Healing Humanity: Global Biopolitics and the Surgical Strike
This paper seeks to add some critical theoretical dimensions to contemporary jus in bello debates, via an investigation of the sovereignty questions that arise in relation to humanitarian intervention and an analysis of the discourses of just war that have accompanied such interventions. Through an analysis of the terms 'global humanity', 'humanitarian exception', and 'surgical strikes', I aim to show that contemporary just war theory feeds into a biopolitical understanding of the world in Jeremy Moses 'Healing Humanity' which powerful Western states, led by the United States, claim sovereignty over all 'people' everywhere. What is being claimed, in other words, is that a new 'human' empire is being constructed, and that this development is recognisable in the debates surrounding jus in bello. Consequently, the argument will be made that the return of just war theory reflects the impossible dream of forging a peaceful world order under a US-led 'benevolent hegemony', and that this fantasy, held by neoconservatives and liberal internationalists (or globalists) alike, has driven the larger part of Western military activity since the end of the Cold War. Beyond this initial concern, I will argue that the terms of the debates over jus in bello are extremely dangerous, insofar as they seek to give firm moral standing to the use of military force on humanitarian grounds.