eventually bring about peace for all nations, as Barack Obama recently advocated . Furthermore, when in other states, risking the lives of the armed forces for principally humanitarian reasons is controversial as it violates the compact between state and citizen. According to Samuel Huntingdon, for example, “it is morally unjustifiable and politically indefensible that members of the US armed forces should be killed to prevent Somalis from killing each other” . Humanitarian intervention is often seen as positive and compassionate rather than an aggressive intervention based on the self-interest of the intervening state, as it aims to protect human rights from grave violations, therefore it is seen as an exception to the general belief that a state shouldn’t interfere in the affairs of another state. However, it still compromises the sovereignty of the state being interfered in. Moreover, it is impossible to ensure that states will intervene solely for humanitarian reasons. Many would argue that any act of intervention or interference, whatever the motive, is determined by the interests of the powerful states initiating it. The reality of power politics is that only the powerful can intervene, and only the weak can be subject to intervention. In practice, for example, there would be no chance that China, the USA or
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