Cosmopolitan Guidelines for Humanitarian Intervention

This paper discusses how a truly military humanitarian intervention can take place in a post-cold war world order dominated by western liberal democracies. The humanitarian interventions carried out in the 1990s were occasions missed to develop proper cosmopolitan moral responsibility and institutions. Four proposals are put forward: a) development of guidelines on when military intervention in sovereign states is needed; b) empowerment of a non-governmental institution such as the World Court with the task of deciding when a humanitarian crisis requires external military intervention; c) appointment of a mixed military-civilian committee to establish whether intervention is feasible and how it should be carried out; d) creation of a permanent Rescue Army with soldiers and civilians from a large number of countries to be deployed in real time, whenever needed. Although these proposals are highly utopian, it will be helpful to shift the intellectual agenda from conditions that allow unilateral interventions to the design of appropriate multilateral institutions.