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Title:Choices to Save the Suffering: What Prompts Humanitarian Military Intervention
Author(s):Bumgardner, Justin Noel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Diehl, Paul F.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political Science, International Law and Relations
Abstract:Forceful military humanitarian intervention in complex humanitarian emergencies has become a more frequent activity of states in the post-Cold War era. New notions that intervening militarily to alleviate human suffering is legitimate have challenged traditional views of state sovereignty and non-intervention. What prompts states to risk lives and resources by intervening in civil conflicts? This dissertation addresses why military interventions occur in some complex humanitarian emergencies but not in others. It develops a model, which holds that the level of suffering is the trigger that causes humanitarian military intervention. Conflict, severe poverty, and displacement are all indicators of human suffering. The dissertation also expects that factors such as, geography, host state power, and Cold War politics can each act to increase the costs of intervention and make it less likely to occur. Seventy-one complex humanitarian emergencies are identified between 1960 and 1999, eleven of which attracted humanitarian intervention. A logit analysis is used to test the effect of several factors on the likelihood of humanitarian intervention. Findings suggest that the level of suffering does have a positive and significant effect. In particular, the level of poverty and a sharp rise in displacement each increase the likelihood that a humanitarian intervention will occur. The dissertation also examines two case studies from the early 1990s, with Somalia as an emergency in which humanitarian intervention took place and the Sudan as a case in which it did not. An important finding in the case studies is that the case that attracted humanitarian intervention also received much more media coverage before the intervention took place. The key finding of the dissertation is that the level of human suffering increases the likelihood of humanitarian intervention. This suggests that, contrary to realist theory, military interventions are sometimes motivated by normative concerns and not just security and economic self-interests.
Issue Date:2004
Description:229 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3160869
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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