Explaining Humanitarian Intervention in Libya and Non-Intervention in Syria
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The emergence of the revolutionary movements of the Arab Spring in early 2011 surprised the world. For the western democracies the often-violent reaction of the ruling regimes in the concerned countries caused political and moral challenges. Different approaches are discernible when for the Libyan case the west was willing to intervene against the regime but for the Syrian case no decisive action was taken. This thesis examines the importance and influence of humanitarian interventions in comparison to national geo-strategic interests and the influence of domestic politics. The thesis argues that the three examined western states U.S., Germany and France, acknowledge and stress the normative importance of humanitarian interventions but finally prefer geo-strategic interests and domestic politics. Next to own interests the parameters of the respective conflict are of highest importance as shown by the comparison of the political, social and military framework of Syria and Libya. The thesis concludes that normative arguments in international politics are overestimated and dominated by state interests and demands of governments. For western democracies normative reasons are of theoretical importance and part of their own self-awareness but in realpolitik their influence is minuscule.
- Government and Political Science