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Saving strangers: rescuing humanitarian intervention from liberal hegemony

Talk by Dr Thomas Peak, Research & Outreach Officer at the Engelsberg Programme for Applied History in the Forum on Geopolitics. Chaired by Professor Brendan Simms, and a response from Dr Kate Ferguson
When Apr 24, 2019
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
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As recent experiences in Cambodia, East Pakistan, Burundi, Rwanda, Kosovo, East Timor, and Sierra Leone, show, to name but a few, humanitarian intervention is a crucial practice of international politics.  But it is subject to a basic conceptual misunderstanding, in that it is routinely confused with two distinct practices of international politics: Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and liberal intervention.  To make this distinction clear, the speaker presents an exhaustive definition of, and ideal-type programme for, a distinctly ‘humanitarian’ intervention.  By showing humanitarian intervention to effectively be politically agnostic, and alleviating it of the burden of ‘nation building’, the pool of potential interveners is broadened exponentially and opposition to interventions will be lessened.  Thus, a correct understanding of humanitarian intervention can sharpen its effectiveness as a tool against mass atrocities and crimes against humanity.        

Chaired by Professor Brendan Simms, Director of the Forum on Geopolitics, a response will be offered from Dr Kate Ferguson, Director of Research and Policy at Protection Approaches, Chair of Policy at the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and Honorary Research Fellow with the School of History, University of East Anglia.

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Applied History: Possibilities & Pitfalls

Jun 07, 2019

Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge

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