The primary ethical problem for United States policy in regard to “wars of national liberation” is that of intervention, not war. To be sure, the morality of war must be faced together with the morality of intervention. But the basic question for the intervention is not whether morally it may use force and take human life, but whether morally it may exercise power where it has no authority. By what right does the United States seek to influence the relationships, structures, and focus of authority of another political entity—or evert of a nonentity in process of becoming an entity?
Justifiable intervention is an admissible—although limited—concept except to those persons who reject every unilateral use of national power, and to those who take an absolutistic stand in favor of the principle of non-intervention (and that stand also requires an ethical defense).