Ethics & International Affairs Volume 11 (1997): The Politics of Rescue: The Politics of Rescue: Yugoslavia's Wars and the Humanitarian Impulse [Abstract]

Dec 4, 1997

Pasic and Weiss examine the limitations and the ethical dilemmas of the humanitarian impulse in light of the recent surge in humanitarian intervention. The authors use the experience of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the former Yugoslavia as an example of the way in which politics and humanitarianism are inextricably intertwined. They describe a spectrum of intervention, from rescue to restorative to revolutionary efforts. Rescue efforts often fail to address the underlying political problems, but for a rescuing nation to commit to"revolutionary" intervention and sustained support raises the issue of state sovereignty. Asserting that humanitarian intervention is a highly ambiguous principle, the authors warn of the dangers of politically driven rescues that often force trade-offs between the pursuit of rescue and political order.

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