The Past, Present, and Future of Intervention

Review of International Studies

Author/s (editor/s):

George Lawson, Luca Tardelli

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Cambridge University Press

George Lawson and Luca Tardelli, ‘The Past, Present, and Future of Intervention’, Review of International Studies, 39(5) 2013: 1233-53.

Despite the prominent place of intervention in contemporary world politics, debate is limited by two weaknesses: first, an excessive presentism; and second, a focus on normative questions to the detriment of analysis of the longer-term sociological dynamics that fuel interventionary pressures. In keeping with the focus of the Special Issue on the ways in which intervention is embedded within modernity, this article examines the emergence of intervention during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, assesses its place in the contemporary world, and considers its prospects in upcoming years. The main point of the article is simple – although intervention changes in character across time and place, it is a persistent feature of modern international relations. As such, intervention is here to stay.

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