International Law and the United States Military Intervention in the Western Hemisphere
This study tackles a controversial topic in international law and contemporary international relations, namely, the legality of intervention by a major power against weaker states within the same geographic region. Specifically, the author examines the practice of United States intervention in the Western Hemisphere, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the United States and its Latin American and Caribbean neighbours.
The work highlights six cases of U.S. intervention-Guatemala in 1954, Cuba in 1961, the Dominican Republic in 1965, Grenada in 1983, Nicaragua in 1985, and Panama in 1989. In each case the United States arguably violated international law and the sovereignty of the states involved but claimed it had a right to intervene to protect the lives of its nationals or to defend its national security against an external threat. These cases amply demonstrate the conflict between international law on the one hand, and regional norms, power politics, and political doctrines on the other. They also illustrate how international law can be manipulated to advance the foreign policy goals of a major power.
The author adopts an interdisciplinary approach, combining international law, political doctrines, international relations theory and historical antecedents, to provide a better understanding of the relationship between a major power and its subordinates and of the relevance of international law in such a relationship.