Legitimacy of Use of Force in International Relations

Topics: United Nations, International relations, International law Pages: 6 (1891 words) Published: July 9, 2013
NAME: Abraham Kuol Nyuon

NUMBER: 1261936

WORDS: 1,499

MODULE: Warfare and International Relations, 7SSWM178, Term 3, 12-13

TITLE: How ‘global’ is the principle of legitimacy in international relations?


How ‘global’ is the principle of legitimacy in international relations? There is an increase debate among sovereign states, NGOs, INGOs, CSO, UN and other international organization on the legitimacy of the use of office in the international relations for self-defense, pre-emptive attack and humanitarian intervention. This essay will investigate the globality of the principle of legitimacy in the international Relations. This will be done by examining the historical development of the use of force, the legal standards for use of force and practical example of the use of force which qualify the principle of the legitimacy of the use of force in the global perspective as follows.

Firstly, the principle of the legitimacy of the use of force in the international relations can be traced back to the time of Aquinas and Grotius who strongly believes that, the rules governing the application for use of force in the society are obvious and simply governed by primitive societies.1 Therefore, Aquinas and Grotius were support by Brownlie who spelt out that norms are vital in the application of force in the international system through exploration of the concept of just war theory advanced by Cicero and Aquinas who says, war can be justified on three basis such as the application by authority of the sovereign state, for the just course and done for right intention.2 Moreover, another phase in the development was during the period of the league of nations as emphasized by Blokker wrote that, the League of Nations was established to regulate great wars in order to avoid the escalation of unwanted wars by surprise to sovereign States, in his view, this international institution was mandated to regulate the utilization of force in the international system as a mechanism of promoting international peace and security which made

1 2

Hart, H (1999), p.91 Brownlie, (1963), Pp.4-5

it to succeed in the earlier years of inception,3 but Cecil negate this position by emphasizing that, the League of Nations had failed in maintaining international peace and security in 1930s because the role of maintaining international security was given to sovereign states who are members of the League leading to the formation of another institution known as the United Nations to maintain and promote international Peace and security in 1945.4 The historical concept for legitimizing the principle of the use of force in the international system is support by Neo-liberalist school of thought which emphasized the formation of international body to oversee international rules, norms and regulation in regard of maintaining international peace and security.

Secondly, this section will analyze the principle of Legitimacy in the international Relations. It should be noted that the essence of global legitimacy in the international politics had stir a debate because it is regarded as a vital variable establishing the relationship between the application of power, global governance and authority by sovereign States or International organizations. Many scholars believed that, there is a general agreement to the concept of the principle of legitimacy in the international relations due to globally recognized norms by the member States of the international community.567 In understanding this concept, Schabert post a question where the principle of legitimacy should be a simple description of social reality or treated as generally accepted as normative theory?8 Grafstein answer Schabert question by viewing the concept of the principle of legitimacy as split-up of facts as well as values which reduce legitimacy to

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Blokker,(2005), pp.5-6 Cecil, R (1961), p.348 5 Frank, (1990), p.19 6 Clark, (2003), Pp.79-80 7...

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Ronzitti, N (2002), The Current Status of the Principles Prohibiting the Use of Force and Legal Justifications of the Use of Force, Rome: Instituto Affari Internazionali. Schabert, T (1986), Power, Legitimacy and Truth: Reflections on the Impossibility to Legitimize Legitimations of Political Orders, in Moulakis, A (ed.) Legitimacy, New York: Walter de Gruyter Steffek, J (2003), The Legitimation of International Governance: A Discourse Approach, European Journal of International Relations, Vol.9, No.2, Pp.249-275. Walzer, M (2004), Arguing about War, New Haven: Yale University Press.
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