Non-intervention is the norm in
international relationsthat one statecannot interfere in the internal politics of another state, based upon the principles of state sovereigntyand self-determination
The concept of non-intervention can be seen to have emerged from the system of sovereign
nation states established by the Peace of Westphaliaof 1648. The concept of state sovereigntystates that within the territory of a political entity the state is the supreme power, and as such no state from without the territory can intervene, militarily or otherwise, with the internal politics of that state. The full theoretical underpinning of the norm of non-intervention is best discussed through analysing the principles of sovereigntyand the rightof political communities to self-determination.
The norm of non-intervention has dominated the majority of
international relations, and can be seen to have been one of the principal motivations for the U.S.'s initial non-intervention into World Wars I & II, and the non-intervention of the 'liberal' powers in the Spanish Civil War(see " Non-Intervention Committee"), despite the intervention of Germanyand Italy. The norm was then firmly established into international lawas one of central tenets of the UN Charter, which established non-intervention as one of the key principles which would underpin the emergent post-WWII peace. This however was somewhat optimistic as the advent of the Cold Warled to massive interventions in the domestic politics of a vast number of developing countries among varying pretexts of ' containment' and 'global socialist revolution'. Through the adoption of such pretexts and the establishment that such interventions were to prevent a threat to 'international peace and security' allowed intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter(not to mention the impotence of the UNduring the Cold Wardue to both the U.S. & USSRholding veto power in the United Nations Security Council).
Decline of non-intervention
In the post-cold war era it can however be seen that new emergent norms of
humanitarian interventionare superseding the norm of non-intervention. This is based upon the argument that while sovereignty gives rights to states, it also comes with a responsibility to protectits citizens, an argument based upon social contracttheory. Under this ideal, states can be justified in intervening within other states if that state is failing to protect (or if it is actively involved in harming) its citizens. This has justified UNsanctioned interventions in Northern Iraqin 1991 to protect the Kurdsand in Somaliain the absence of state power. This argument was also used (with strong opposition from Russiaand China) to justify NATOintervention in Kosovo.
This new norm of
humanitarian interventionis far from fully formed, as in all of the UNsanctioned cases the arguments were further couched in Chapter VII threats to international peace and security. This new emergent norm appears to only justify the action of states "if they want to act", and does not create a "duty" of states to intervene.
A Few Words on Non-Intervention" by John Stuart Mill
International relations theory
*Non-Intervention Committee (Spanish Civil War
*Wheeler, N.J. (2003) "The Humanitarian Responsibilities of Sovereignty: Explaining the Development of a New Norm of Military Intervention for Humanitarian Purposes in International Society" in Welsh, J.M. "Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations" Oxford: Oxford Scholorhsip Online, pp. 29-50.
*Walzer, M.J. (2000) "Just and Unjust Wars" New York: Basic Books, pp. 86-108.
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non-intervention — (n.) 1831, from NON (Cf. non ) + INTERVENTION (Cf. intervention) … Etymology dictionary
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non-intervention — ► NOUN ▪ the policy of not becoming involved in the affairs of others. DERIVATIVES non interventionist adjective & noun … English terms dictionary
non-intervention — N UNCOUNT Non intervention is the practice or policy of not becoming involved in a dispute or disagreement between other people and of not helping either side. Generally, I think the policy of non intervention is the correct one. Ant:… … English dictionary
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non-intervention — noun (U) the practice by a government of not trying to influence or become involved in the affairs of other countries or organizations: a policy of non intervention in internal affairs … Longman dictionary of contemporary English
Non-intervention — Non interventionnisme Le non interventionnisme est une politique par laquelle un État ne participe pas aux affaires militaires intérieures ou extérieures d un autre État. Voir aussi Isolationnisme Ce document provient de « Non interventionnisme » … Wikipédia en Français
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NON-INTERVENTION — n. f. T. de Politique Principe du droit des gens en vertu duquel on ne devrait pas intervenir, militairement ou par menace, dans les affaires des autres peuples; Convention par laquelle on s’engage à ne pas intervenir dans les affaires d’un pays … Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)