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Michael Walzer’s Humanitarian Intervention Theory Applied to Multisided Conflicts: A Discussion of Intervention and Self-Determination in the Syrian Civil War

1
International Studies Research Group, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Tecnológico de Antioquia University, Medellín 050034, Colombia
2
Department of Human Development, School of Math and Computer Technology, Yachay Tech University, Urcuquí 100119, Ecuador
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9040041
Received: 9 January 2020 / Revised: 11 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 3 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Contemporary Politics and Society)
Humanitarian interventions have often been employed to promote the intervener’s political and economic interests. Given the issues around intervention’s morality, this article explores Michael Walzer’s humanitarian intervention theory in order to unravel the practical difficulties of legitimating humanitarian interventions in multisided conflicts. After exploring Walzer’s arguments as they relate to unilateral and multilateral interventions, this article explains why, according to the self-determination principle, intervening countries must share the victim’s cause. Later, the article uses the Syrian Civil War to exemplify the conundrum of crafting a legitimate humanitarian intervention in multisided conflicts where the victims are internally divided and have opposing political, economic, and/or religious views. This case study evidences how, in such contexts, humanitarian interventions simultaneously protect the population and promote the group that best represents the intervening state’s interests, thus turning internal conflicts into foreign proxy wars. Finally, the article argues that, despite Walzer’s proposal for a consistent theory of unilateral and multilateral humanitarian interventions, unilateral interventions should be replaced in multisided conflicts by multilateral interventions able to halt atrocities and provide a stable solution for internal conflicts. View Full-Text
Keywords: humanitarian intervention; Michael Walzer; Syria; Civil War; self-determination humanitarian intervention; Michael Walzer; Syria; Civil War; self-determination
MDPI and ACS Style

Paradela-López, M.; Jima-González, A. Michael Walzer’s Humanitarian Intervention Theory Applied to Multisided Conflicts: A Discussion of Intervention and Self-Determination in the Syrian Civil War. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 41.

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