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Beyond Order versus Justice: Middle-Ground Ethics and the Responsibility to Protect

  • Mikael Baaz
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)

Abstract

The overall aim of this chapter is to make an intervention in the (re)emerging discussion on middle-ground ethics (MGE). This is done by problematizing the principle of the responsibility to protect, understood as a constructive balance between, on the one hand, state sovereignty (order) and, on the other hand, individual human rights (justice) or, in other worlds, between international society and world society, within a legal perspective. As Wheeler (2000: 11) has observed, “Humanitarian intervention exposes the conflict between order and justice at its starkest”. The chapter also more directly contributes to the discussion on MGE by elaborating upon how a working balance between conflicting values might be realized in practice—in this case difficult humanitarian situations within sovereign states. The United Nations (UN) sanctioned multistate intervention in Libya 2011—Operation Unified Protector—is used as an illustration to the theoretical discussion(s) as well as a test case to scrutinize the quest for legitimizing the responsibility to protect by military means. The theoretical points of departure are the English School (ES) of International Relations (IR), especially the idea of an international society, and Scandinavian legal realism (SLR), in particular the method of social welfare.

Keywords

International Society United Nations International Relation Security Council Humanitarian Intervention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Mikael Baaz 2013

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  • Mikael Baaz

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