With the UK opposing European intervention in the Congo, amid increasing calls for intervention to depose Mugabe, the question I want to ask is: in what circumstances, if indeed there are any, is international military action against sovereign states justified?

Is it the case that, as a letter to the Guardian puts it, "Mugabe's abuse of power" is an instance where intervention is justified "in the name of humanity"?

What about the Congo? Should we be sending troops there "in the name of humanity"?

I honestly don't know what I think about any of this, but I think that, given the hundreds of thousands of people who have died in the name of our ongoing 'war on terror', we need to be asking these questions. Is there such a thing as 'humanitarian intervention'?

Comments

The line is extremely thin. On one side, yes - you could be doing this for the humanitarian side; on the other - you could be invading to 'put the White Man on the rule again'.

Mugabe's days are done - he just doesnt want to accept it. The country is in ruins and now the humanitarian crisis. Yet, to use military intervention, there would have to be a more convincing argument than a humanitarian crisis - a war, by itself already, is a humanitarian crisis.

However, for the west, there arent many options left. In the public eye, the irony is that it didnt take much to invade Iraq (WMDs have never been officially proven), yet people dying and dictatorship ruling the country openly is not good enough of a reason.

What is nearly certain, is that no country is willing to military intervene - especially the west, due to it already having two (three - if you include the pirates) major military operations at hand.

If it came to it, I wouldnt object to an intervention - yet again, the question arises, what other country's sovereignty can be openly changed by the west?

International intervention