Humanitarian Collective Security: Restoring Order?

Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
GLOBAL NETWORKS A JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL AFFAIRS, 2013, 13 (3), pp. 345 - 362
Issue Date:
2013-01
Full metadata record
Files in This Item:
Filename Description Size
Thumbnail2012005111OK.pdf265.07 kB
Adobe PDF
In 2005, the United Nations reinterpreted its charter to facilitate humanitarian intervention, defining military action to prevent serious human rights abuses as a legitimate means of maintaining international peace and security. Under circumstances of `genocide, ethnic cleansing and other such crimes against humanity, states have a `responsibility to protect the victims and, if required, to use military means to do so. This new state responsibility is a response to new asymmetries in the exercise of sovereign power worldwide. In theory, it imposes new conditions on the exercise of state sovereignty that extend the principle of collective security beyond states to include all people. In practice, it gives those with the capacity to intervene, namely the dominant powers, the responsibility to intervene in the affairs of weaker `failing states. In this article, I use official texts to explore this new humanitarian collective security. Drawing on a range of accounts, including the Australian experience of intervention in East Timor, I argue that the grounds for humanitarian intervention lie as much in the defence of order as in the pursuit of justice. Dominant states assert their shared vulnerability and justify intervention as pre-empting presumed threats; they thus recruit humanitarianism for state security. Humanitarianism, however, is not so easily contained. As military practice collides with normative rhetoric, deep contradictions emerge between order and justice. Normative claims implode and spill over, feeding alternative humanitarianisms founded on mutuality and solidarity. The disordering orderjustice dialectic can thereby prefigure reorderings beyond hegemonism.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: