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Humanitarian intervention and foreign policy in the Conservative-led coalition

Beech, Matt; Oliver, Timothy


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Dr Matt Beech
Reader in Politics and Director of the Centre for British Politics

Timothy Oliver


This paper examines the role of humanitarian intervention as a tool of foreign policy in the Conservative-led Coalition. The first section of the paper provides historical context and assesses the traditional approaches to humanitarian intervention as an instrument of foreign policy of Conservative governments since the end of the Cold War. This analytical narrative considers the Major Government's response to the Bosnian War. The second section of the paper considers the Conservative-led Coalition's approach to humanitarian intervention in two ways: first by an examination of the influence of Blair's humanitarian intervention and secondly, by an evaluation of British involvement in the Libyan Revolution of 2011. The third and final section of the paper offers an explanatory interpretation of the Conservative-led Coalition's humanitarian intervention. This interpretation is predicated on an English School theoretical framework for understanding international relations and, in particular, advances the argument that the global worldview of David Cameron, William Hague and their liberal Conservative colleagues can be understood as solidarist.


Beech, M., & Oliver, T. (2014). Humanitarian intervention and foreign policy in the Conservative-led coalition. Parliamentary affairs, 67(1), 102-118.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2013
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2013
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Parliamentary affairs
Print ISSN 0031-2290
Electronic ISSN 1460-2482
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 67
Issue 1
Pages 102-118
Keywords Humanitarian intervention, British foreign policy, Conservative-led coalition
Public URL
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Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Parliamentary affairs following peer review. The version of record (The Conservatives in Coalition: Principles, Politics and Power. -- Matt Beech and Timothy J. Oliver. Humanitarian Intervention and Foreign Policy in the Conservative-led Coalition Parliam Aff (2014) 67 (1): 102-118 first published online September 30, 2013 doi:10.1093/pa/gst024) is available online at:


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