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Author examines U.S. intervention in war-torn regions (Released: 12/21/95)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- American and international intervention in war-torn regions such as Bosnia and Somalia is debated in a book co-written by University of Connecticut philosophy professor Robert Phillips, Humanitarian Intervention: Just War vs. Pacifism.

The book addresses the problem of urgent humanitarian need created by war and deals with the question of whether is it moral to intervene militarily t o alleviate this need. The book also debates whether interventionary forces should seek to resolve the conflict and create a just social order.

We have a moral obligation to go into countries if a state is massacring its citizens, said Phillips, director of the War and Ethics Program at UConn s West Hartford campus.

Phillips believes that intervention in Bosnia is necessary on humanitarian grounds, but is skeptical about the success of the mission.

Intervention in Bosnia is warranted, but we must help these people establish political institutions that will sustain and protect their rights on a long-term basis, he said. The weakness of the Dayton Accords lies in its lack of such strong guarantees.

Phillips, who has been at UConn for 15 years, was assisted by co-author Duane Cady, a professor of philosophy at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., who takes a different point of view.

Cady feels that military intervention is never justified under any circumstances. He says peace can be better obtained by economic embargoes, political pressure and aggressive negotiations.

Military intervention can satisfy the urge to do something immediate in the face of horror, Cady said. Intervention cannot create and sustain conditions of genuine positive peace because they must come from within, by cooperation, which force cannot create.

Throughout the book, each author makes his case for or against intervention in foreign countries and then responds to the other s argument. Over the course of their debate, the authors describe the range of values and issues facing governments as they consider intervention.

Humanitarian Intervention, published by Rowman & Littlefield, will be available in bookstores in early January.

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