Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
humanitarian intervention, realism, constructivism, global givil society, costs, security
In explaining the causes of humanitarian interventions,constructivism, an emerging international relations theory, emphasizes the power of humanitarian norms in prompting states to respond to humanitarian crises. Realism, in contrast, contends that norms have little influence; security and material interests drive foreign policy. These schools of thought are at an impasse. While it is clear that states have undertaken interventions to protect human rights and end crimes against humanity, it is also clear that states often forego humanitarian intervention when wide-scale atrocities are being committed. The purpose of this project is to examine when norms matter by identifying the conditions under which states are likely to intervene for humanitarian reasons. I will do this by looking at US decision-making during crises in Somalia, Darfur, and Libya. By doing this, I will attempt to bridge the gap between constructivism and realism by specifying precisely when norms matter enough to compel state action and when their influence is insufficient.
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Purinton, Tyler D. Mr, "Intervention or Inaction: Bridging the gap between realism and constructivism by examining American decision-making in humanitarian crises" (2014). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 18.