Since the end of the Cold War era, the international community has gained a bit more space to maneuver in the quite opaque realm of interventions in conflict environments. On the one hand, we find the most potent powers to assume and to exert military power in order to quench or to stop a local conflict (think Libya, think Somalia). But at the same time, realities and politics suggest that the international community does not just stop with ending a conflict but that there is much more external intervention into structures and contexts of societies to the extent that a recurrence to violence can be mitigated.
The issue is not the intervention into a conflict area itself – as a matter of protecting human rights, one needs to agree that intervening in order to stop and alleviate suffering is a sound proposition. Rather, the question should be to what extent does a culture of intervention transform the local societies being subjected to this intervention and what dynamics and complexities take place throughout the nation-building process, initiated by the intervention of the international community.
To this day, the impact of intervention in terms of the creation of democratic conditions to render peace sustainable remains unexplored and often times elusive. This is mainly due to the fact that research and practice is looking at two independent variables without a more systemic understanding of the linkages between the practice of a culture of intervention and the creation of a new society. But new societies change also the culture of the intervener and we need to get a better understanding of these dynamics if we want to move towards a new culture of intervention and reflect better on the responsibility to protect and international humanitarian law.
In the coming posts, I am opening the debate through a new series looking at understanding the dynamics taking place between the intervener and the intervened.
You comments and feedback are always welcome.