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Ethics and HumanityThemes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Glover$
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N. Ann Davis, Richard Keshen, and Jeff McMahan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195325195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325195.001.0001

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Humanitarian Intervention, Consent, and Proportionality

Humanitarian Intervention, Consent, and Proportionality

Chapter:
(p.44) 3 Humanitarian Intervention, Consent, and Proportionality
Source:
Ethics and Humanity
Author(s):

Jeff McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325195.003.0003

One of the central issues raised by Jonathan Glover's study of atrocities in the twentieth century is when it can be permissible, or indeed obligatory, to use military force to stop or to prevent such atrocities. This chapter argues that some of the traditional objections to humanitarian intervention are misguided — particularly those that treat national self‐determination or state sovereignty as a decisive barrier to the permissibility of intervention. It does, however, defend a “requirement of consent,” according to which the ostensible beneficiaries of humanitarian intervention should have a veto authority with respect to intervention on their behalf. It also argues for the surprising and perhaps paradoxical claim that the proportionality constraint on causing unintended but foreseen harm may be weaker in its application to harms inflicted on the intended beneficiaries of humanitarian intervention than it is in it application to harms inflicted on other innocent people in war.

Keywords:   consent, humanitarian intervention, Iraq war, Kosovo war, national self‐determination, proportionality, Rwanda genocide, sovereignty, Michael Walzer

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