Philosophy 19A
A Legal Studies Course
Professor Andreas Teuber

Drawing on the reading and your own considered opinion and good judgment, answer the question on the following pages. In giving your answer, articulate what you believe are the most principled grounds for arguing the way you do.

In thinking of objections to your own reasoning, do not just think of any objections that someone might possibly come up with, think of the best possible objections that someone might make, i. e., give yourself a hard time. If you can respond to the other side at its strongest rather than at its weakest point, that can only help to strengthen your own case and make it that much more persuasive.

The paper should be about seven (7) pages in length, preferably typewritten. It is due on Friday, April 16th, in class.

It is Tuesday, March 30, 1999. You pick up a New York Times. Reading the Times front page from left to right, you read the headlines: "UConn Upsets Duke to Grab N.C.A.A. Title" and "Dow Finishes Day Over 10,000 Mark for the First Time" and then in bold, capital letters, the biggest headline of the top three stories of the day:


Further down the page, you read the remarks of James P. Rubin, spokesman for the State Department: "There are indicators that genocide is unfolding in Kosovo," and that there is "no reason to await further confirmation . . . because we can clearly say crimes against humanity are being committed, . . . that abhorrent and criminal actions, I mean on a massive scale, are occurring in Kosovo." You read further and notice reports of "whole towns being ordered to flee by Serbian policemen in paramilitary units, the people robbed along the way and stripped of identity documents down to their cars' license plates." You notice, too, that "accounts appeared to indicate that the Serbian campaign was methodic, organized and systematic."

Reading further still, you read of "other, sinister reports, more difficult to confirm, of killings by the Serbian forces and bodies left by the side of the road, as well as whole villages set afire. A hundred people were said to have been executed in the village of Celine." The refugees that were streaming across the borders into Macedonia and Albania and into the Yugoslav province of Montenegro, at a rate of 2,000 every hour according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, were telling "harrowing stories" of the places from which they had been forced to flee: "Isuf Morina, gray-haired and neatly dressed, described hoiw Serbian forces had selected about 200 men from his village of Krushe and forced them to give the three-fingered Serbia salute before mowing them down with automatic weapons."

The day before you had heard Jamie Shea, the spokesman for NATO in Brussels say on CNN that "we are on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster in Kosovo, the likes of which have not been seen in Europe since the closing stages of World War II" and that NATO was in a "race against time."

You think it somewhat of a cruel irony that these events should be unfolding in Kosovo just now as a philosophy and legal studies course you are taking has begun to discuss under what circumstances, if any, humanitarian intervention by a group of states in the "internal affairs" of another state engaged in systematic human rights violations might be justified. You think to yourself that you are glad that you are not President Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair or Gerhard Schroeder, leaders of the four primary states of the 19 member NATO coalition currently involved in a bombing campaign in the Balkans. You are glad, too, that you are not William Cohen, Secretary of Defense for the United States or, for that matter Madeline Albright, Secretary of State.

The reason you are glad that you are"none of the above" is your strong belief that they are all faced with some very difficult choices in the days ahead, choices that may, in no uncertain terms have consequence not only for the future of the NATO alliance but for the future of the international world order. So you are glad you are a student at Brandeis, somewhat sheltered from the "messiness" of the world. Indeed, all this reading about events unfolding in the Balkans has made you a bit sleepy and although you have only been "up" for a few hours, you decide to return to your room to take a short nap. You lie down on your bed and before you can say "Human Rights Violations," you are alseep.

Suddenly you are rudely awakened by a commotion outside your room. You jump out of bed and rush to your window. There "outside" your window you see several limousines and what appear to be a plethora of secret service agents with walkie-talkies. Someone is getting out of the first limousine: it's President Clinton. Then out of the two other limousines both Madeline Albright and William Cohen emerge. Before you can wonder what these three officials might be doing under your window on a Tuesday, there's a a knock on your door.

"[Insert your First Name Here]. Is that you?"

"[Insert your First Name Here]?" you say.

"[Insert your First and Last Name Here] ," says the voice, as if he was reading from a piece of paper or a student register.

"Yes," you say. And you open the door to find Sandy Berger standing on your doorstep, with the President directly behind him and Madeline Albright behind the President and William Cohen behind Madeline Albright.

"May we come in," Berger says. And without waiting for your answer, he ushers himself, the President, Madeline Albright and William Cohen into your room and gestures to several secret service agents to move into position to stand "watch" at your door.

"Please," you say, "make yourselves comfortable," as each of these four seeks to find a place to sit down in your rather cramped space of a room.

"Well," you say, clapping your hands together and looking from one to the other after everyone seems to have beome settled, "what can I do for you folks," or words to that effect, trying not to indicate the slightest "shock" that President Clinton, Madeline Albright, William Cohen and Sandy Berger are now sitting in your room.

After glancing quickly in the direction of Madeline Albright and William Cohen, President Clinton leans forward, looks you in the eye and says: "We need your advice."

"My advice?" you say, drawing in a quick breath. "Why would you want my advice?"

"We understand," President Clinton continued, " that you are enrolled in a course on Human Rights."

"Philosophy 19A," says Madeline Albright.

"Yes, Philosophy 19A," says William Cohen.

"We understand," President Clinton continued without missing a beat, "that you have been giving considerable thought to the question of humanitarian intervention."

"Oh," you say, somewhat taken aback by this sudden turn of events, "I wouldn't say that."

"Oh," says President Clinton, turning to Sandy Berger. "Is there something wrong with our sources?"

"No, Mr. President," says Sandy Berger, "we have a pretty good information on this one."

"So," says the President, turning back in your direction, "is this true or is this not true."

"It's true," you confess, looking down at your feet. "But," you say, suddenly brightening up, "there are others in the class that have been doing a lot more thinking than I have, a lot, lot more. Perhaps you should talk with one of them."

"We do not have a lot of time," says William Cohen.

"You've read Michael Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars, no?" asks President Clinton.


"And you've had a chance to look at the readings in Internatiuonal Ethics edited by Charles Beitz, in particular David Luban's essay 'On Just War and Human Rights' as well as Michael Walzer's reply to his critics, 'The Moral Standing of States?'"

"Yes, more or less."

"And you've had a chance to look at the hand-outs from the class and to do some of the other reading on the Ethics of Intervention, essays by such notable authors as Thomas Scanlon, Thomas Buergenthal, and Marc Wicclair no?"

"Yes," you say a bit tentatively, thinking to yourself, "Oh my G __ ! President Clinton has done all the reading for the course."

"Here's our problem," Says President Clinton, again leaning forward and looking you in the eye. "My military advisors inform me that NATO cannot bring about an end to atrocities in Kosovo and the ethnic cleansing and slaughter of civilians that is reportedly occurring right now on the ground within that province of the Ferderal Republic of Yugoslavia. We can re-direct our air power against the Serb forces in Kosovo but we are unlikely, or so I am now being told, to be able to make more than a One Per Cent (1%) dent per day in those forces. This has to do, I am told, with the problems we face, with the terrain and and the fact that we are also having to deal with built-up areas and the problems we face due to poor weather in the region. We are therefore not able to do the kind of damage we had hoped to cause from the air that would lead to a call by Slobodan Milosevic for a cease-fire and a pull- back of the Serb military, coupled with an agreement to have a NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. NATO and the United States is thus now faced with having to introduce ground troops into Kosovo to bring about an end to the human rights abuses that are now being reported."

"I see," you say, somewhat amazed that the President is confiding in you about these matters.

"Now," the President says as if he has read your mind, "everything I am telling you is top secret information. You are not to breathe a word of this to anyone. Nor are you to tell anyone that we were here. Is that clear?

"Yes," you say, "very clear."

"Now," the President says, "we do not want your military advice nor do we want your opinion about whether or not ethnic cleansing is really taking place in Kosovo or whether or not there are systematic human rights violations on the order of crimes against humanity being committed. We want you to assume that we shall need to introduce ground troops if we have any hope of there being any Kosovo left to save. We have concluded that if we continue the bombing that we are now carrying out and even if we re- direct our targets, there will, in fact, be no Kosovo left to save, once the fighting is done. In any event we must prepare for every contingency, so we need your advice. We need your advice on the issue of humanitarian intervention. We want you to assume that ethnic cleansing is taking place in Kosovo and that systematic violations of human rights are occurring on a magnitude that calling them 'crimes against humanity' is not too strong a word. Is such an intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia justified if it is carried out solely to bring about an end to the systematic violations of human rights that are taking place?

Now you know, as we know, that The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has insisted that what is happening in Kosovo is a matter of its own domestic jurisdiction, and that it considers what NATO is doing to be a violation of its, Yugoslavia's, right to self-determination. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia also points out that NATO actions in the Balkans violate international law such as the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (adopted by the General Assembly in 1970) which puts forward the principle that no State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are in violation of international law and this principle, this Principle of Non-Intervention exists among all States, whether they are members of the U. N. or NATO or what-have-you.

"We would like you to make an argument for or against humanitarian intervention in Kosovo, think of the most powerful objections that anyone, whether it be Slobodan Milosevic or a Professor from the Fletcher School at Tufts, might make against the argument, and respond to those arguments.

"Surely," you say to yourself, "this must be a dream."

But if it is, it also slowly dawns on you that you shall not wake from this dream until you answer the President's question.

You have until Friday, April 16, to put down your thoughts on approximately seven pages of paper, a paper or, as it might better be called "A Report to the President of the United States on the Arguments For and Against Humanitarian Intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." It is due in Shiffman 219 at Twelve Noon on April 16th, 1999.

You should feel free to make use of the materials Online, such as the Web materials on Eyewitness Reports to Killings in Kosovo and Ksovo Human Rights Flashes, information bulletins from Human Rights Watch


February 14, 1998

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