The Instigator
Con (against)
5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
8 Points

Is military intervention ethical?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/20/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,080 times Debate No: 18888
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (3)




Military intervention under different pretexts are unethical, for such acts are carried out by powerful nations against the powerless to realize their own agendas in a changing global perspective.


Military intervention is almost always used solely as a last resort when diplomacy fails and military intervention can be justified. Not all acts of military intervention occur between massive nations and nations that cannot defend themselves.

WWII was military intervention when Hitler aggressively began to annex independent countries in Europe such as Austria, Belgium, Poland, France, parts of North Africa etc. and countries declared war to prevent such expansion after diplomacy failed.

The US entered WWII following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to prevent the Japanese from occupying islands and territories throughout the Pacific, along with the Korean Peninsula and parts of China. that were themselves defenseless.

The First Gulf Was was military intervention to prevent then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from invading oil rich countries such as Kuwait to build a middle eastern empire that could control all oil exports.

Military intervention in Somalia under President Clinton was performed in order to ensure that food and supplies could be given to Somalis who were devastated by a vicious drought and to prevent what food did make it into the country from being seized by the government and only distributed to those loyal to their forces.

Military intervention from the US in the Vietnam War came about when the Northern communist Vietnam tried to invade and overrun the much weaker and smaller democratic southern Vietnam.

The Korean War was an example of military intervention when the US and Japan stepped in to prevent the Communist North from overrunning the Democratic South. That ended in a stalemate when China then intervened to prevent North Korea from being overrun by the Democratic South and its allies.

The War in Afghanistan was military intervention to remove the oppressive ruling Taliban party that supported Terrorism and Al-Qaeda from power from the drastically poor country following the 9/11 attacks

The Bosnian War started with the breakup of Yugoslavia where warring factions began fighting over territory which soon led to a humanitarian crisis as ethnic cleansing caused the deaths of millions. NATO and the US intervened with the military to bring an end to the crisis and bring peace to the region.

Almost all military interventions are/were ethical because they resolved a very dangerous situation that could not be accomplished with diplomacy or any other means of negotiation....... To say that military intervention is unethical because it is always between a superior nation and a defenseless nation to carry out their own agenda is an insult to world peace
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you.
Your points are apparent, however, my point is to understand intervention from ethical perspective.
As you enumerated examples of intervention from different pretexts, buy can you ignore the motive of the intervention in the socio-political context?

See, Islamic intervention in the seventh and eighth centuries that ultimately formed an Islamic empire extending from India to Spain was justified in the name of religion. However, political agendas and economic purposes entrenched in this type of intervention, first by controlling trade route between the Byzantium Empire and Persia, and then by extending line of control through military means to appropriate resources and revenue deserve serious inquiry to understand the nature of intervention and its ethical justification.

Crusaders intervention into the Muslim world in the medieval age on the principle of Just War "to protect the Christian pilgrims" cannot obscure the economic prospect embedded in the mission through pilgrimage tourism to Jerusalem. The Holy Roman Empire justified intervention in the name of gods. However, the inherent motive of the intervention was to control the population and to appropriate the resources for the nobles. The rationale of intervention was empire-building for God.

Intervention was redefined with the Peace of Westphalia (1648) under the state sovereignty, and restricted consensually. But it did not prevent interveners to intervene under different pretext. The War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) used it to maintain the balance of power, whereas Napoleon (1769-1821) intervened to build the French Empire.

With the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna (September 1814-June 1815) attempted to pursue peace in Europe by restricting intervention. This effort prevented war in Europe for one hundred years (1815-1914). But it did not prevent colonizers to employ intervention outside Europe under different pretexts.

With the Declaration of Independence (1776), the United States of America mongrelized intervention what she had experienced while being colonized in the past. She has been utilizing it from 1890 (against Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota) to 2011(against Libya) under different pretexts.

With the development of intervention technologies like spy ships, bombers, missiles drones, both policy of intervention and tactics have been influenced. Once such military might is developed, they need to be experimented in real war situation. For this very reason, interventionists tend to adopt a policy to intervene both for the military as well as political reason.

In the same way, international community has created legal infrastructures like UNSC and ICC for intervention in otherwise sovereign countries. Both of them work selectively. UNSC identifies country guilty of "crime against humanity" and sanction intervention under the "responsibility to protect" doctrine. Other country or group of countries like NATO, capable to impose military might takes the task to intervene without taking any responsibility thereof. Similarly, ICC identifies the war criminal and sanctions arrest warrant against the leader of that country, which is also carried out by the countries having military power. But, point is: Why do they intervene in one country but not other?

For example, no state intervened Bhutan when Bhutanese government imposed atrocities to hundreds of thousands Bhutanese of Nepalese origin in 1991. Nobody tried to prevent the massacre of hundreds of thousand ethnic Chinese in Indonesia (mid 1960). No state stopped the killing of almost half a million Ibos in Nigeria (1966-70). Nobody bothered the slaughter and forced starvation of: over a million black Christian by Sudanese government (late 1960s); tens of thousands of Tutsi in Rwanda (early 1970s); hundreds of thousands of Hutus in Burundi (1972 and again since 1993); over hundred thousand East Timorese by Indonesia (1975-1999); over one million Ethiopians in Ethiopia (mid 1980s); over hundred thousand Kurds in Iraq (1988-89), to mention few amongst others.

Despite the warning from the United Nations officials of a possibility of a full-blown civil war in Syria, international community did not intervene Syria for various reasons. One of them could be the presence of an active al-Qaeda wing in Syria which may create further instability in the region. But such pretexts of non-intervention do not qualify the logic of intervention against a regime that threats human life. Similarly, the military regime in Myanmar is considered to be one of the most repressive and abusive regimes of the world responsible for forced labor, human trafficking, child labor, sex slaves and many other inhuman endeavors. However, international community has no plan to intervene Myanmar till date.

There are various other examples where the policy of intervention does not hold the water of ground reality, rather it suggests intervention as a political tools to be utilized by the interveners to achieve their respective economic or political goals in an efficient way.
Further, the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect are not legally binding instruments, they are free to be utilized at the hands of the powerful nations. UN does not have enforcement agencies to punish wrongdoers.

In this context, do you still think that intervention is ethical?


The Con raises some key wars in history that were started when military intervention was authorized under very wrongful means. It is true most wars in Medieval ages or before then were the product of land hungry empires, holy warfare, or just military intervention for the sake of using a nations military.... But War has evolved over time, wars have not been fought purely on religion or for more land for decades now, the last time a US invaded any place for land was the Philippines in 1898..... My point is that war itself has changed over time, and so had justification for military intervention.

I will concede that in the distant past military intervention was indeed carried out by unethical standards, but to say that all cases of military intervention are unethical and basing that claim on wars from only the distant past is a very biased and one sided thing to claim.

The Con brings up how all wars have some socio-political benefits to those who intervene and that can only be theoretically true. In any military conflict there will always be something for those intervening to "gain" from the conflict, and if countries intervene SOLELY for economic or political gain than such military interventions would indeed be unethical. But in any conflict where the basic rights of people are being abused by their own government and those who intervene do in the end remove such oppression's, then that would make such military interventions ethical to some degree... Would they make the interventions COMPLETELY unethical? the answer is no. But is it possible that such intervention could somewhat be justified, that answer is yes.

The Con also mentions the existence of world organizations such as the UN, UNSC, and the ICC and their role in playing a role in intervention in only some conflicts not all. Everyone should understand that these global organizations are not independent world entities that have the final say in all conflicts. These world organizations are dependent on the budgets and military personnel of individual nations. NATO for example is a collaboration of nations in Europe and the United States, but NATO exists as an organization, not as a government. NATO, the UN, and all of these organizations are made up of individual countries, and so those countries then decide which areas of the world they should intervene in based on the budget the organization has at their disposal.

The Con then lists several conflicts of which no action was taken by countries or the international community, but if you notice the dates these terrible events took place in, you may notice that they coincide with other far more devastating events that happened in other parts of the world at the same time.

1) Bhutan cruelty against Nepalese descendants happened at the same time as the Somalia and Bosnia conflicts which were far more devastating
2) Massacre of Chinese in Indonesia in the 1960's took place at the same time the Cuban Missile Crisis, assassination of JFK, and the height of the Cold War occurred
3) - 6) Nigerian Ethnic cleansing, Sudanese oppression, and rwanda atrocities in the late 1960's occurred when the US was at the height of its involvement in Vietnam
7) Burundi conflicts both times occurred when the Vietnam War and then the Somali + Bosnian wars occurred

My point is that we live in a world where we are limited by how much aid we con provide, and so global organizations and countries must unfortunately prioritize where they should provide some intervention. If these massacres had taken place when there was absolutely no other conflict in the world going on, and if the world knew about them, and the world knew extensively where or why it was occurring, and they STILL decided to not intervene, THEN it would be unethical.

Even today in areas like Syria and Myanmar, conflicts there must take a back seat to issues that the international community sees as more troublesome. Such events that have gained higher priority has been revolutions in far larger countries than Syria in the Middle East such as Libya, Egypt, Sudan actually split in two, Saudi Arabia has also seen demonstrations as well.

Other factors to consider are the fragile ties between the US and the Arab world. If the international community starts to overrun small Arabic nations like Syria then the rest of the Arab world may take it as a threat and then that would create even more problems. Also hostilities from nations like Iran and North Korea are considered far more threatening to world peace than internal conflicts in Syria and Myanmar because Iran and North Korea create a far larger threat to world peace. The current economic collapses in Countries such as The US, The European Union, and setbacks in China and other wealthy nations have also caused these countries to be more hesitant in their contributions to international aid since they are experiencing far more pressing matters within their own borders.

We live in an imperfect world, our ability to resolve conflicts in the world is not limited by the compassion in our hearts, because we have enough compassion to fix the world 10 times over in the US alone. Instead we are limited by the money we can and are willing to pay out of our own wallets. Until we live in a world where money is never an issue both we (the US) as a nation and the world as an international community will distance ourselves from foreign conflicts unless we all come together and agree that something should be done. Our lack of intervention in the conflicts the Con has stated is not because each nation has their own sinister agenda to keep to, it is because we as a species have still not perfected the art of international peace-keeping politics.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you.

Pro suggests a "sliding scale" of ethic in intervention. Ethical relativity in contemporary international relations gives chance for its abuse; therefore, there must be something normative that guides the problem of intervention from its ethical prospective. I am sorry for the question that Pro rises as "Would they make the interventions COMPLETELY unethical?" The idea of COMPLETELY is somehow connected with the sense of absoluteness, which is, in reality, not approachable. For this reason, the relative approach is often preferable. But relative "from whose stand point is" is important. In this regard, intervention must be critically examined not only from the receiving end, that is the target country need, but also from the motives of the interveners as well.

I do agree with Pro's second point. Yes, they are "organizations" funded by countries, therefore can be manipulable for the interest of the funders. However, the point is, these "organizations" represent world opinion, sense of justice and peace, very foundation of international relations, therefore , I think, they carry more responsibility than what Pro states.

Thank you Pro for listing events comparatively. However, is it often "good" to deal with intervention from the US perspective? Cannot we have some other regional or nongovernmental organizations to deal with intervention collectively? Can we consider the US as a "global police"? My point is, humanitarian crisis in the world is not only the responsibility of the US, but its human responsibility, and therefore a need of proper mechanism to address such issues is important. Yes, selectivity in intervention is a practical issue, but the issue of humanitarian crisis cannot be ignored at the expense of practicality, if it deserves ethical attention.

In this regard, Pro's point of "imperfect world" sounds good, but my question is ethical aspect, which must transcend the economic aspect that Pro suggests. Here, with globalization, we are coming closer to each other. Our space is shrinking. Intervention is the past was not understood as we understand today. It is a social action, a term developed by humanity to address human problem. It has its own utility and limitations. Hence, my point is, intervention is devoid of, may be not completely, ethic. It does not care about the issues related to peacebuilding, conflict resolution and conflict transformation. It simply suggests theories like "go and get them". This is not a solution. In the name intervention, humanity has witnessed more catastrophes in recent days. So, can intervention be made ethical so that it could be used as a global instrument for peacebuilding?


The Con's first response paragraph is a little wordy so allow me to condense it. Basically the last sentence summarizes how the ethics of military intervention must be examined not just from the country that is the point of conflict, but of those who are intervening as well. I completely agree with the point of view from the Con, but I will get into this argument later in this round.

Both the Con and I agree that world organizations such as the UN are organizations that represent international relations, peace, stability, etc. The Con is arguing that these organizations carry more responsibility than I am giving them credit for, while before I was arguing that these organizations like independent nations themselves are limited by funding and the number of troops they have available to deploy to an area of conflict. I Do believe that these organizations are very important and vital for establishing world peace, all I am arguing is that they cannot do that to an extensive capacity because as i stated before, they rely on funding from independent nations.

As for the events i listed before that coincided with other events going on, I do apologize for only looking through the perspective of the US, but the Con lists a very interesting point. Could an organization other than the US deal with intervention and is the US a global police?

I have mentioned before that International organizations cannot completely watch over the role as peace keepers of the world because of their limited resources and budget along with their dependency on contributions from independent nations. Now as for the US being a global police, As of right now we live in the world where there is no one entity, organization or country that has the power and capacity to intervene in any and every conflict in the world, instead we only have the next best thing, the US. The US is no global police force, they are simply the current option that comes the closest compared to all other options.

But as the Con says, humanitarian crisis in the world is not a US responsibility, it is a human responsibility. I agree that it is a human responsibility, but sadly humans alone do not have the knowledge on how to deal with humanitarian crisis's individually.

If I wanted to say, help refugees in Darfur, I only have a few options. I could donate money to a charity who would then work with international organizations to move aid and supplies to a specific region. I Could donate clothes, shoes, books, etc. but these too would have to go through a charity and an international organization before they could reach their destination. I could raise awareness about the issue, but that would mean depending on the government to try to intervene more or get others to donate to charity's. My point is that dealing with a humanitarian crisis is a human responsibility, but such actions rely on governments and political organizations to move anything we do donate or give to the area of conflict.

All Humanitarian crisis's do deserve ethical attention, but ethical attention is just that, attention. The larger a crisis is the more attention it will raise and the more governments and organizations will then intervene. Again with limited resources such crisis's may be overlooked at the expense of practicality because as long as one crisis is raising more ethical attention then another crisis, that crisis shall be the one that is dealt with first.

The Con defines Globalization as the world coming together with space running out. Globalization though is defined as the increasing unification of the world's economic order through reduction of barriers as a result of technological advancement. Economic factors are driving technological advancements in our world, they are driving the world closer together, and they are driving the community to take more action in foreign affairs such as humanitarian crisis's, and thats a good thing.

Economics drive nations to act about something, to take a stand against something that is seen as unlawful or unethical. Military interventions are not devoid of ethics just because economic interests between countries brings to light the plight of people within a country. Let me jump back to my first paragraph and describe what happened in Sudan over the past few months. Sudan was the largest country in Africa, but it was very poor despite being rich in resources like oil, and it has almost constantly been at war with itself. Countries and world organizations took notice and intervened with diplomacy to create a peace within the country that led to a peaceful split of the country in two. The new southern state that is rich in oil and the northern state home to the refineries now share interests to cooperate and build together, because of economic interests within the nation, not outsiders. This intervention was established through diplomacy and not military intervention, but economic interests still drove it.

Does that mean that both military AND non-military interventions should be considered unethical because they can both be driven partially by economic interests?

Humanity has seen increased crisis's because technology is starting to fill every gap crack and crevice in the world and in some places it is upsetting the balances of power between dictatorships and its people. But there has also been a sharp rise in how these conflicts are resolved when the outside world intervenes. Intervention through diplomacy and through military means can be considered ethical if economic interests benefit not just those who are intervening, but also of the people within the country who could benefit from the resources and valuables that lie within the nations territories.

Military intervention, like diplomatic intervention, can be driven by economic interests of those outside and within the country of conflict by economic interests yet still be used as a tool for building peace.
Debate Round No. 3


Sorry for "wordy" statements.
Limiting the role of international organizations, like UN, on the ground of their economic capabilities is an unpleasant phenomenon, considering their prospective roles in international peace. However, one must accept reality that we do not have enough resources to do "good" everywhere. I agree with Pro's point.

Yes, an individual effort to peace does not count in international conflict. You are perfectly right. Everything has to go through institutions, be it donation or advocacy. But, our experiences of last fifty years suggest something else to look for. Because our institutions are looked ambivalently, as in the previous round you gave them credit for, whereas I demanded more actions to save more human lives. Of course, they are limited in terms of resources and capabilities to intervene everywhere, but that does not mean we cannot overcome this limitation either by upgrading the infrastructures of the existing institutions, or by establishing new institutions for this purpose. I do not know how to do it, but I am hopeful if such dissonances are given a place in contemporary discourse, they may lead to a discovery of a new idea that could address the problem better.

The US as the second option sounds something incompatible with the contemporary understanding of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This idea is particularly entrenched in the people of the countries in Asia and Africa. The dominant US role in intervention, particularly after Cold War has been explained both positively and negatively. As long as it is positive, it is OK, but the negative implication of the intervention acts not only tarnishes the image of the intervening country, but also guides world opinion against it. So, is it not possible to look for certain institution embodied with collective responsibility? Or is it not possible to have an extensive consensus amongst the nation states before intervention? Empirically, it has been observed that often the intervention precedes the rationale or justification. Cannot be it otherwise? Yes, waiting or delay in intervention means loss of more human lives. But, it does not mean that one can intervene anytime anywhere when one feel the severity of the situation from one's own perspective.

Suppose, there are other nations, like the US, in the world, both economically and militarily powerful. In that situation, how an act of intervention be carried out? It is better to learn something from Cold War experiences. Even the US in the past had many doctrines, suggesting a clear route to intervene or not to intervene with some guiding principles and justification. But now, they are less visible. This is one of the issues that makes intervention a game of the stronger and invites questions from ethical perspective.

I do agree with your point: economic intervention in globalized world. Mostly political actors in troubled states are found to be corrupt economically. Many conflicts in the world are based on resources having economic value. Sudan exemplified the prospect of non-military intervention. To a great extent, it helped save human lives and environment. But the same model of non-military intervention cannot be exported elsewhere, without knowing the ground realities of the situation. However, it is a point of hope.

Additionally, in resource based conflict zones, after intervention a group of people replace the former group, which does not yield any real benefit to the people. The source of conflict is entrenched in the social structure, which needs different treatment than merely military intervention. Our contemporary characteristics of intervention do not consider the post-intervention initiative, like conflict transformation and peacebuilding. In this perspective, can intervention, particularly military intervention, be an instrument for peace?


We both agree that international organizations such as the UN are limited by their resources to end any and all humanitarian conflicts in the world. But if there were a crisis that the world did feel should resolved, yet international organizations do not immediately have the resources to act quickly, then military intervention may provide the answer. Humans do share a compassion to help others, but when international organizations cannot respond quickly and donations to charities no longer cut it, then it could be argued that military intervention by a collaboration of a few countries into the conflict zone would be ethical.

We also both agree on the limited influence of charities. Again like before If people feel that a crisis somewhere should be resolved but international organizations lie the UN cannot respond fast enough and charitable donations can no longer resolve the conflict, then military intervention may be argued to be ethical and justified.

Next the Con accurately describes the setbacks of relying on military intervention from independent nations rather than global organizations. Is it possible to have extensive consensus among nations before one of them decides to enforce military intervention? The answer is yes and no.

When Saddam Hussein overran Kuwait, Kuwait appealed to the international community. There was a consensus among nations that there should be military intervention, and it was the US who led most of the charge. barely 100 hours later the war was over. But in other cases world consensus may be divided over an issue when it may appear that the time to prevent a crisis from worsening is running out.

In the Second Gulf War it was rumored that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (nukes), there was no concrete evidence and the international community was on the fence over the issue. It was after a while that the US felt that if Iraq indeed had such weapons, than someone should intervene to prevent Saddam from using such weapons while the international community was still undecided if he should be removed from power. This is an example of when independent nations have to make a judgement call where they can intervene even though there is no solid evidence, or they could wait for international consent, which may take months, and until then risk the possibility of allowing a crisis to occur. Both options have dire consequences, the first one may make the intervening country look like an unethical intervention in a crisis that was not truly what is was believed to be, or a humanitarian catastrophe could occur while the international community only watched on because there was indecision over what should be done.

The point is waiting for international consent is a dual-edged sword where those intervening may do great harm to their reputation if they make a bad call when they felt that time to prevent a possible disaster was running out. The US did just that in Iraq, no weapons were found, and has been biting us in the butts ever since, bt only because we thought time was running out to prevent a far worse catastrophe.

The argument that US previously provided clear justification for intervening in a conflict only until recently is a sound argument. But again consider that if time were a limit and the US decided to intervene in a conflict, then they would have to forge some justification for why they felt that they should intervene. Questions such as where did the uranium come from, where are the weapons if inspectors cannot find them, etc were not able to be answered definitely beforehand so the US could only make an educated guess. They felt that time was running out, so they hastily tried to justify their actions before they intervened. Again it was done on the grounds that they were trying to prevent a far worse catastrophe from happening, and that could be argued as making an ethical decision even though the results where anything BUT ethical.

As for the Sudan statement, there are two reasons why the diplomacy modeled of intervention cannot be exported elsewhere. One of which the Con provided with the fact that not all the facts are known in some conflicts, but the other reason is far more troubling. In many many cases diplomacy just doesn't work because the areas of conflict occur in countries with oppressive dictatorial regimes that do not bend to diplomatic pressure. Often these regimes can only be reorganized or replaced through military intervention, and if the conflict that justifies such a move is reasonable enough, than military intervention into that area of conflict again may be justified since diplomacy cannot resolve the issue whereas military intervention could.

The Con's final paragraph highlight the largest problem of successful military intervention, what happens afterwards. In previous wars the conflict was often caused by oppressive regimes, but in the modern world awareness of the plight of human rights is now the driving factor behind such interventions. We as a species now face a new type of international conflicts that are now based more on social structure issues than regime issues. We simply have been using the same solution weve used in the past and applied it to a different problem in the hopes that it still yields the results we want.

The results we are looking for, peace stability, prosperity, cannot always be enforced by those who are intervening. People within the conflict zone must be willing to exert just as much energy to try to give themselves a better future. Military intervention gives them the opportunity for a better future, but ultimately only the people within the conflict zone can give themselves a better future. No amount of diplomatic or military intervention can do that, it depends on the people.

In this case military intervention can still be considered ethical because we currently have not developed another solution to the problem and instead are just using the same tactics that have been proven before in different situations.
Military intervention is not being used because powerful nations like to use it to bully other smaller countries and take advantage of them, it is being used simply because we lack the option of a better solution.
Debate Round No. 4


Thank you.

Yes, I agree with your first point, regarding the limitation of international organization. But your second point about military intervention is not clear. It raises questions like: who's military? What type of intervention? And many more. My focus is about the ethical aspect of military intervention. To justify such intervention one needs to substantiate it with convincing rationale. Till now, intervention derives its rationale particularly from two schools of thought in order to make it ethical. One is realist approach and another is just war tradition.

First, according to the realists, the argument is that intervention is OK as long as it enhances national interest, together with the interest of the "victims" of suppression of target state. This national interest could be anything, from economics to morality. But the point is that normally the government of a state decides to go to intervention or war against another state. In democracy the government represent majority, not all people of that state. Additionally, the popular expression of the people through votes also has time dimension, which can be different in another dimension of time. In this perspective, decision made by government officials, who were elected long time ago with different agendas, does not necessarily represent the national interest in another time dimension. Protest of war during the Vietnam War and Iraq War in the United States and other liberal democracies is one of the examples of the incompatibility of the national interest theory with the practices of intervention.

In the same spirit, Just war tradition prescribes proportionality and noncombatant immunity particularly in Jus in bello. Contemporary intervention practices are quite different than those in the past in a sense that in most cases the interveners use advanced fighting technology like cluster bombing, drone attacks, carpet bombing, missiles attacks against a weak opponent targeting both military and civilian infrastructures of the target country, yielding "collateral damage".

Just war theory does not consider the sense of "just" of the others. To a great extent, the sense of "just" is a culturally conditioned phenomenon, therefore what looks just from one side or in one culture does not necessarily look just from another side or in another culture. Even the "unjust" or the others have right to fight for self-defense, therefore the war looks just on both sides.

Just war theory separates the responsibility of civilian officials who decide jus ad bello and military who fight according to jus in bello. It means the military has no role in determining the precondition for war but they have to fight even if the decision to go to war is unjust.
Decapitating a tyrant ruler at the expense of thousands of civilians and millions of resources does not necessarily satisfy the criteria of jus in bello. Military intervention not only kills people and destroy infrastructure, but also leaves those living behind traumatized and terrorized which may take years to heal.
Today's wars are more faceless and invisible where it is often difficult to distinguish who is combatant and who is not; who is innocent and who is nocent.

Again, Just War theory considers only two aspects of war: jus ad bellum and jus in bello. But it fails to consider peacebuilding after the war or even during the war: jus post bellum. Therefore, it is only a partial notion to the justice of war. Cessation of war must not be understood as peace, for it may erupt any time in future if the seeds of war are present in the society.

On contextualizing the contemporary intervention in the light of these assumptions, we find a gloomy picture of the intervention, despite of faith that humanity must survive. I do not like to elaborate more, but the point is: what type of military intervention is ethical?
Now, let me respond practically. I will try to deal Pro's points paragraph-wise.

I do agree that it is a last resort to save humanity in distress, but how to do it is a problem. I am not convinced with contemporary practices of intervention.

Your second point is also agreed, but again the question is method. What is the proper method to intervene so that it could generate peace?

Thank you for your question in the third paragraph. My answer is: NO. Currently, it is not possible to wait for a consensus, for conflict does not wait, so, the sooner the better. But humanitarian crisis has become a frequent phenomenon; therefore we must have some long-term objective to resolve such crisis, either through independent institutional framework or through some guiding principles. One nation cannot resolve the conflict of the world.

You are right about Kuwait case, I do appreciate it. However, the US can share its "burden" with others so that it would look collaborative approach. Perhaps that was the first intervention after Cold War, but the frequency is going up, so the US must think to engage other collaborators to deal with such crisis collectively. Additionally, Europe has changed in the post-Cold War situation, you must consider this fact.

Regarding the Iraq intervention, your point sounds convincing, but it is important to know the other part of the story before arriving at a conclusive decision. Since the US did not find any WMD, so what is your rationale of intervention?

Thank you for your honest words. Probably, many others are also having a sense of guilt. Of course, the intention was good, but the outcome did not appear as expected. Sorry.

Your next paragraph sounds similar. I respect your altruistic motive. I have nothing to say here. Please try to assess the situation with your own intelligence.

Regarding Sudan, diplomatic mediation is not the only option. Since the conflict is dispersed, and it is difficult to recognize the actor, or stakeholders, in that situation soft mediation could be productive. Did we try other forms of mediation? Bureaucratic mediation are often formal and inconsistent, for it is legalistic and based on the position of the players. In this regard, my point is to look for other types of diplomacy.

I appreciate Pro's citation. I do agree.

Again, I do agree.

Finally, military intervention can be considered both ethical and unethical, depending upon the motive of the intervention and its outcome. But, contemporary interventions have been questioned from ethical ground, because the parties in the conflict have tried to employ rationale to justify their acts in order to achieve their political objectives. They have employed media, make alliances, and use emotive socio-cultural ingredients in such a way that the objective reality of intervention has become less important than the perceived or projected reality. In this situation employing resources and military to achieve some concrete goal in a certain target geopolitical entity has become impossible because the entire mission of intervention has moved to achieve an abstract objective than the real one.

Furthermore, rationale offered by the intervening state or a group of states is a defensive justification of a controversial action, thus embeds intention of the actors, and thus invites subjective interpretations embedded with moral self-inflation, dehumanization of the "other" and motivated by utility theory.

However, motive of intervention is to protect humanity, in altruistic sense. But why? Because it makes us happy. All other goals we seek because we believe they promote happiness, not because happiness consists in them. Using reason in the course of life to actualize virtue, which can be cultivated by teaching and habit and rooted in social tradition, is what happiness consists in. This new instrument of humanity, intervention, must yield happiness. For that very reason, it should be ethical.

PS: Thank you Pro. You taught me a lot. Thank you for giving this opportunity.


Ill make these last arguments short and to the point because anyone still reading this may be losing their minds.

The first part of my paragraph that was unclear, i was stating how military intervention may provide a quick response to a sudden situation that diplomacy would not be able to handle as quickly. As for whose military and how to respond to the crisis, that would depend largely on the situation itself

People elect government officials to handle domestic issues and to only have a plan for foreign events. No one votes for a candidate by according to how he would handle a possible war against Iran, they vote for candidates who best represents their own interests and then trusts them to handle foreign decisions. These officials then hire generals and soldiers to advise them about their options and then an agreement is reached among multiple parties.

As for protest during wars, there have always been protests in US wars. Vietnam and Iraq are the front runners but there was opposition to the US entering WWII, the Revolutionary War, and even the Civil War. There will always be people who are against war no matter what, but we cannot forsake military intervention as unethical because of a minority of people who are always against war.

As for collateral damage, there will always be civilian deaths in war, but if you look through history you will see that the number of civilian deaths have fallen while actual military targets continue to be eliminated.

Military intervention kills people, traumatizes others, and destroy's infrastructure. That is true but it is never inflicted purposely and that is a big reason why military intervention is never applied before diplomatic tactics. However when Diplomacy fails and something must be done then military intervention, as ugly as it can be, becomes somewhat justifiable.

There is no type of military intervention that right now is justifiable, there is only military intervention that can be looked back upon in history that can then be judged as either ethical or otherwise.

As for method to what happens after military intervention, no one knows for sure we live in ever changing times. Even if there were a correct answer people may still disagree but thats just what makes us different and unique.

One Nation cannot resolve the conflict of the world. Very true but until world organizations find a way to overcome their limitations in resources then nations themselves will have to take it into their own hands and handle crisis's in ways they feel is justified, whether it may be or not.

The Idea of a collaborate approach to military intervention is a good idea in theory, but consider the logistics. Some nations cannot move materials as fast to conflict zones, supply lines for some nations may be too vast, also in the intervention itself there is a language barrier to overcome, different nations use different equipment which may lead to confusion, and nations may prioritize objectives differently during military intervention than others. That is why it is sometimes a good thing to have one primary nation leading the charge so that they can direct others.

As for Iraq, we did not find WMD's, i therefore the intervention into Iraq was unethical. However I still do support the war because Saddam Hussein was a dictator who frequently used chemical weapons against his own people in his own country. I find the war itself ethical, just not the reason we intervened in the first place.

As for the last argument it is true that recently nations have conducted military interventions and then try to justify their actions later rather than the other way around. This is true but it has only been true for a very very recent period in history. In the 990's we justified out intervention in Bosnia and Somalia before we deployed troops. For example, following 9/11 this country was rather caught off guard, we had to make some quick decisions and justify them later. This happens not because the US has a "invade first ask questions later" mentality, it is because the US has always had a history of not being attacked first, and when we are we address the threat without trying to justify our actions before hand.

Military intervention is ethical, but in times when crisis's are sudden and military intervention is rushed because diplomacy is either too slow or cannot be used, then it appears that such intervention is unethical if when we look back in history nothing was accomplished.

If we have time to come together as nations, identify a crisis, try to use diplomacy and charity to alleviate the problem, then agree on military intervention if the situation escalates and diplomatic measures no longer can bring about peace, only THEN military intervention can be justified. But it CAN be justified.

I would like to thank the Con for such an awesome debate
Debate Round No. 5
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3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Mr.Infidel 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering
Vote Placed by Willoweed 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: No one really won thedebate
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave examples of ethical intervention, and Con didn't argue they were not ethical. That grants the debate to Pro. con only argued that intervention was sometimes unethical, true, but not the resolution.