A Policy Analysis on the Cost of Protecting Human Life

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 2, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece.

Humanitarian intervention is an increasingly popular foreign policy tool used to stop international war crimes. The United Nations‘ Responsibility to Protect, which promotes military intervention as a final effort to halt crimes against humanity, is one of the most controversial policies in international affairs. Advocates laud its moralistic and political justifications. Although many experts have studied whether this is a successful moral and political policy, the economic success of Responsibility to Protect has been largely unstudied. This article evaluates the economic merits of this policy from the perspective of the intervened country, with the Kosovo Conflict as the case study. It undertakes a costbenefit analysis to evaluate the economic impact of different military intervention options and the potential outcomes of non-intervention. The results suggest that Responsibility to Protect, as it stands, is generally not cost-effective. However, if the suggested recommendations are implemented, Responsibility to Protect may not only become the best moral and political choice, but the most cost-effective choice as well.

Find the full version of this article in PDF form here.

Meghan Stubblebine is M.P.P. / J.D. candidate at the College of William & Mary.