Burying humanitarian intervention
in The Norman Geras Reader
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An article by Mark Mazower for the journal World Affairs characterizes the concept of humanitarian intervention as 'dying if not dead'. Mazower's approval of the demise of humanitarian interventionism has been made explicit. There's a 'new realism', he says, that is welcome; again, the 'new maturity in international relations' is to be viewed positively. Since it is an elementary truth that an intervention that fails or makes things worse will not effect a rescue of those in need of one, accounts of the principle of humanitarian intervention invariably emphasize that unless there is a good prospect of success, intervention cannot be justified. But Mazower writes as if part of the new and welcome 'pragmatism', 'realism', 'maturity', is the wisdom 'that without willing the means, intervention leads to political and moral failure'.

The Norman Geras Reader

‘What’s there is there’

Editors: Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard


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