National Interests and Altruism in Humanitarian Intervention

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)


In the following chapter I will discuss in detail how realist and cosmopolitan theories approach the motivation for humanitarian intervention. The first sub-chapter will clarify why and to what extend realism assigns considerable importance to national/self-interests in the decision making process surrounding the question of whether to intervene in a humanitarian crisis or not. The second sub-chapter will make an argument for the prevalence of altruism as the primary motivation for humanitarian intervention from a moralist point of view. This chapter will facilitate the understanding of the qualitative research presented in the subsequent chapter where the motivation for post-1990 humanitarian interventions will be presented.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.War & Defence StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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