Widespread atrocities that were witnessed in the end of the twentieth century, and in particular the ones, associated with the NATO intervention in Kosovo, make the issue of humanitarian intervention topical for legal political and international ethical studies. The issue of humanitarian intervention’s morality is frequently viewed as a part of more general question of morality of war, because reality of humanitarian intervention is close to the one of the war (Coady,2002,p. 11). Adherents of different theories of international ethics offer mutually excluding approaches towards acceptability of humanitarian interventions. Grounded on moral universalism, cosmopolitan approach justifies humanitarian interventions by the referral to the need for ensuring respect for human rights, defending instrumental value of political institutions, as well as the concept of universal duties (Sangha, 2012).
As opposed to adherents of cosmopolitanism approach, the ones of communitarism branch of international ethics consider humanitarian intervention to be unjustifiable. The reason for this statement stems from the scope of the communitarism approach itself, rather than some specific humanitarian intervention-related studies. Communitarism emphasizes the link that exists between an individual and the community, arguing that no universal moral values can exist. The predominance of relativism concept in communitarian attitude towards values that are considered universal (e.g., human rights) prevents its adherents from considering humanitarian interventions justifiable by the referral to the concepts of responsibility and universal duties that are being widely used in cosmopolitanism.
It is important to note that communitarism tends to pay significant attention to the context the events take place within, and considers that rules can be morally binding, insofar they are designed to meet the beliefs and traditions of particular communities (Walzer, 1983, p. 312). Therefore, breaking sovereignty of particular communities (states), aiming at the protection of universal values, contradicts the key idea of communitarism.
In scientific literature, one can find different definitions of such terms as “subjects of international law” and “agents of international law”. The most common definition of the term “subject of international law” refers to persons and entities that have international personality. While throughout the 19th century only states could be viewed as subjects of international law, nowadays their range has become far broader and includes international organizations, corporations and individuals that meet specific requirements, necessary for possessing legal personality.
Most common characteristics of legal personality include the enjoyment of rights, conferred in international law and being subjected to international legal obligations; capacity of entering into international binding treaties and agreements, capacity to make claims, regarding the breaches of the norms of international law, as well as the enjoyment of privileges and immunities from national jurisdiction.
While vast majority of definitions of subjects of international law deal with the concept of legal personality and its characteristics, there are different views on the concept of “agents of international law”. However, applying the most common understanding of the term under study, one may claim that agents of international law are the ones, who create, apply and enforce it (Buchanan, 2003, p.290). As states play an important part in the creation of international law (e.g., by entering into bilateral and multilateral binding international treaties, apply and enforce them, they can be viewed as not only the subjects, but principal agents of international law.
Similar to the trend, existing with regard to the range of the subjects of international law, the range of its agents has also significantly changed over the period from the beginning of 20th century to current time. For instance, nowadays international organizations tend to play an ever increasing role in the creation, application and enforcement of the norms of international law.
There are several theories in modern international political economy that emphasize the need for states’ decreasing their dependence on other states. The key theory that needs to be considered with regard to the statement under study is dependency theory. The adherents of this theory argue that economic issues and political instability of developing states can be viewed as a consequence of their integration into world economy and systemic pressure that is being exerted on them by developed states (Ferraro, 2008, p.59). Different authors suggest different ways out for developing countries that look forward to more successful economic and political development. Among them one can mention the need for industrialization and producing goods instead of importing them from other states; state intervention into market economy and providing subsidies for national producers of goods; provision of sovereign emission policies.
Apart from dependency theory, theories of both absolute and comparative advantage concentrate on party’s ability to produce particular goods at lowest cost over other parties. Manufacturing products at lower prices is frequently associated with decreasing the dependence on imported goods, and aiming at facilitation of international specialization of states as manufacturers of different goods. While these theories emphasize the need of states’ economies’ independence from one another, they can also be viewed as promoting states’ integration into world economic system.
Major reasons for advocating for states’ economic independence include states’ having more chances to protect their economies from negative factors, called forth by events, happening in other states; facilitating political stability and concentrating on production. By-turn, concentration on production and being protected against external negative impact helps states to become stronger actors at international economic arena, and promote their products worldwide. On the other hand, states that focus on import are likely to experience significant economic difficulties, being influenced by events, faced by other economies.
The theoretical debate over the explanations for the proliferation of the nuclear weapons, and whether future nuclear weapons proliferation can be expected or not, has become topical after the end of the Cold War. Since 1950s, abovementioned debate was dominated by the realist explanations. The major assumption of the realist approaches to nuclear weapons’ proliferation lies in the referral to the importance of maximizing states’ powers to survive and ensure security for their citizens.
An extra dimension that neo-realism has added to classical realism understanding of the need for nuclear weapons proliferation is the need for nuclear weapons’ dependence upon the structure of current international system (Jasper, 2013, p.18). The study of some of neo-realist research works shows that neorealism tends to view international system’s structure as a constraint to further proliferation of nuclear weapon, rather than the factor that causes forth nuclear weapons’ proliferation.
While neo-realism approach concentrates on explaining the reasons for nuclear weapons’ proliferation, liberal approach pays more attention to the way to ensure relative peace. It is claimed that stability and relative peace in the world can be achieved in terms of current international system via a hegemon, who will determine the agenda for global institutions by playing a proactive part in international politics (Chakma, 2004, p.32). Hegemonic stability theory considers that hegemon, who holds significant economic and military power, can lead the world system, so that there is no need for other states to develop weapons of mass destruction to protect its security interests. The major criticism with regard to this approach towards the proliferation of nuclear weapons lies in the fact that no one can guarantee peaceful orientation of a possible hegemon and this state’s leader’s willingness to employ resources to get involved into regional conflicts and help states get out of them, if such conflicts emerge.
Buchanan, A. (2003). Justice, legitimacy, and self-determination: moral foundations for international law. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Chakma, B. (2004). Strategic dynamics and nuclear weapons proliferation in South Asia: a historical analysis. Bern: Peter Lang
Coady, C.A.J. (2002). The ethics of armed humanitarian intervention. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute for Peace
Ferraro, V. (2008). Dependency theory: an introduction. In G.Sicondi (ed.) The development economics reader (pp.58-64). London: Routledge
Jasper, U. (2013). The politics of nuclear non proliferation: a pragmatist framework for analysis. London: Routledge
Sangha, K.(2012). The responsibility to protect: a cosmopolitan argument for the duty of humanitarian intervention. Saanich: University of Victoria
Walzer, M. (1983). Spheres of justice: a defense of pluralism and equality. Oxford: Basil Blackwell