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Does humanitarian intervention work?
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Diplomatic and economic intervention is more practical

Through sanctioning and diplomacy, foreign powers are better positioned to limit the military and economic investment in a conflict. Diplomacy avoids the protraction that war can create.
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The Argument

Military intervention can be incredibly costly. Even when a nation has committed to preserving international human rights, there is no denying that starting a conflict with a foreign power can come at a massive human and economic cost. To take action but not make problems worse, a humanitarian intervention policy should focus on diplomacy. Through focusing on diplomatic action rather than military action, concerned nations can create diplomatic punishments for violators of human rights conventions.[1] For example, South Africa was successfully sanctioned to end apartheid.[2] Due to diplomatic sanctions and international scrutiny, the African country ended its practice of racist segregation. Diplomatic maneuvers like in South Africa prevent prolonged conflict in the domestic politics of a country. Still, they aim to preserve the fundamental humanitarian ideals that have emerged since the First and Second World Wars. South Africa's government might have taken more violent action if it did not have the eyes of the world on their dispute. DIplomacy may not seem like enough action to stop atrocities abroad, but sometimes it may be the most practical and effective option.

Counter arguments

Diplomacy and economic sanctions have their place, but often they are not enough to stop injustice. Usually, it acts as little hindrance to the atrocities perpetrated. The UN pushed Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013. Despite agreeing to do so, the nation has continued to use biological warfare in its bloody civil war.[3] Syria only postured to the demands of the international community, but did not maintain their commitment. We must grapple with the fact that military intervention is often the only means to stop brutal regimes. The UN attempted more hands-off approaches in the cases of Bosnia and Rwanda, but it came at a massive cost.



[P1] All-out war is too costly an option for humanitarian intervention. [P2] Sanctioning and diplomacy have proven effective tools to stop cruelty abroad. [C] While the effects may not be as clear, diplomacy presents a safer and more practical option of intervention.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] War is often the only option to stop evil regimes, such as in World War II. [Rejecting P2] Syria was sanctioned and punished for its use of chemical weapons, but has continued to use them since.


This page was last edited on Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 at 15:35 UTC