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International Politics Nations, Their Interests, and Their Competitors.

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Old 02-12-2008   #1
marct
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Default Responsibility to Protect (R2P): Catch All

This is being sponsored by my department and I have been asked to distribute it. It's at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada

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COVE Public Lecture

Human Rights and the Responsibility to Protect: From Theory to Practice
Thursday, February 28, 2008
8:00 pm
102 Azrieli Theatre

Speaker: Louise Fréchette

Currently a distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation of Waterloo, Madame Fréchette was Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (1998 to 2006), Ambassador to Argentina and Uruguay (1985-1988), Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1992-1994), Associate Deputy Minister of Finance (1995), and Deputy Minister of National Defence (1995-1998). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Trudeau Foundation and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.

Abstract:
The end of the Cold war marked the beginning of a new era for Human rights. With more countries embracing democracy and the rule of law, the international community was able to agree on many initiatives aimed at strengthening international human rights institutions. It also adopted a more interventionist stance, deploying new- style peace missions charged with much more than just monitoring ceasefires. The concept of the “responsibility to protect” which embodies this new vision was formally adopted in the fall of 2005, thanks in large part to the efforts of Canada. Its application in the numerous cases of gross abuse of human rights still raging in various parts of the world is proving problematic, however. With the political winds changing and sobering experiences on the ground, how strong is the commitment to Human rights and the “responsibility to protect”? Are the improvements in international Human Rights cooperation irreversible or are we at risk of reverting to the times when sovereignty and non-intervention reigned supreme?


Co-sponsored by Carleton University’s Centre on Values and Ethics, the Centre for Security and Defence Studies, and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.
As a side note, if you are in Ottawa and are going to attend, shoot me a PM.



Marc
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Old 02-13-2008   #2
Rex Brynen
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Default R2p

It would be interesting to hear what Louise Fréchette has to say.

I'm struck how much the entire language of R2P has been struck from the current (Harper) government's vocabulary because it is viewed as a Liberal invention--even though the concept could be quite usefully deployed in support of the current Canadian ISAF mission.
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Old 01-22-2014   #3
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Default Hawks for humanity

Fascinating and worrisome article, the self-righteous would love to full control of the military.

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinion...-humanity.html

Quote:
The human rights industry does a lot of noble work around the world. And yet many of the field’s most prominent figures and institutions have lately taken to vocally endorsing acts of war. Where does this impulse come from? On what grounds is it justified? And how’s the hawkish stance working out, given a decade of strategic and humanitarian debacles for Washington and its allies?
Quote:
Liberal hawks respond to skepticism over their bellicosity with an invented pedigree of successful humanitarian wars, wheeling out India’s armed intervention in East Pakistan in 1971, which halted a genocide and created Bangladesh, or Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in 1978, which ended the Khmer Rouge, or Tanzania’s invasion of Uganda in 1979, which brought down Idi Amin. What they fail to mention is that these wars weren’t simple humanitarian interventions but attacks motivated almost entirely by national self-interest, conducted to stem massive, destabilizing influxes of foreign refugees from a bordering nation.
Author ends with this:

Quote:
The itchy trigger finger of the human rights industry is symptomatic of the atrophy of diplomacy and dealmaking in favor of the militarization of statecraft.
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Old 02-20-2014   #4
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Default Moderator adds

I have merged two main threads and five SWJ Blog threads into this R2P thread following the catalyst of an academic discussion yesterday.

As CAR and Syria show today R2P has not gone away as an issue, although I fear many within and outside government would prefer it did.
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Old 06-18-2014   #5
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Default Demolition 4 a R2P advocate

In a very direct 'rejoinder' Patrick Porter, a UK-based Australian academic, responds to Ann-Marie Slaughter's recent NYT column. He starts with:
Quote:
Anne-Marie Slaughter argues that America should enter the fighting in Syria and Iraq. In doing so, she argues that there is little distinction between strategic interests and humanitarian impulses. I’m personally, fearfully, sympathetic towards some assistance to the Iraq state in denying ISIS control of whole cities. But Slaughter’s cosmology is truly startling.
In an article that begins in self-pity, and ends in glib counter-factuals, she makes it all sound so simple.
Link:http://offshorebalancer.wordpress.co...rie-slaughter/
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Old 03-28-2011   #6
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Default Libya and the Responsibility to Protect

Libya and the Responsibility to Protect

Entry Excerpt:

Libya and the Responsibility to Protect
by Charli Carpenter

Download the Full Article: Libya and the Responsibility to Protect

There has been a fair amount of debate over Obama’s decision to join Western powers in using force to protect civilians in Libya. Among various refrains is the claim that “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine lacks moral strength if applied selectively.

According to this line of thinking, the international community can’t legitimately go after Qaddafi if it won’t/can’t also go after every other dictator. However, it is important to recall that R2P doctrine, as laid out by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty and acknowledged as a legal principle in several multilateral documents, actually promotes military force for civilian protection not in every case where it might be merited, but rather only in limited circumstances mapping roughly onto just war theory.

Download the Full Article: Libya and the Responsibility to Protect

Charli Carpenter, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, is the author of two books on the protection of civilians. She blogs about human security and asymmetric warfare at The Duck of Minerva and Lawyers, Guns and Money.



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Old 09-20-2011   #7
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Default R2P is the New COIN?

R2P is the New COIN?

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Old 01-06-2012   #8
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Default Responsibility to Protect?

Who has a responsibility to protect the people of this world?
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Old 01-06-2012   #9
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Default Responsibility to Protect

MikeF,

This concept is not new and I'm sure JMM will chime in from the international law aspect. My own historical understanding is that it really came to have an impact after 1918, principally through the post-war treaties in Europe and the League of Nations work, again mainly in Europe, e.g. Silesia. Within a relatively short time history shows the concept, let alone the practice died and has had periods of life again, principally via the UN.

IMHO it is a mixture of shame and politics - invariably after genocide, border changes - not regime change.

In 2011 certain advocates, I think mainly American, started to espouse R2P and expanded the concept and application. My objection to R2P was the apparent thinking the USA and maybe a few others had this responsibility.

Was there not a thread on the theme? On a quick search one thread in 2008 about a lecture in Canada and two SWJ items.
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Old 01-06-2012   #10
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David,

Keep this thread open. Given the strategy decision yesterday, this is the coming policy debate.
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Old 01-06-2012   #11
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Default Responsibility = Requirement

I'm not up on the full history of the concept, but do recall some sort of UN endorsement back in 2005 or so. I believe many advocate tend to tie it with the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It began, I think, as sanctioning of multi-lateral action to protect against genocide, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity. All of that seems fine until you peal back the onion.

By use of the word "responsibility" a requirement is implied. Responsibility equates to an affirmative act. In other words, when one is responsible for something, one must affirmatively act in furtherance of that responsibility. But who, on the international stage, has the capability to act? Often that would be the US as we possess the ability to project and maintain power globally. So is this simply a doctrine advocating a requirement for the US to act in furtherance of human rights interests that, while noble, may not comport with national interest, particularly in a budget tightened post-GWOT environment? It would seem so. Change "responsibility" to "right," and thereby empower rather than require nation-states to act and maybe we come closer to the mark. However, other problems arise.

The inability of the US to afford such a strategy/doctrine/whatever, is not really the main issue. The crux of this issue is the breakdown of notions of post-Westphalian sovereignty. Sovereignty is the heart of the UN Charter, right alongside the prohibition of the use of force as a staple of international relations. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Doctrine weakens both of these concepts. To be sure, the concept may indeed have noble underpinnings but its advocates have failed to look at its unintended consequences. Might the doctrine be used as a cover for otherwise illegal use of force under international law? Sure.

As an example, assume the illegality of the Iraq invasion (trying to avoid a political discussion outside the main topic here). Rather than argue WMD, the US, under R2P, could simply have pointed to Saddam's genocidal activity against the Kurds and/or the Shiites. Had this been the main argument in a world that accepts R2P, the invasion would have had international sanction. Its all in how something is presented I guess.

Another issue, related to the erosion of UN Charter principles, is the Libya operation. Many pointed to R2P as justification. The Charter only allows the UNSC to sanction use of force when a breach to international peace and security occurs. At the time the UNSC authorized the use of force in Libya, the threat to peace was strictly internal to Libya. Even the refugee situation had not yet risen to a substantial problem. However, even if it had, I would hardly think refugees to qualify as an international breach of peace and security given that its has occurred, and is occurring, in many places without UNSC action.

Lastly, look at Syria. Certainly, the possibility of an international breach of peace and security is much higher there than in Libya when the UNSC took action yet no action has been taken. Why? How can R2P be advocated when it cannot or will not be evenly applied? Also, where does one draw the line? What ends may be sought in an R2P intervention? Should it only encompass the crimes against humanity type issues or lesser issues as well? The Libya operation would seem to indicate something less. If this be the case, then can China be subject to R2P due to its human rights violations? Could Russia? And what of internationalists that argue American human rights violations due to the death penalty, vestiges of racism, etc.? Of course, these three nation-states will not be subject to R2P due to their massive militaries. So then does R2P become merely another post-colonial tool for the developed world to play cop for the undeveloped world?

Fascinating topic because there is much more than meets the eye here. I look forward to reading the thoughts of others.
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Old 01-06-2012   #12
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Default Another way to look at it

All along throughout the Cold War it was but a dream and an illusion that we were protecting anyone other than ourselves. Can we really force others to change their ways and transform societies?
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Old 01-06-2012   #13
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Default Human rights, citizens’ rights.

Mahmood Mamdani’s book Saviors and survivors deals provocatively but well IMHO with the topic(s) under discussion in this thread.

Quote:
If the rights of the citizen are pointedly political, the rights of the human pertain to sheer survival; they are summed up in one word: protection. The new language refers to its subjects not as bearers of rights—and thus active agents in their own emancipation—but as passive beneficiaries of an external ‘responsibility to protect.’ (pp. 274–75)
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Old 01-08-2012   #14
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
Who has a responsibility to protect the people of this world?
I specifically posted my thoughts without reading any of what I'm sure are good responses. My very first thoughts were:

No one has the responsibility to protect the people of the world. They have the responsibility to protect themselves, inasmuch as they self-identify as a tribe, a sect, a state with recognized borders, etc.

You want protection? Form alliances and pacts with stronger or peer neighbors, as with NATO or the Arab League. Don't start sh*t you can't or don't want to finish, when somebody bigger comes around and doesn't like what you started. Get up off of your knees and defend yourself, even it requires every fiber of being and the last breath of every able-bodied man and woman.

The notion of protection is slippery, and has been used as the thin veil to cover outright aggression, genocide, and miscalculation on the part of countless nations that have started conflicts. It has also dragged countless states into conflict over issues that they felt were theirs to champion, and where they felt they were protecting something or someone from aggression.

Those were my first thoughts, but I realize that it would have to be a perfect world sort of situation, and I know the world doesn't turn that way as much as I'd like.

The more I thought about it (across, oh, say 30 minutes of watching Wheel of Fortune with my two youngest), I think the question needs to get turned on its head a bit. I think the premise of protecting people comes from some internal wiring that drives the thought that we can (or should at least strive to) achieve Utopia, where there are no haves and have-nots, and where there are no wars if everyone can just get along. That wiring also believes that we can influence other aggressive actors through action, deterrence, etc., and make the root causes of that aggression go away somehow.

Then I went back to the classic adage that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and I remembered my realism theory roots. We will not achieve utopia and states and actors will always attempt to change the environment to improve their position relative to a competitor state. The same can apply to races, sects, etc., I believe.

Protecting people of the world only has true relevance when there is any bearing on our national interests. The rest is just grist for the mills of pundits, politicians, and fools.

The question that needs to be asked first is "why?" Only then can we ask "who?"

Is there a letter "T"?

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Old 01-08-2012   #15
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Default Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift

I'm gonna post this video on the frontpage in a bit. I imagine Slapout will be up on the net later screaming, "See, see, this is what I've been trying to tell y'all all this time ."

Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift

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Paddy Ashdown claims that we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spellbinding talk at TEDxBrussels he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees coming.
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Old 02-04-2012   #16
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Default Syria and R2P

Syria and R2P

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Old 02-07-2012   #17
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Default R2P, COIN, and John Nagl

R2P, COIN, and John Nagl

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Old 07-24-2013   #18
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Default U.S. Urged to Adopt Policy Justifying Intervention (R2P)

U.S. Urged to Adopt Policy Justifying Intervention (R2P)

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Old 08-29-2014   #19
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Default The “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) in Iraq Shouldn’t Just Be About Military Interv

The “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) in Iraq Shouldn’t Just Be About Military Intervention

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Old 01-30-2017   #20
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There is a separate, closed thread that may be relevant to R2P: Mass Atrocity Response Operations
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