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Old 03-23-2011, 12:36 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default The R2P Ethical Challenge and Libya

After a few days of thinking about, reading about and discussing the UN resolution to use force in Libya, I've come to think what's most important about the intervention is the extent to which it's a key historical test for the UN doctrine of Responsibility to Protect.

R2P has evolved quickly in the 21st century, probably as a result of long hard thinking about the genocides and human rights atrocities of the 20th century. Samantha Power, now a key advisor to Obama, literally wrote the book on genocide, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, " which won the Pulitzer Prize.

Obama hired her after he read her book, which is consistent with liberal interventionism in general.

The Prize that many humanitarian interventionist activists are keeping their eye on is to enshrine the principle of R2P in international law so that every time there is a crisis, the international community will have a firm consensus and make a rapid military response.

In principle R2P would apply to Darfur, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe or Gaza.

Libya is a big test case. If this intervention fails it will be a major setback for the UN, Obama and the humanitarian intervention community internationally. If it succeeds, it will establish a strong precedent for future interventions.

I'm interested in opinions on this aspect of the conflict. Should there be interventions at all? If so, what's the threshold? Can there be a case-by-case application or do we need clearer and purer general rules? Did the Security Council do the right thing? Can interventions ever be decoupled from parochial national interests? Is it ever okay to kill civilians to save civilians? The UN says we cannot just sit back and do nothing under the assumption that military action is part of the "something" we must do.

What are your thoughts?
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