International Intervention

This course will examine military, humanitarian, and post-conflict peacebuilding interventions to explore how the international community has worked to support victims of mass violence, injustice, brutal dictatorships, and poverty around the world. Students will first survey interventions in contexts of mass violence where vulnerable populations are at the mercy of dictatorships or rebel groups with little regard for human life, and the multiple perspectives associated with how, when, and if international actors should intervene. Then they will explore the responses of the international community in post-conflict contexts, the interplay between various actors in these contexts, standard processes of peacebuilding, and critiques of these approaches from different disciplines. Students will investigate the efforts of various actors including governments, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, and for-profit organizations in this analysis. Specific questions to be explored include: How has the inaction of the international community (in places such as Rwanda and Bosnia) as well as the recent failures of the West in the Middle East (e.g. Libya) shaped current discourses of humanitarian intervention? What lessons can be gleaned from successes and failures to facilitate more effective future interventions? How do these insights inform how the international community can mitigate current atrocities? And finally, once conflict subsides and nations must be rebuilt, how can interveners work with and learn from local populations to effectively support them?