State sovereignty discourse and the just war tradition : assessing Colombia's 2008 cross-border raid into Ecuador and its foreign policy implications
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In March 2008, under the code name “Operation Phoenix”, the Colombian military attacked the base camp of a section of the left-wing guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), located just across the border in Ecuadorian territory. The guerrilla base was stationed inside Ecuador to carry out activities inside Colombia, retreat and thus avoid Colombian troops. However, the attack by the Colombian military was not sanctioned by the Ecuadorian government, which prompted a diplomatic crisis in the region. This kind of limited military intervention remains a topical area of study as national militaries continue to battle armed, non-state actors around the world. This thesis seeks to determine under what circumstances, if any, a nation-state such as Colombia is morally justified in violating the sovereignty of another country. The study is conducted through the lens of state-sovereignty discourse and Just War Theory. It evaluates the foreign policy implications of military interventions like Operation Phoenix. The thesis seeks to address a gap in the existing literature by explicitly addressing Colombia’s modern foreign policy from an ethical perspective.
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