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Title:The politics and dilemmas of humanitarian assistance
Author(s):Shackelford, Collins Guyton, Jr
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kolodziej, Edward A.
Department / Program:Political Science, General
Political Science, International Law and Relations
Discipline:Political Science, General
Political Science, International Law and Relations
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political Science, General
Political Science, International Law and Relations
Abstract:The end of the Cold War has rejuvenated the debate of humanitarian intervention. The opportunity to employ armed force in a humanitarian role is said to have expanded with the end of the bipolar stalemate. Such forums as the United Nations Security Council are no longer held in check by concerns for "spheres of influences." With an expanded opportunity to intervene and the suggestions that military forces can work within the traditional network of humanitarian relief organizations, what does the empirical record offer these proponents of humanitarian intervention?
Employing Alexander George's methodology of structured, focused case comparison, this study examines three post-Cold War humanitarian relief efforts that included significant levels of military forces. It analyzes the role and effectiveness of military forces in the following three cases: Operation Provide Comfort (Kurdistan, 1991), Operation Sea Angel (Bangladesh, 1991), and Operation Restore Hope (Somalia, 1992). The analysis examines each case over the three phases of entry, execution, and termination of the military involvement. Additionally, the analysis draws on a typology that employs the concepts of "consent" and "level of violence."
While traditional humanitarian assistance relies on the consent of the host country, the post-Cold War environment suggests a more turbulent arena for these emergency operations. Therefore, the consent or invitation of a host nation is no longer a fixed commodity. Additionally, the more assertive politicians and analysts reject the idea of humanitarian assistance as simply disaster relief. These politicians and analysts suggest that military forces should forcefully deliver humanitarian assistance in times of intrastate conflict. This is the reasoning behind the second dimension of the typology, "level of violence."
This study concludes that military forces have the potential to make significant contributions to the humanitarian relief network. They can close the gap between the needs of the emergency and the capabilities of the traditional network, yet military forces are a "short-term" response that must also overcome the "neutrality dilemma." Military forces will also stress "security" functions over humanitarian relief activities when the environment is nonpermissive and there is a threat of violence to the responding forces. While military forces traditionally rely on coercion and physical violence to effect change and control territory, this study notes the employment of negotiations and bargaining to relax the humanitarian security dilemma. The threat of violence may have been necessary for the shift in the security dynamic, but it was not a sufficient condition. Negotiations by military and civilian authorities were needed to gain and maintain access to the areas targeted for humanitarian relief. Military forces are not a deus ex machina for the traditional humanitarian relief network.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Shackelford, Collins Guyton, Jr
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624491
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624491

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