Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Liberal Studies


Douglas Allen

Second Committee Member

Michael Howard

Third Committee Member

Henry Munson


The frequency of humanitarian military inierventions and the invocation of humanitarian intent in wars of tne last few decades have been so overwhelming that we, as a society, must attempt to deal with the issues surrounding these topics. Just war analysis, unlike realism or pacifism embraces the relationship between morality and war that is exemplified in the idea of humanitarian military interventions Much of the concerns arising from the acceptance of just war theory develop around the misguided rheteric used to justify wars in the name of hunianism or beneficence. If the just war approach to humanitarian interventions is to be defended. we must create some kind of a framework that deals with the intentions of the intervening party prior to an intexention. This framework must be built both on theoretical and practical grounds, since the dialectical relationship between the two is the essence of understanding right intentions In terms of theory, only humanitarian intent inspired by humanitarian motivations can be sufficient for a just intervention. No other single intent or any other mixture of intents or motivations can prompt, be sufficient or give rise to a just intervention. Mixture of motivations is acceptable, but if an intervention were to be considered just, then if all other motivations were removed and only the humanitarian concerns remained a state would still intervene. Regarding the practical knowledge we can gain from previous interventions, the intent can serve as a limiting factor as to which states or organizations of states can or cannot intervene. From the examples of Kosovo and Rwanda we can assert that if the state has had a negative record in terms of humanitarian interventions that should be sufficient for the international community to ban such a state from intervening again. The negative record should also refer to internal behavior of a state. If a government of a state does not extend basic human rights to its own citizens, then it seems impossible that the denial of basic human rights in other places in the world would or could cause a sincere moral outrage in such government. In addition, certain political and economic systems and the relations between some political and economic systems can act as limiting factors in the rights of a state to intervene. For example, the system requirements of imperialism make it impossible for a state, which is both capitalist and expansionist, to intervene justly. We do not have a set of limiting factors to evaluate the intervener and this is the very place where the criticism of just war practices arises. This is why the factors examined here are crucial for a creation of a responsible humanitarian military intervention and unless we are to ban such interventions, we must have a framework to evaluate them ethically as well as politically.