Jus Post Bellum and Externally Imposed Regime Change
Stefano Recchia (Cambridge)
Influential contemporary theorists of jus post bellum, including Brian Orend, Gary Bass, Michael Walzer, and Michael Doyle, suggest that external interveners have a duty to establish representative democratic governance structures in “genocidal states” that have recently experienced large-scale, politically motivated violence against civilians. Against this view, I argue that regardless of a society’s recent history, efforts by foreign interveners to impose representative democracy are incompatible with the liberal internationalism that those authors profess to follow. Building on Rawls’s Law of Peoples, I argue that external peacebuilders ought to establish—forcibly if needed—“decent” governance structures that guarantee basic human rights protection and allow for meaningful popular self-determination. Yet efforts by outsiders to move beyond such decent governance structures pre-emptively resolve questions of institutional design that each people should best work out for itself, and consequently they are paternalistic to a degree that is difficult to justify from a liberal standpoint concerned with self-determination. There are also consequentialist reasons for preferring merely decent governance structures to representative democracy, unless the latter is freely chosen by the recognized representatives of the local population: the establishment of decent governance structures that build on local notions of political legitimacy facilitates the emergence of stable peace, or what Rawls calls “stability for the right reasons,” whereby a society’s members internalize the principles of justice embodied in a society’s institutions and act accordingly. By contrast, as classical liberals like J.S. Mill and Giuseppe Mazzini well understood, if outsiders impose more demanding, potentially alien notions of representative democracy on a society, it may be much more difficult to establish a self-sustaining peace.
Discutante : Marine Guillaume (CERI-Sciences Po)
Lieu: CERI, 56, rue Jacob, Paris 6, salle du conseil (4ème étage)