May 11, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 16

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    Olin Center conference to focus on military intervention

    By William Harms
    News Office

    The John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy will present a conference titled Dilemmas of Humanitarian Military Intervention Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 14, in the third-floor theater of Ida Noyes Hall.

    “The conference will bring together people of diverse theoretical and practical perspectives to reflect on the implications and problems of this novel combination of means and ends––waging war to protect people in another sovereign state against oppression, expulsion or massacre,” said Nathan Tarcov, Professor on the Committee on Social Thought and Director of the Olin Center.

    Tarcov said conference participants will examine a number of critical issues in the wake of the war over Kosovo, including What perspectives does political philosophy provide to justify, forbid or limit humanitarian interventions? What are the implications of humanitarian ends for allowable means? Are the interventions only to be employed against weaker countries? What can be learned from earlier historical experiences?

    Additionally, the conference will look at other implications of action, such as the responsibilities brought on by military occupation and civil administration in the territory involved and the impact of interventions on the ability of intervening powers to respond to traditional threats.

    The conference opens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, with a talk titled “Making War to Keep Peace: When is it Legitimate? Prudent? Necessary? When is it not Legitimate?” by Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, professor of government, Georgetown University.

    Also speaking at the opening session are Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, who will present “Saintly Strategy or the Humanitarian Expulsion of Politics from War,” and Pierre Hassner, research director of the Centre d’Études et de Recherches Internationales, who will speak on “Kosovo, East Timor, Chechnya: How Inconsistent Can One Get?”

    Two speakers will give presentations Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. Clifford Orwin, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, will speak on “Wars for the End of History?” followed by a presentation by Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School, who will speak on “Just War and Humanitarian Intervention.”

    Afternoon presentations, which begin at 2:30 p.m., will be given by Michael Desch, professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, on “Should the Military ‘Do Windows?’ Humanitarian Intervention and Civil-Military Relations;” Adam Wolfson, executive editor of Public Interest, on “A Rooseveltian Foreign Policy––TR not FDR;” and Charles Fairbanks, professor at the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute, who will deliver a lecture titled “Humanitarian Coercive Diplomacy or Humanitarian War?”

    At 10 a.m. Sunday, May 14, Joseph Joffe, editor of Die Zeit and visiting professor at the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, will present a lecture titled “Kosovo: The West’s Last War of Conscience?” and Martin Palous, deputy minister of foreign affairs for the Czech Republic will speak on “The Sercurity Debate After 1989––A Central European Point of View.”