The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention by Rajan MenonThe Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention by Rajan Menon

The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention

byRajan Menon

Hardcover | February 3, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 184 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


With the end of the Cold War has come an upsurge in humanitarian interventions-military campaigns aimed at ending mass atrocities. These wars of rescue, waged in the name of ostensibly universal norms of human rights and legal principles, rest on the premise that a genuine "internationalcommunity" has begun to emerge and has reached consensus on a procedure for eradicating mass killings. Rajan Menon argues that, in fact, humanitarian intervention remains deeply divisive as a concept and as a policy, and is flawed besides. The advocates of humanitarian intervention have produced amountain of writings to support their claim that human rights precepts now exert an unprecedented influence on states' foreign policies and that we can therefore anticipate a comprehensive solution to mass atrocities. In The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention, Menon shows that this belief, while noble, is naive. States continue to act principally based on what they regard at any given time as their national interests. Delivering strangers from oppression ranks low on their list of priorities. Indeed, evendemocratic states routinely embrace governments that trample the human rights values on which the humanitarian intervention enterprise rests. States' ethical commitment to waging war to end atrocities remains episodic and erratic-more rhetorical than real. And when these missions are undertaken, the strategies and means used invariably produce perverse, even dangerous results. This, in no small measure, stems from the hubris of leaders -and the acolytes of humanitarian intervention - who have come to believe that they possesses the wisdom and wherewithal to bestow freedom and stability upon societies about which they know little.
Rajan Menon is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of Political Science, City College of New York/City University of New York, and a Senior Research Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University. His most recent book, co-authored with Eugene B. Rumer, is Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold...
Title:The Conceit of Humanitarian InterventionFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:February 3, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199384878

ISBN - 13:9780199384877

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Animating Idea2. Altruism's Limits3. Sovereignty, Legitimacy, and Intervention4. The Legal Debate5. Human Rights and Intervention6. The Primacy of Pragmatism7. War and Post-War8. "The International Community"Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"There is such a thing as a problem - even a 'problem from hell' - to which there is no solution. In showing that outrage against bloody atrocity almost never justifies a military response, Rajan Menon achieves the best available critique of humanitarian intervention ever written. Careful,dispassionate, and methodical, The Conceit of Intervention is most of all a debate with those who would wish away tragedy - especially the tragedy of lacking solutions, even when the problem is compelling - in the persistently self-interested domain of international affairs. A must-read." --Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University