Araceli Yalí Noriega Curtis MATS, University of Salford @00329380 Humanitarian Intervention and the English School Over

the last couple of decades, the world has seen a marked increase in concern for issues such as human rights, the environment or democracy. This is manifested not only in the form of international agreements, but also as justifications for actions taken in the global arena. This was indeed the case when George W. Bush announced he was going to intervene in Iraq almost ten years ago. Humanitarian interventions, as they have come to be known, have both informed and been informed by the English School theories of International Relations. At face value, it is hard to argue with the principles of humanitarian intervention. It makes sense, at a very basic level, to try to save other human beings from hardship and suffering. And if to save them we need to use force, so be it. Human lives should certainly take precedence over the rights of states; violating a state's sovereignty in order to protect its citizens is apparently a noble goal. However, if we stop to question our conceptions of what human rights are, or what we mean when we speak of international society, things begin to look differently. In this paper I will look first at the English School and its basic concepts of international system, international society and world society. Then I will tak briefly about the division between pluralists and solidarists, as well as about humanitarian intervention and the mandate of Responsibility to Protect, which would seems like the triumph of solidarism. Then I will address some of the criticisms that have been raised against the English School as the justification for humanitarian intervention operations around the world. There will be some examples to illustrate the points. The main critiques I will dwell on come from the realist theories of International Relations and from postcolonial approaches, although I will touch briefly on some feminist commentary and contributions from international law. The English School has been developed from the second half of the 20th Century onwards. Its main proponents have been English (hence the name) and they are concerned mainly with the development of what they consider international system, international society and world society. An international system refers to the existence of two or more states that might have some interaction but keep primarily to themselves. International society refers to the development of interactions between states, based on shared values, as well as the norms and institutions that spring from them. These

preserve the independence of states and thus order in the international arena and therefore, maintain peace. For states, according to Bull (1977), “war should be waged only for 'just' cause, or a cause the justice of which can be argued in terms of common rules” (18). International society goes beyond a simple international system because it implies norms built upon shared values. Bull exempliefies this with Europe after the fifteenth century, where the foundations of state interaction were Christian in nature. Today, the most important norms of coexistance for states are the respect for sovereignty and non-intervention, although respect for human rights is also becoming a pillar through international mechanisms such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In contrast, world society refers to the individuals living within those states, their interactions and the influence they might have in shaping states and their relations. Human beings have inherent rights, but they still live and act under state sovereignty. Thus, states regulate person to person interactions, but people can influence state policies through organizing around shared interests. Buzan (2004) indicates that this concept contains ideas about states, non-state actors, identity and the transnationalization of ideas in general. English Scholars consider that international and world society are global in scope, believing that “the referent group for universal principles must necessarily be humankind as a whole” (Buzan 2004: 17). Even though it seems that both ideas go hand in hand, there are some conflicts between them. On the one hand, international society gives primacy to states and their preservation; on the other, world society gives more importance to individuals and their relationships and interactions. In fact, world society would appear a threat to international society, as social organizations cross boundaries and seem to erode or even oppose state institutions. This situation has led to an internal debate within the English School, among what are known as the pluralists and the solidarists. The pluralists are those who defend the integrity of states, arguing that international law and institutions should strengthen and enforce the principles of sovereignty and nonintervention. They believe that international law is and should be written by states. Solidarists, on the other hand, maintain that there is only one humanity and international law should translate humanity's values and make them a reality. They want to expand international order, therefore arguing for interventions based on human rights, for example, that could be seen as undermining the sovereignty of states. To state it simply, the pluralist position argues that diversity is best contained in the largest number of independent states, whereas the solidarsits argue in favor of the promotion of human rights over independence and non-intervention. As solidarists argue for intervention when it concerns human rights and other humanitarian issues (such as, perhaps, famine), it is useful to restate its definition. It is interesting to note that most

theorists from the English School – indeed, from any branch of International Relations – fail to provide a definition for it. Much as with the conceptualization of the state system or international anarchy, it is a given. I turn, then, to political philosopher Bhikhu Parekh for a definition of humanitarian intervention. In Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention (1997), Parekh defines both terms. An intervention is the intrusion of one state in the internal affairs of another, against its will, with the purpose of influencing its conduct rather than annexing it. To count as humanitarian, an intervention must be motivated by feelings of humanity and its goal should be to solve a violation of human rights. For Parekh, a humanitarian intervention may not necessarily involve the use of force. He does stress, though, that humanitarian intervention is different from humanitarian aid in that the latter only consists in alleviating suffering but not creating a climate of peace and order. In contrast, Wheeler (2000) considers that the use of force is almost usually the norm and provides four other considerations for an intervention to be considered humanitarian. These are: − there must be a just cause, that is, a supreme humanitarian emergency, where the lives at risk can only be saved by intervention; − the use of force must be only the last resort. This proves difficult because we can never know where is the line that will indicate to us diplomacy has failed, and is compounded with the fact that human rights violations continue while negotiations are taking place; − the use of force must be proportional to the violations, that is, it should not take more lives than it is saving; and − there must be a high probability that the intervention will achieve a positive outcome, that is, that human rights will be restored. In order for solidarists – indeed, for any one – to promote the cause of humanitarian intervention, there needs to exist a basic belief that humanity is founded upon common values. The existence of international organizations, both at inter-state level and among civil societies, reinforces this idea. It can be seen for example, in Amnesty International, where people from all over the world get together to demand that states defend and protect human rights. These organizations also exert pressure on states themselves by demanding the ratification of international treaties and conventions. Thus, states have created institutions such as the Human Rights Council and other UN agencies that provide relief and support to communities around the world. These institutions all stress the idea of a common humanity and strengthen the cause of humanitarian intervention, in that any state could intervene in another with the purpose of saving its population from abuses; of course, to be considered

humanitarian, it must comply with at least some of the characteristics mentioned above. It seems that during the last couple of decades the states, through international institutions such as the United Nations and Doctors without Borders, have normalized and regulated humanitarian intervention. One of the most important normative instruments in this respect is Reponsibility to Protect, which is usually ascribed to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It has two basic principles, which are: A. State sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself. B. Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of nonintervention yields to the international responsibility to protect. (Evans, 2008: 40). We can see here the triumph of solidarism, even if it still uses pluralist or realist terms, such as state sovereignty. But it is very clear that states have a moral, now legal, obligation to protect civilians everywhere. The proponents of the English School are self-critical in that they recognize that the ideas of international society and world society are mostly Western concepts that were then propagated through the process of colonizing the rest of the world. However, once they make this point, they continue developing their theories without further questioning the conceptualizations they are using. Worse still, these theorists will apply the concepts retroactively, as if the world had always been organized in the international society they are proposing. There is some cognitive dissonance between this attitude and their previous acknowledgedment that international society was developed through colonization. In the words of Acharya and Buzan (2010), the English School, particularly the pluralists, “speak for the status quo great powers and the maintenance of their dominant role in the international system/society” (3). In dominating the world, Europe exported and imposed its own ideas about states, order, democracy, human rights, and international society. It is easy to say every nation in the world shares democratic values and has freely agreed to human rights instruments because we share the same civilizational foundations. In this light, therefore, it is not hard to argue that humanitarian interventions, for example, are a way of reinforcing Western values on other societies. Yasuaki (2000) clearly states that there were different ways of relating to the outside world, including conceptions based on Muslim and Chinese worldviews, at the same time as Europe was

developing its own theories of international law. Indeed, international law as we know it is a Eurocentric concept, spread through colonization, under the belief that “what is important to Europe should be important for the world” (24). He goes further to say, after analysing the process of colonization and imposition of European international law, that Europeans began applying their own history to that of the other regions, thus establishing that what they “believed to be universal, ... such as jus naturae and jus gentium, were actually universal” (54). It is important to mention here this criticisms towards international law, because currently humanitarian intervention is regulated by it, mostly through Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, but also through precedents established by the NATO intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, unilateral actions in South East Asia, and most recently, by the mandate of Responsibility to Protect. Another criticism to be made to the English School's advancement of humanitarian intervention is that, even though states might declare to have a humanitarian goal in mind when intervening in another country, they are usually masking other interests. This is the realist critique of the English School, and the realists support it with examples of the selectivity with which Western nations intervene in the global South when there are human rights violations. Copeland (2003) indicates that states should not trust the claims made in diplomatic and humanitarian terms, because the real motives could be hidden behind them. Even when they are not, these motives are subject to change when a new leader rises. For example, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush spoke of humanitarian concerns to defend their intentions of intervening in the Balkans and the Middle East, respectively; however, President Barak Obama has taken the other side of the argument, stating that their humanitarian mission in Iraq and Afghanistan has been accomplished and they can now leave the country. A change in leadership also reorganizes a state's priorities, and this does not make for a long-term commitment, which is exactly what humanitarian interventions need. The pluralist approach of the English School is thus closer to the realist position in that both stress the fact that states will use international law and norms to further their own goals. This means that states manipulate the compassionate ideas of humanitarian intervention in pursuit of the national interest, whatever that might be at that particular moment. Selectivity is where the criticisms made by post-colonial and realist theorists can be combined. It seems that in today's world, most humanitarian interventions are carried out by the West into countries in the global South. Wheeler gives examples that would seem to discredit this position, when he mentions the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia, or Tanzania's in Uganda, both carried out in the 1970s. However, he makes clear that in both instances Western powers were actually opposed to the interventions, even when the regimes they toppled were clearly violent and authoritarian, and that they

were commiting human rights abuses against their own peoples. To be sure, this was three decades ago, but twenty years later, when many authors argue that the doctrine of humanitarian intervention really took wing, Western powers were actually extremely cautious about intervening in places such as Somalia, Rwanda or Bosnia, even when it was apparent that the abuses amounted to genocide or ethnic cleansing. There is really no correlation between the discourse of humanitarian intervention and the actual measures taken, except, maybe, in the case of Iraq. It could be argued that the war on Afghanistan turned into a humanitarian intervention as well, since the US modified its discourse to include human rights, specifically women's rights, as a justification for their prolonged stay in that country. Seeing this behavior by the Western nations, it seems justifiable to conclude that humanitarian intervention is only an excuse to either propagate Western ideologies and worldviews, and/or to protect and advance Western interests around the world. Enforcing values that were imposed on other peoples might not necessarily be a good international policy, particularly when the state that was intervened already has grievances against the methods used by the intervening state or if it questions the process that allowed the intervention. This is related to what has been mentioned above about international law. How can we speak of a common humanity when the parameters we are using were imposed by force on other peoples? If we do not try to understand those different worldviews and try to reach an agreement, international law, and therefore actions such as humanitarian intervention, will be seen as Western impositions. Although we have been working under this logic for almost a century, the growing importance of post-colonial theory means that even institutions that we take for granted and are relatively simple, such as the state system, will be subject to deep questionings. Seeking to build, as the English School seems to do, an international society based only on European principles and values does not make for a very inclusive and indeed, active participation of non-West countries. A good example of this was the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War, which united those nations that agreed neither with the liberal democracies of the West nor with the USSSR and its principles. They sought to find a different path to conduct their affairs, both domestically and in the international arena. It can be argued that they shared values and norms, and thus constituted a smaller international society of their own. This brief example illustrates that finding shared principles among dissimilar states is possible, and that it is not necessary to impose them. I believe that an international society based on dialogue with those countries who are not included in the foundations of European values could create a better international society. As was mentioned above, the main problem realist theorists have with the concept of

humanitarian intervention is that it erodes the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention. Hoffman (1981) makes it very clear that “humanitarian intervention goes, so to speak, above the principle of sovereignty” (p 64). But realists consider that if one state meddles in the affairs of another, even if it is in the name of justice, it will create chaos at the international level, because any other state would be able to claim similar reasons to intervene wherever they want. Order, then, is understood by realists as a balance of power among the states, where no one is more powerful than the others combined. Evidently, if one state can intervene in another and either directly or indirectly control its resources, it would be increasing its power vis-a-vis the other nations. To this, Hoffman would reply (1981) that there is a “connection between the way in which governments treat their own people and the way in which they behave outside” (110). It follows that humanitarian intervention would actually help preserve international order, as it could be used to avoid future acts of aggresion. Indeed, he argues in favor of a consistent international policy of human rights and intervention in terms of morality or ethics, and even of national interest, provided the policy is applied consistently under all circumstances. Consistency is the key, as English School theorists consider that the outcomes of an intervention will determine whether it can be considered humanitarian or not, just as much – or sometimes even more – the motives stated by those who proposed and carried out the operation. In support of the realist argument, it is important to mention that, despite the existence of an international society, it is still states that make the rules, and states that will decide whether to intervene or not in the name of democracy or human rights. It is true that some international organizations will carry out humanitarian aid operations and some states oppose their activities using the same arguments of a violation of sovereignty. However, the main difference is that international organizations usually provide aid without using force, whereas states will intervene militarily to topple or change a government or political process, rather than provide support directly to the people they claim to be helping. Another big problem that I find with the English School promotion of humanitarian intervention is that its theorists always speak about human rights abuses in the 'Third World'. Reading them, one would believe there is a perfect record of promoting and defending human rights in the West. Of course, this is not the case. One need only review the yearly report published by Amnesty International to notice that human rights are also abused in Europe and North America. There are abuses against, inter alia, immigrant peoples, women, indigenous populations, and minorities. In fact, some states in the United States still practice the death penalty, the extreme negation of the most basic human right. However, we do not see theorists or practitioners advocating for a humanitarian intervention into those

countres on the grounds that they are violating human rights. Furthermore, Hoffman, always writing in 1981, argues in favor of an “universal criminal jurisdiction against violators of ... rights” (129). We now have the International Criminal Court, but while this came to be established, he proposed that courts in any country follow the example of United States courts. Never does he mention any example of successful defense of human rights in the socalled Third World countries, despite the fact that it was Tanzania who toppled Uganda's Idi Amin, without any help from the West. There is also the issue that the English School postulates of international society are hierarchical. This can be seen in the theorists's use of terms such as 'Third World', and their general disdain towards these countries, expressed in their insistance that they are the only ones violating human rights and therefore it is justifiable, and even moral to intervene in their affairs. It is apparent that in the view of English scholars, Western countries are superior to every other region. Of course this is not made explicit in any of their writings, but the point does come across. Reus-Smit (2005) quotes Richard Price as stating that 'the production of discourses is a form of power, as it constructs categories that themselves make a cluster of practices and understandings seem illegitimate or even inconceivable. This disciplinary power defines what is normal and natural and what is unthinkable and reprehensible' (1997: 9) (p85). In writing as if some countries are superior to others, English School theorists provide justifications for politicians that their practices are legitimate and those of others are reprehensible. Put differently, despite the fact that English School proponents recognize the West-centrism of their position, they still adamantly defend ideas such as human rights and international law as universal, and therefore intervention based on them as justifiable. English School theorists recognize that humanitarian intervention will definitely have costs, both for the intervenor and the intervened states, including the possibility of loss of life. Brown (2002) acknowledged that “humanitarian intervention is an act of power; it involves taking sides, choosing which of the various parties to support and enforcing one's choice by superior strength” (153). However, these scholars believe that this is a risk that should be incurred, as the cost of letting a government violate the human rights of its citizens is much higher. Of course they argue in favor of prudence and analysis of costs when a country is planning a humanitarian intervention, but in the end they advocate action. This means that Western countries get to decide which lives are valuable and which people are worthy of respect. Nardin (2005) states quite clearly that “[t]o wrong others in pursuing good ends is to violate the fundamental principle of respect” (p253). This might seem a contradiction, to argue that states should violate respect and put aside the very foundations of international order they have always upheld, and yet, English School theorists insist that doing so in the

name of other human beings is morally justified. The language used to justify humanitarian intervention usually masks more complex realities. For example, saying 'we' need to liberate Muslim women from oppression implies that all Muslim women are oppressed by all Muslim men, when this might not be the case. It also erases the efforts conducted by Muslim women themselves to change their own circumstances, and the fact that there are different kinds of oppression. Many Muslim feminists have made this point on several occasions, reaching wider audiences through blogs and social media. Indeed, as Leila Ahmed (1992) made clear, “the ideas of Western feminists essentially functioned to morally justify the attack on native societies and to support the notion of the comprehensive superiority of Europe” (154). The 'we' is also problematic, as it is never clear who is meant by it. Civil society in the West? Politicians? Activists? The general population? Personally, I have always supported the idea of humanitarianism in its different forms: universal human rights, humanitarian aid and humanitarian intervention. However, I now recognize it is highly problematic, and not only because it supposedly undermines the sovereigny of states. In fact, I would consider that concern as the least worrisome. More preoccupying is the fact that the concept of humanitarian intervention is based on a worldview that was imposed by Europe and later by North America on the rest of the world, without integrating the perspectives and beliefs of other national groups. Perhaps it is now too late to do so, considering that these ideas have taken hold of almost everybody. However, we must still look into the fact that humanitarian interventions are mostly carried out by Western countries in (or against?) non-Western countries, and never the other way around. It certainly seems that all appeals directed towards the 'international community' are in fact directed towards Western public opinion. The very term 'international' masks the problem, as apparently it includes every nation in the world. One does not have to dig deep, however, to understand this is not really the case. In this respect, the mandate of Responsibility to Protect seems like a good step to regulate humanitarian interventions from a position that is truly universal. It has been negotiated with international organizations from around the world, as well as state representatives. Despite the difficulties associated with United Nations debates and mandates, the organization should have the last word when deciding upon an intervention. Otherwise, these procedures will continue to be seen as a form of neo-colonization attempted by the West. At the same time, regional organizations could and should play a bigger role when determining when a humanitarian intervention is an adequate response to a situation. For example, the African Union could have declared a humanitarian emergency in Darfur at the beginning of this century, and perhaps the conflict could have been curtailed and civilians saved.

Instead, they stalled and sent a humanitarian mission that was insufficient and defense-oriented. We have seen it changed nothing for Darfuris. In conclusion, the English School does seem to provide sufficient basis to justify humanitarian interventions around the world. They argue in favor of ethical principles and human rights, which have been agreed upon by all UN member states. However, and as noted above, there are several problems with the conceptualizations, both from a historical perspective and from the point of view of International Relations. Major concerns include that humanitarian interventions strengthen the West's ideological hold on the rest of the world, that they violate the principles of state sovereignty and nonintervention - so far deemed the most important for their survival in an anarchical world -, and that they are used to advance other strategic agendas. Proponents of other theories of international relations all agree that the English School needs to widen its scope and answer those pressing questions, both in academic or theoretical and normative terms. The proponents of the English School would do well to take those concerns more seriously. It is not enough to be aware of them, but they should be addressed. English School theories already provide justifications for violating the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention; rounding up the theories, making them more inclusive and less Western-centric, could mean a broader impact both among politicians and the general public from all countries. Saving lives could be a natural instinct. Making laws that regulate how we go about it should take into account cultural differences in order to be widely accepted. Those who advocate for humanitarian intervention would be wise to take this into account. References Acharya, A. & Buzan, B. (Eds.) (2010). Non-Western International Relations Theory. Perspectives On and Beyond Asia. London: Routledge. Ahmed, L. (1992). Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press. Bellamy, A.J. (2003). Humanitarian responsibilities and interventionist claims in international society. Review of International Studies. 29. pp. 321-340. doi: 10.1017/S0260210503003218 Booth, K. & Smith, S. (Eds.) (1995). International Relations Theory Today. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Brown, C. (2002). Sovereignty, Rights and Justice. International Political Theory Today. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Bull, H. (1977). The Anarchical Society. A Study of Order in World Politics. [3rd Edition]. New York, New York: Palgrave. Buzan, B. (2004). From International to World Society? English School Theory and the Social Structure of Globalisation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Universty Press. Copeland, D.C. (2003). A Realist Critique of the English School. Review of International Studies. 29. pp. 427-221. doi: 10.1017/S0260120503004273

Evans, G.J. (2008). The Responsibility to Protect: ending mass atrocity crimes once and for all. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. Hoffman, S. (1981). Duties Beyond Borders. On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. Little, R. (2003). The English School vs. American Realism: a meeting of minds or divided by a common language? Review of International Studies. 29. pp. 443-460. doi: 10.1017/S0260210503004431 Nardin, T. (2005). Justice and Coertion. In Bellamy, A.J. (Ed.) (2005). International Society and its Critics. pp. 247-264. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Neumann, I.B. (2001). The English School and the practices of world society. Review of International Studies. 27. pp. 503-507. Parekh, B. (1997) Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention. International Political Science Review. 18/1. pp. 49-69. URL: Ralph, J. (2005). International society, the International Criminal Court and American foreign policy. Review of International Studies. 31. pp. 27-44. doi: 10.1017/S0260120505006285 Reus-Smit, C. (2005). The Constructivist Challenge after September 11. In Bellamy, A.J. (Ed.) (2005). International Society and its Critics. pp. 81-96. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Wheeler, N.J. (2002). Saving Strangers. Humanitarian Intervention in International Society. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Yasuaki, O. (2000). When Was the Law of International Society Born? - An Inquiry into the History of International Law from an Intercivilizational Perspective. Journal of the History of International Law. 2. pp. 1-66.