Michael Walzer on Just War and Humanitarian Intervention

Michael Walzer is one of America's leading political philosophers. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and editor of Dissent, a left-wing quarterly of politics and culture. He has written on a wide range of topics, including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic and a member of the editorial board of Philosophy & Public Affairs. To date he has written 27 books and has published over 300 articles, essays, and book reviews. He is a member of several philosophical organizations including the American Philosophical Society.

  • Transcript


Michael Walzer: Yes, I think, I think Darfur is the obvious place, and what's important to understand is it doesn’t require the United States. The Vietnamese army stopped the killing in Cambodia. The Indian army stopped the killing in East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. The Tanzanian army shut down the murderous regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. There was the UN force of 5000 soldiers in Rwanda when the killing began, and the commander of that force told the Secretary General "I can stop this" with 5000 soldiers who did not have all of the high-tech stuff that American, the American army deploys. Humanitarian intervention can be... you can work with a division of labor, doesn’t have to be the United States. Other regional associations other, other countries can do this work, and we should sometimes provide political support, we should sometimes provide logistical or financial support, but it doesn’t have to be American troops and clearly, in the Sudan, we cannot invade another Muslim country. We are in no position morally or politically to do that. So would have to be somebody else who went into Darfur.

Recorded on: 2/27/08