The role of the humanitarian intervention is often discussed from two perspectives according to which the principle of the international order or the idea of global justice can be prioritised. In spite of the obvious opposition, these opposite principles are combined with references to the English School of international relations for which the focus on solidaristic and pluralistic approaches and argumentation is typical. The international community can rely on the humanitarian intervention as the way to promote justice, but the used tools are military ones, and these approaches are associated with supporting the international order (Little 2000, p. 395; Mingst & Snyder 2011).
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Referring to this dichotomy, it is necessary to discuss the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya from the perspective of the English School of international relations because of the necessity to analyse the role of the humanitarian intervention with references to the concrete case. Thus, the main purpose of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya can be discussed from the point of the solidarist approach because of focusing on upholding and promoting justice in the country; however, the military intervention means the focus on the order, and this fact should be discussed following the pluralistic approach.
The first revolts in Libya in 2011 were developed with the aim to overthrow the rule of Muammar el Qaddafi and under the influence of the Arab Spring movement. The concentration on establishing democracy and stability in the country was observed during the period of revolts (Beech & Oliver 2013, p. 26). Nevertheless, the international society could not ignore a lot of civilians’ deaths caused by the military actions. As a result, the decision about the NATO intervention was made. Following the English School of international relations, the international society also forms the system where the state interactions are developed according to the definite rules and norms.
Thus, the humanitarian intervention is the tool which can be effective to focus on humanitarian responsibilities associated with the human rights and idea of justice and to promote the international society responsibilities. From this point, referring to the idea of justice and solidaristic approach, the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya is the attempt to uphold justice and to support the civilians’ human rights (Linklater & Suganami 2006). Nevertheless, it is also the attempt to prevent the development of disorder between states which can be caused by Libya’s revolts, and this idea is supported with references to the pluralistic approach. However, it is possible to note that the focus on justice is more obvious in relation to the case of Libya.
The problem is in the fact that the humanitarian intervention is based on the strong military fundament, and this situation limits the humanitarian intervention’s effects on developing the global justice because military actions can also undermine the global order, if they are used as the only way to cope with the global threats. The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya supports the idea that the necessity to balance between difficult ethical and political choices is preserved with references to the solidaristic and pluralistic approaches because the focus on one aspect is impossible without influencing the other one (Suganami 2003, p. 253). The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya was chosen as the method to overcome the observed injustice and to promote the idea of human rights. However, the supporters of the solidaristic approach are still doubtful regarding using the military actions to ensure justice for civilians in Libya.
If the international society is the combination of multiple states and societies, the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya has the significant effect not only on the progress of the nation but also on the international society as the whole. In this case, the intervention should be developed to respond to the national interests of Libya, to the interests of the international society as the system, and to the definite global moral values. The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya was developed as the strategy to maintain the justice, but it was possible only with stating the order (Beech & Oliver 2013). It is possible to speak about the close interconnection of the idea of justice and order in relation to the situation of the humanitarian intervention as it can be explained with references to the principles of the English School of international relations.
Thus, the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya as any other humanitarian intervention can be discussed from two opposite perspectives, with references to the ideas of justice and human rights or with references to the idea of the necessary order to promote the peace in the world. These perspectives are known as the solidaristic and pluralistic approaches, and the English School is based on the opposition and tension between these two ideas providing the background for analysing such problematic international relations’ events as humanitarian intervention from several perspectives.
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Beech, M & Oliver, T 2013, ‘Humanitarian intervention and foreign policy in the conservative-led coalition’, Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 17. no. 4, pp. 25-31.
Linklater, A & Suganami, H 2006, The English School of International Relations: A contemporary re-assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Little, R 2000,’The English School’s contribution to the study of international relations’, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 6. no. 3, pp. 395-422.
Mingst, K & Snyder, J 2011, Essential readings in world politics, Norton, London.
Suganami, H 2003, ‘British institutionalists, or the English School, 20 years on’, International Relations, vol. 17. no. 3, pp. 253-272.