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Non-interventionism is the forgotten doctrine in international relations.  Perhaps what is more surprising than the fact that it has been forgotten is the speed with which this oblivion has occurred.  Only a generation ago, the doctrine was not only alive and well, it constituted the cornerstone of international relations theory and practice as it had developed since the end of the Second World War.  It had (and continues to have) a much stronger legal status than that enjoyed today by interventionism, whose tenets are based on a very thin legal base and on many para-legal claims which do not stand up to scrutiny.  

Look, for instance, at the "Declaration on Friendly Relations" adopted by the UN General Assembly on 24 October 1970 which stipulated that "No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatsoever, in the internal or external affairs of another 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."

This part of the site will be devoted to resurrecting the lost doctrine of non-interventionism by reminding readers not only of the continuing legal basis for it but also of the prudential and other arguments in favour of it. 



Centre for the Study of Interventionism