Ethics and Intervention: The U.S. in Grenada, 1983 (Case Study #2)


This case study examines the ethical issues raised by armed intervention in the context of the U.S. intervention in Grenada in 1983. It considers the non-intervention principle with respect to Grenada and raises questions about the ethical issues at the heart of efforts to justify or place limits on armed intervention.

The conclusion reached is that strong arguments against foreign intervention can be derived from the traditional principle of non-intervention, which international lawyers and many others regard as a pillar of international order. Such arguments are reinforced by doubts about the effectiveness and legitimacy of armed force as a remedy for international disputes. At the same time, however, the development of common standards of human rights and democratic values provides a normative basis for intervention that is not always consistent with arguments generated by the logic of the international system.

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