Humanitarian Intervention: A Duty?
 Haitians offload humanitarian disaster relief supplies from a U.S. Army Landing Craft Utility at the seaport of Port-au-Prince (Photo: U.S. Army )  



Karlyna L. Anderson
Commander, United States Navy

U.S. Army War College Class of 2010

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of the Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



The concept of the responsibility to protect not only the peoples of one's own state but also those people of another sovereign state should that state fail to protect its people has emerged into the national and international debate. Many states, multinational organizations and the UN have adopted this concept to varying degrees. The U.S. has increasingly incorporated this concept into its political rhetoric. Military guidance, the QDR, along with statements from political leaders continue to stress the expectation that the U.S. will face the need to protect citizens of other states from humanitarian suffering from natural or manmade atrocities. The lessons learned from previous humanitarian crises, such as Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Darfur, and Burma have shaped the U.S.'s approach toward intervention. Trends and threats facing the nations of today have the potential to lead to destabilization of governments and threaten national, regional and global security.

This U.S. Army War College student author argues that the United States should adopt a flexible and tailored strategy which assesses the justification for humanitarian intervention.

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