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This article presents a normative account of legitimate humanitarian intervention. Presenting a pragmatic and ideologically neutral standard for intervention, it repositions humanitarian intervention within the context of its two most closely related practices: Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and liberal intervention. While distinct from R2P, humanitarian intervention is not in conflict with this political commitment. A consistent application of humanitarian intervention would indeed strengthen R2P. On the other hand, this normative account also distinguishes the principle of legitimate humanitarian intervention from the problematic conflation with liberal intervention. Liberal intervention reflects the more expansive project of international social engineering and ‘liberal hegemony’ pursued by the United States and its principle allies since the end of the Cold War. By clarifying the distinction between humanitarian intervention and liberal intervention, this revised standard overcomes several obstacles emerging from their conceptual confusion. It crafts a normatively acceptable standard for intervention which can garner broad international support.

Open Access
In: Global Responsibility to Protect


This short article introduces the Special Issue on Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect. The purpose of this special issue is to prompt a conversation across historical and contemporary approaches, with a global perspective, to the question of intervention. It considers how the past informs the present and reflects on multiple ‘futures’ of intervention in the context of R2P.

Free access
In: Global Responsibility to Protect