Most wars involve land interests. The idea of war as a rescue of people in danger of a humanitarian catastrophe might seem noble. However, what are the criteria that allow one nation to interfere with another hiding behind the idea to help?
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In the middle of the Kosovo conflict, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair suggested a set of principles known as “Blair Doctrine.” They were aimed to explain the reasons for military intervention into a country when its citizens are in crisis. Still, the violence should not be justified by noble intentions. Hence, the principal aim of this research is to observe the morality of the Blair Doctrine and its reflections in various studies.
It is qualitative research. It is based on the analysis of books, scholarly articles, and other publications connected with war reflections. The literature investigation is intended to reveal the morality of the Blair Doctrine and its judgment.
Literature review and its results
The Morality of the Blair Doctrine
The matter of morality is strong about the Blair Doctrine. Based on the concept of “just war,” it is intended to protect the people who face the threat of, for example, genocide or ethnic cleansing (Sloboda and Abbott par. 4). Blair suggested answering five questions before starting the intervention. They are aimed at the justification of the invasion.
In fact, when the answer to all the questions is positive, the actions might be considered morally acceptable. Thus, the following issues should be analyzed. Firstly, the leader should be sure of the case (Sloboda and Abbott par. 5).
Secondly, the proof is necessary that all diplomatic variants of conflict solutions have been attempted. Thirdly, the possibility of careful military operations should be considered. Besides, the men in power should be ready for long intervention. Finally, there have to be some national interests involved.
The influence of the Blair Doctrine is traced in some more recent situations. Cardy investigates the possibility of force application in the intervention of Syria (par. 7). The article reflects the liberal interventionism, its successes, and failures. While most pacifists deny the existence of any reasons for military conflicts, people might support the use of armed forces in case their country is in danger.
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The author explains the use of humanitarian or liberal intervention, which means “taking action, up to and including the use of force, when a state is engaged in, or fails to prevent, mass atrocities against its own or other people” (Cardy par. 13). Still, the concludes that the success of such operations is in the number of prevented deaths.
Blair Doctrine and Catholic Just War Theory
Just war theory of the Catholic Church, similarly to the Blair Doctrine, presents criteria that justify war. It contains two concepts. The first deals with the morality of going to war, and the second include moral behavior during the war. The major idea of Just War Theory is that war, although disastrous, maybe a way out in some situations.
The pragmatic justification of deeds is not enough for political leaders. They tend to look for the moral one when it comes to war, as it is more powerful. Moral justifications usually include “the protection of the innocent, questions of justice, prospects of welfare benefits for those directly affected, and evaluation of likely consequences (“Just War” par. 2).
One of the chapters of Introducing Catholic Social Thought by Thompson (210) is dedicated to the issues of war and peace. It presents the overview of Christian’s attitude to the problem and is mainly concentrated on the period of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The considerations of Popes on the World Wars are included there. Besides, special attention is given to the issue of the Cold War, which stimulated the Catholic peace movement. The chapter mentions the ethical considerations of the Church about the nuclear weapon. Finally, the author gets to the modern problem of terrorism. On the whole, the book examines the morality of war and the wish of peace.
Gender and Sexuality in Judging the Blair Doctrine
A book by Altman and Symons is dedicated to queer rights in the context of attacks on queer celebrities. The authors deal with the global vision of homosexuality and the polarization of gender and sexual diversity. It reveals the topic of queer politics and regards the issue of political homophobia (Altman and Symons 32).
Another aspect reflected in the book is the development of queer movement together with the struggle for queer rights in the context of human rights. The theme observed throughout the book is the violence towards the queer people.
Another story of the chase for gay people is the article by Crabapple. She reports on the problems of queer people in Syria (par.6), which she calls “war.” Fortunately, they managed to escape and found shelter in Beirut.
The gender aspect of war is disclosed by Enloe and Puar in chapters of the book Feminism and War: Confronting US Imperialism. Enloe comments on the militarization of mothers, which she considers a complicated matter. Puar pays attention to both feminists and queers. She uses the term “US sexual exceptionalism,” which includes both dissimilarities and superiority of these categories of people.
Any serious decision presupposes a moral dilemma. When it comes to issues involving the lives of thousands of people, the moral pressure is inevitable. On the one hand, the Blair Doctrine was a positive change in world politics. If followed carefully, it could prevent thoughtless interventions.
Its use Kosovo was probably unavoidable. The idea of prevention of ethnic cleansing by NATO armed forces had certain moral grounds. Nevertheless, its consequences were not positive. Apart from the deaths of people who are impossible to avoid in any military conflict, it caused the increasing number of refugees.
Still, every case of humanitarian intervention should be discussed separately. The Blair Doctrine is not a panacea, since more aspects may be considered. The prime concern of the country or organization which intends to help the sufferers should be the desire of those people to receive help.
It is certain that the best way to solve the problem is to avoid it. Thus, the actions should be taken to prevent situations that may need military interference. In case when the conflict is inevitable, and the lives of people are on scales, all the possible outcomes should be foreseen.
The use of armed forces on the territory of another state is always an intervention despite any justifications. Still, when all the methods of influence were ineffective, it may be the only way to save the people. The initiators of the intervention are to plan their activities to avoid victims and to be helpful but not conflict-provoking.
Altman, Denis, and Jonathan Symons. Queer Wars. Polity Press, 2016.
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Cardy, Dominic. “Syria and Liberal Intervention.” Inroads Journal, (n.d.).
Crabapple, Molly. “Syria’s Queer Refugees.” Medium, 2013.
Enloe, Cynthia. “Feminism and War: Stopping Militarizers, Critiquing Power.” Feminism and War: Confronting US Imperialism, edited by Robin Riley, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, and Minnie Bruce Pratt, Zed Books Ltd., 2013.
Puar, Jasbir. “Feminists and Queers in the Service of Empire.” Feminism and War: Confronting US Imperialism, edited by Robin Riley, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, and Minnie Bruce Pratt, Zed Books Ltd., 2013.
“Just War?” Philosophical Investigations. 2015.
Sloboda, John, and Chris Abbott. “The ‘Blair Doctrine’ and After: Five Years Of Humanitarian Intervention.” Open Democracy, 2004.
Thompson, Milburn. Introducing Catholic Social Thought. Orbis Books, 2015.