The extent to which humanitarian intervention has become a legitimate practice in post-cold war international society is the subject of this book. It maps the changing legitimacy of humanitarian intervention by comparing the international response to cases of humanitarian intervention in the cold war and post-cold war periods. Crucially, the book examines how far international society has recognised humanitarian intervention as a legitimate exception to the rules of sovereignty and non-intervention and non-use of force. While there are studies of each case of intervention - in East Pakistan, Cambodia, Uganda, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo - there is no single work that examines them comprehensively in a comparative framework. Each chapter tells a story of intervention that weaves together a study of motives, justifications and outcomes. The legitimacy of humanitarian intervention is contested by the 'pluralist' and 'solidarist' wings of the English school, and the book charts the stamp of these conceptions on state practice. Solidarism lacks a full-blown theory of humanitarian intervention and the book supplies one.
A key focus is to examine how is humanitarian intervention legitimate in present diplomatic dialogues. In exploring how far there has been a change of norm in the society of states in the 1990s, the book defends the broad based constructivist claim that state actions will be constrained if they cannot be legitimated, and that new norms enable new practices but do not determine these. The book concludes by considering how far contemporary practices of humanitarian intervention support a new solidarism, and how far this resolves the traditional conflict between order and justice in international society.
Saving Strangers is a lucid, well-argued work that explicitly links its discussion of the circumstances under which intervention might be legitimate to its account of the nature of international society. Political Studies A sustained, reflective and timely examination of the issue of humanitarian intervention ... Wheeler does something quite rare; he combines a sophisticated theoretical discussion of the legitimacy and place of humanitarian interventions in international politics with a detailed analysis of a broad range of case studies. The result is a real contribution to the literature on this topic. Political Studies Saving Strangers is an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on humanitarian intervention. Journal of Refugee Studies This volume provides an excellent analysis of a crucial area of international relations affecting ethnic relations ... an empirically and theoretically rich and important study. The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest Nicholas Wheeler has produced a brilliantly sustained argument in support of an emergent norm of humanitarian intervention. This volume of scholarly excellence gracefully combines a powerful theoretical framework with a series of compelling case studies. Saving Strangers is the one indispensable book that addresses the contested topic of 'humanitarian' recourse to war. It deserves the widest possible readership so as to push academic understanding and policy debate in desirable directions. Richard Falk, Albert G. Millbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Princeton University The book is an excellent introduction to its huge topic, using theories and examples to illustrate arguments clearly and concisely. For specialists it provides interesting and thought-provoking debate on solidarist theory. New World