Why Intervention Is A Fundamental Principle Of Sovereignty

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It is evident that the question of whether the intervention is a universal common right is not in fact a recent topic for discussion. Stowell (1939) reports the possibility of intervention using force, contrary to the principle of sovereignty: “According to the generally accepted doctrine of international law, no state has a right to interfere in the internal affair of a sister state, and the application is pushed so far as to forbid any attempt to check brutality and inhumane treatment in another state of that state’s own nationals. Yet this doctrine, alleged to be a fundamental principle of international law, fails by the test that it does not tend to keep the peace” (p. 733-734). Stowell goes on, advocating the reasons why intervention…show more content…
One of our iconic realist presidents—Theodore Roosevelt, in the 1904 State of the Union Address, declared that the United States must be prepared to militarily intervene in the affairs of sovereign states in situations wherein it is justified by virtue of halting mass atrocities, limited only by having the will and the strength of arms to do so (Bass, 2008). In contract, Desch (2001) offers the conservative realist positions that affect the decision making process regarding humanitarian intervention for the purpose of safeguarding human rights; that war is legitimate only when used in conjunction with national interest, that individual human rights are superseded by the rights of the community, and that human interaction will always contain elements of conflict. Therefore, it is better to respect the international laws which in turn reduce the need for “constant vigilance” to safeguard national security. In the liberal point of view, however, a major purpose of the state’s existence is to “protect and secure human rights” (Tesón, 2003, p. 93). Desch (2001) argues that individual rights trump national interest, that norms are more important than power, and that military force should only be used in the pursuit of altruistic objectives.
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