Ethnicity, Nationalism and the State

Serbian post card of NATO Bombing

"Attacks against civilians are probably inevitable in any supposedly humanitarian intervention. Every nation has the right to defend itself, and at the level of practical politics, a nation that is attacked will try to resist the attacker. Winning the war thus requires defeating not only the army, but the nation: the civilian population. Thus the decision to attack a sovereign state is, logically, a decision to attack the civilian population of that state, not just the military. NATO's targeting of the civilian infrastructure of Serbia (and earlier, of Iraq), is thus logical, and the constant repetition that "NATO never targets civilians" was hypocritical, presumably meant to obscure the uncomfortable fact that humanitarian intervention requires the committing of humanitarian war crimes. At this point, the greatest triumph of the human rights movement, "humanitarian intervention," is revealed as its greatest defeat, because it transforms what had been a moral critique against state violence into a moral crusade for massive violence by stronger states against weaker ones. "

Robert M. Hayden, "Biased 'Justice:' Humanrightsism and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia," Cleveland State Law Review 47 (#4): 571 (1999).

Associated Faculty Members

headshot
Professor
headshot
Assistant Professor
headshot
Professor
headshot
Professor
headshot
Associate Professor
headshot
Emeritus Associate Professor
headshot
Professor Emeritus
headshot
Assistant Professor, Africana Studies
headshot
Andrew Mellon Professor
headshot
Lecturer & Director of Undergraduate Studies
headshot
Assistant Professor