The Impact of Foreign Interventions on Democracy and Human Rights

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Table of contents

(8 chapters)

This chapter falls into line with the study about the possible incentives of interventions and their impact on democratic institutions to emphasize the need to differentiate between different military interventions and their effects on democratic institutions in the target states. The chapter theoretically builds on the Selectorate Theory (Mesquita et al. 2003) and also dialogues with liberal (Hoffmann 1997) and realist perspectives (Choi 2016) on foreign policy related to the liberal world order, human rights, economic and security interests.


This chapter reviews the literature to contextualize the intervention in the post–cold war era characterized by the momentum of globalization dominated by informal actors beside the legal authority of the state. It indicates how these actors deviate the primary purpose of the humanitarian intervention and create an ungovernable environment of the state particularly when interventions are operated in countries endowed with natural resources. The case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) serves as a model to ascertain such phenomenon in which actors such as states involved in intervention come in collusion with shadow elites, lobbyists and multinational companies to establish clandestine networks of illegal exploitation and smuggling of natural resources. The chapter winds up by suggesting the redefinition of policies of interventions to keep humanitarian intervention in its primary mission while holding actors involved in illegal and smuggling of natural resources accountable.


The foreign intervention in Libya in 2011, legitimized by the Security Council Resolution 1973, whose veto is a privilege of solely five most powerful countries (at least from post-1945 war standpoint), not only reveals that same practice of the past still valid in international affairs today but also results in overthrowing Gaddafi regime, and most importantly in destabilizing a once stable nation, which can now be seen as a failing state.


The geopolitical phenomenon commonly known as ‘France-Africa’ (Gourévitch 1997) is the fruit of the historical and political relations that France as a colonizing power has maintained and continues to maintain to this day with its former colonies in Africa. Before the colonial period, Africa was originally made up of autonomous political entities (states). 1 The current mapping of African states is the result of the European political will expressed at the Berlin Conference held from 15 November 1884 to 26 February 1885. 2


This chapter addresses the relationship between foreign interventions and the democracy of the intervened country. In other words, I discuss how foreign interventions have affected the quality of the democratic institutions of the country that is being intervened. Latin America has been chosen for this endeavour, and more specifically, three countries have been chosen as case studies: Nicaragua, Cuba and Brazil. Furthermore, I analyze two types of foreign interventions: military and economic interventions. Nicaragua, Cuba and Brazil have experienced both types of interventions. In order to do this comparison, I look at the predominant interventionists in Latin America: the United States and China.

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