The question of agency in humanitarian intervention: cosmopolitan approaches
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The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the question of humanitarian intervention’s agency from the theoretical perspective of cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism is critical about the role of states in protecting individuals’ rights and thus questions whether the world should be organized around sovereign states system. In an ideal cosmopolitan world order without sovereign states, there would be no states and thus no need to intervene. In the non-ideal world, however, human rights violations are still present and thus humanitarian interventions are a necessity. Central to the discussion of this dissertation is the dilemma of applying an ideal theory to the problems of the non-ideal world. This dissertation sets out to identify the theoretical challenges that cosmopolitanism aces when applying its ideal principles to the problem of humanitarian intervention. The major objective of this thesis was to clarify how cosmopolitans approach the issue of right agent for humanitarian intervention. Cosmopolitanism calls for extensive reforms in the global order to handle more effectively the question of large-scale fundamental human rights abuses present in the imperfect world order. Thus the purpose of this thesis is to explore the possible alternatives to the current governance of humanitarian intervention from the perspective of cosmopolitanism, by asking who would be the most legitimate agent to authorize and undertake a humanitarian intervention. With that aim, the thesis identified the premises underlying the cosmopolitan conception of humanitarian intervention, and analyzed the arguments of the leading contemporary cosmopolitan thinkers and weighed them critically against one another. The findings of this dissertation suggest that cosmopolitanism provides normative guidance for the non-ideal world by (1) establishing the ideal global order and (2) offering guidelines to approximate that ideal. As according to cosmopolitanism the agents for humanitarian intervention in the real world lack legitimacy, they propose reforms to create the ideal agents, which would offer a much more effective protection of human rights. However the theoretical exploration conducted in the dissertation suggested that this needs to be approached with caution since there are certain limitations involved when applying the ideal theory to the non-ideal world.