Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-2p87r Total loading time: 0.27 Render date: 2021-10-19T16:27:23.781Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

17 - Conclusion: Humanitarian intervention in historical perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2011

D. J. B. Trim
Affiliation:
Archives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Maryland
Brendan Simms
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
D. J. B. Trim
Affiliation:
University of Reading
Get access

Summary

One of the most important conclusions of this collaborative historical investigation concerns the Westphalian concept of sovereignty. Our findings confirm those of Stephen Krasner and other scholars who argue that the alleged emergence of a new concept of state sovereignty after the treaties of Westphalia (1648) has been greatly exaggerated.

Closer historical investigation of the ‘recalcitrant’ question of sovereignty has shown it to have been a very relative term indeed. In particular, Krasner shows that what most scholars – and confusingly he – call ‘Westphalian Sovereignty’, the absolute freedom from intervention by an outside power, has in fact nothing to do with the Peace of Westphalia. The arrangements made there, he points out, enshrined minority rights at the expense of central sovereignty. One way or another, sovereignty has ‘always’ been violated throughout history.

Most recent criticisms of the supposedly Westphalian paradigm have been made from the explicit disciplinary perspectives of International Relations or Political Science, or on overtly political grounds. The historical studies in this volume confirm that the concept of Westphalia as originating a system of states whose sovereignty was absolute simply is not true, and that, in consequence, the idea that the modern international system derives solely from Westphalia is, at best, highly dubious. This means that the presumption of some vocal scholars, policy practitioners and human rights activists, that humanitarian intervention is illegitimate simply because it contravenes Westphalian principles, is not so much erroneous as baseless.

Type
Chapter
Information
Humanitarian Intervention
A History
, pp. 381 - 401
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
1
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×