National Interest Versus Solidarity: Particular and Universal Ethics in International Life

Nicholas Wheeler, Jean-Marc Coicaud

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book has its origin in the intellectual and political climate of the 1990s, in the geopolitical and normative changes that followed the end of the Cold War.1 During this period, humanitarian interventions in particular became one of the key features of international and multilateral life, and the analysis of their motivation and implementation the topic of heated debates. Few were left indifferent to the suffering of millions of people, which international interventions were meant to alleviate. Yet, since helping meant challenging the mainstream conception of international order – a conception associated with the traditional and somewhat narrow understanding of the principle of national sovereignty (entailing noninterference in the internal affairs of other states) and of national interest – the issue of humanitarian intervention came to divide policymakers, academia and public opinion. Taking a clear and well-thought-out stand on humanitarian intervention, weighing the positive against the negative aspects, proved to be a demanding exercise.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnited Nations University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Print)9789280811476
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2008


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