The term „humanitarian intervention“ is the American political neologism (newly coined word) to morally cover a new format of Washington’s global imperialism at the time of the post-Cold War’s „New World Order“ in which the USA feel very comfortable to play a role of a global policeman. Theoretically, according to the Western conception of „humanitarian intervention“, one or more states (the USA and the NATO) have a moral (quasi) obligation and/or right to intervene into the internal affairs of other state, if this state (according to the self-evaluation by Washington) does not respect commonly accepted principles of humanitarian law but in particular if the task of such military intervention is to save the lives of a particular group of people (minority) which the state’s authorities, to be intervened against, either threatens or is incapable of protecting. Here it is not of any importance whether such a group is of domestic or foreign origin (citizens).
Nevertheless, tensions between the state’s rights and human rights became very acute since 1990 due to the growth of so-called „humanitarian intervention“. The Great Powers assumed the right to intervene militarily in the inner affairs of other (sovereign) states in order to protect their citizens from abuse and possibly death, often at the hands of their own Government. However, on another hand, the question arises why has „humanitarian intervention“ been criticized?
The term „humanitarian intervention“ is composed of two words/terms: „humanitarian“ and „intervention“. The first word means being concerned with the interests of humanity, specifically through a desire to promote human welfare or to reduce human suffering. The second word means forcible action taken by one (sovereign) state against another (sovereign) state but without the latter’s consent. In a combination of these two words, „humanitarian intervention“ is, by scholarly definition, „military intervention that is carried out in pursuit of humanitarian rather than strategic objectives“. However, the term became very contested and deeply controversial at least from the very point that military intervention cannot be of any humanitarian kind, i.e. to be legitimate and defensible just as it is labeled as „humanitarian“.
U.N. peacekeepers drive their tank as they patrol past the deserted Kibati village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo,