Interventionism From the Perspective Case Study

Pages: 44 (13409 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 40  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel

These studies serve as the foundation for this present analysis.

Other studies have shown that foreign military intervention can easily be conducted even if they are in violation of the United Nations charter and lack authorization of the Security Council (Cassese 1999). This shows that countries can and do act on their own in engaging in interventionism. The motives for doing so are what this study plans to investigate.

A number of Western countries support humanitarian interventionism but they have not yet intervened in Syria. The reality behind humanitarian interventionism is that there are clear political, geopolitical, and economical consequences to every foreign intervention. Intervention is not merely a humanitarian crusade but rather a highly explosive affair that can cripple countries' infrastructures and have global ramifications in terms of economic trade, political discourse, and geopolitical variables. There are states' national interests to be considered, which dictate against humanitarian intervention.

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First, there is political interest to be considered: of great importance to the West is Israel's position in the region as well as the U.S.'s concern to secure its borders; Kerry cites the importance of halting Syria's "use" of chemical weapons as an example to the rest of the world; Bachmann, in the 2012 Republican primary debates cited Israel as "our greatest ally" in spite of the fact that the U.S. And Israel have no formal treaty with one another. Yet Israel receives billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid each year and as Israelis reportedly scramble for gas masks (fearing a chemical assault by Assad on their country), the rhetoric of U.S. politicians grows ever more inflammatory.

Case Study on Interventionism From the Perspective of Assignment

Second, there is economical interest: gas and oil fields and pipelines as well as influence in countries' banking affairs are valuable economic variables that play a tremendous part in interventionism (Dawson 2012; Escobar 2011). Protecting stability or initiating destabilizing factors in countries are issues of economic interest (Escobar 2011; Perkins 2004). The Central Intelligence Agency has undertaken a considerable number of operations designed to achieve destabilization (Weiner 2008).

Thirdly, geopolitical interests must be considered: these overlap the economical and political interests but include the operations of international law, topography, geography, history, international alliances, and more.

Fourthly, the recently established Responsibility to Protect doctrine is an area of interest: For instance, is the doctrine meant only to protect civilians or does it go beyond this and apply to economical or political interests? Does the doctrine apply to geopolitical interests of Western states? Does it invite interpretation?

Research Questions

This will be a case study based on a qualitative assessment of literature reviews regarding Western interventionism, its history, its facility, and its present relation to Libya and Syria.

The research questions are two-fold for each case study:


1) Why did the NATO states not intervene in Syria until now -- even though there has been a strong case for humanitarian intervention (evidence of mass killing, forced immigration, genocide) in the past?

a. Political reasons

b. Geopolitical reasons

c. Economical reasons

2) How strong is the evidence for atrocities committed by the Assad regime?

a. What is the evidence?

b. What is the counter-argument?


1) Why did the NATO states intervene in Libya?

a. Political reasons

b. Geopolitical reasons

c. Economical reasons

2) How strong was the case for humanitarian (military) intervention?

a. What was the evidence?

b. What were the counter-arguments?

Furthermore, this study hopes to answer such questions as what are the common national interests of the Western States -- from a) a historical perspective, b) a political perspective, c) a geopolitical perspective, and d) an economic perspective. An understanding of states' national interests will help to inform readers of how national interests affect states' policies regarding foreign intervention. An analysis of the tangible effects of their interests on interventionism, if any, may be gleaned from the literature review, as well as the intangible effects.

Significance of the study

The potential value of the study is found in the idea that proponents of foreign intervention could benefit from a more realistic interpretation of intervention -- one that is not colored by the gloss of idealistic "humanitarian" mission statements. It may be beneficial to the field of political, geopolitical, and economical/financial study. Military intervention has ramifications across a broad swath of society -- from financial sectors to socio-political sectors, affecting everyone from members of humanitarian watchdog groups to persons of cultural and/or religious organizations. A more realistic understanding of interventionism will help many levels of society to discern whether support for such intervention should be given or withheld in the future.

Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined by the researcher except where citations are given.

Humanitarian Aid -- This study views humanitarian aid as a material or managerial assistance supplied by outsider parties in response to man-made disasters (governmental tyranny) in foreign countries. Essential to the idea of humanitarian aid is the ability to implement aid and to develop a structure that may be sustained independently of the assistor. Humanitarian aid is not to be considered equivalent to humanitarian occupation or to regime change, overthrow, or regional destabilization. That such effects tend to accompany humanitarian intervention in Libya, for instance, raises the question of whether humanitarian aid is what was delivered.

Idealism -- a view in which abstract principles, such as humanitarianism, peace, prosperity, etc., are judged to have a preponderant weight over practical/sensory conditions. Idealism characterizes the language adopted by the forward-looking UN. It is a language that situates the UN Charter in an attitude of what-could-be rather than what-is. It relies on the adherence of member states to an ideal, but in effect has no way of ensuring this adherence. It must trust to faith, hope, and charity in a world where such ideals and virtues are by no means exceedingly popular, historically speaking,

Interventionism -- the policy of one country intervening in another country's affairs on the grounds of establishing a new order, whether conducive to peace and prosperity or to states' own national interests.

Legality -- International law is not binding without an international court, and an international court is only as effective as those who can enforce its decisions are strong. Thus legality is an unclear idea, at least in terms of the focus of this study. For instance, the UK has stated that an attack on Syria would be legal (even without UN authorization) according to humanitarian doctrine (Katz 2013). The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine is a 2005 UN initiative which outlines the 3 conditions of legal intervention. Those conditions are:

a) A state is responsible for protecting its populace from crimes against humanity.

b) The international community is responsible for helping the state to protect its populace from such crimes.

c) If the state fails to embrace its responsibility, the international community may intervene by using "coercive measures such as economic sanctions" -- with military intervention being utilized if all other coercive measures fail (Badescou 2010:110).

However, R2P is not a law but rather a peremptory norm -- though it has been argued that it has a basis in international law (Hehir, Cunliffe 2011:84-100).

National Interest -- a realistic set of political, economical, military, and social goals of a state, which are not based on moral "ideals" and do not depend on the contribution or adherence of other states to an "ideal." The national interest is that which promotes the objectives of the State; it is inherently self-serving, founded on the principles of Niccolo Machiavelli.

Realism -- the language utilized by proponents of the national interest, it is a perspective that looks at the here-and-now in order to address the question of what-needs-to-be-done. In doing so, it does not consider such ideals as "hope" as essential to its outlook. It does not "hope" what one might do, but asserts a vision of what one is "likely" to do based on historical analysis, an understanding of human nature, an understanding of contextual situations, etc. It is diametrically opposed to the perspective of idealism in that it undercuts the possibility of embracing the selfless principles which idealists promote (such as self-sacrifice, hope, charity, etc.) by embracing self-serving principles, which are perceived to benefit the State first and foremost. In realist politics, the State matters first, people matter second (and only matter in so far as they serve the State).

Success -- Success is a troubling term because it is often used in various ways and takes on varying meanings. Unless the terms of success are clearly outlined, it is useless to say that a mission has been "successful" -- for one camp is bound to ask, "Successful in what way?" Spring (2003) argued that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a "success" because the "statue of Saddam Hussein" fell, WMDs were "eliminated" (an unsubstantiated claim), "terrorists" were "driven out" (an unsubstantiated claim), and oil fields were secured. Also noted by Spring was the "humanitarian relief" that the operation brought to Iraqis (another unsubstantiated claim). Nonetheless, all of this meant… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Interventionism From the Perspective.  (2013, August 31).  Retrieved July 7, 2020, from

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"Interventionism From the Perspective."  August 31, 2013.  Accessed July 7, 2020.