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Old 01-08-2012   #41
jcustis
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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   #42
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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 01-08-2012   #43
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In the case of the UN, the SC is the Final Decider as to "peace", "international security" - and to Chapter VII actions. Given the concurrence of the permanent members and the acquiescence (or silence) of the General Assembly, the SC actions will be the "law", regardless of what you, I and the woman down the street think of them. . . .

Like Zhivago, you might say to the UNSC: "That only gives you the Power, it doesn't give you the Right." But, I find that of little comfort.
As you are aware international law comes in two varieties: treaties (and the like) and customary international law. Customary law is built upon state practice and evolves over time. Thus, a single act by a state is not enough to constitute customary law. There must be action and acquiescence over time. I think this applies to Inter-governmental bodies such as the UN as well. A one-off action like Libya, even with acquiescence from the General Assembly, can become "law." However, the UNSC can now use Libya as precedence to build upon the concept of R2P (or whatever their basis) which can them become customary law. Only objections can prevent this from occurring. While objections would certainly hold more water if they came from States, sometimes they must come from individuals academia or other organizations. Does this work? Not always, but R2P and the UN Declarations of Human Rights, among other concepts, were initiated by non-state entities.

I guess I am just not as quick to call UNSC action with regard to Libya "law." Of course,m it occurred and nothing will change that, but we must look to next time. So, yes, I do take some small comfort in the evolutionary nature of customary law.
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Old 01-08-2012   #44
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R2P is a slippery slope. Like "controlling WMD" "protecting the populace" sounds honorable and noble, and will be employed to slap an honorable and noble rationale onto all manner of adventures, regardless of the true purpose and intent.

Even when the purpose and intent are largely pure, it is by its very nature the worst possible abuse of the sovereignty of some other nation. The primary duty of government in their exercise of the sovereignty granted them by their populace (be that into one man or a vast conglomerate of democracy) is to "protect the populace."

R2P is the essence of sovereignty when exercised at home. R2P exercised abroad is the essence of overriding the sovereignty of another.

This is so fundamental that it must be placed in the proper context to really appreciate the magnitude of what we are saying.

Sometimes in the exercise of one's own sovereign duties a government gets so carried away that it becomes easier and easier to justify violations of the sovereignty of others in the pursuit of one's own. The US has come to cast too wide of a net over that past 60 years of what we see as our interests and our sovereign duty to protect. This drives a rationalization process as others seeking their own destinies outside of that US-shaped construct push back. What the US needs is not new rationale for violating the sovereignty of others in pursuit of our own, what the US needs is a new assessment of what our sovereign duties truly are. Controlling outcomes was nice, but not necessary. Influence is enough, and it comes at lower costs of almost every variety.
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Old 01-08-2012   #45
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Default the R2P or the States VS the people

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R2P is the essence of sovereignty when exercised at home. R2P exercised abroad is the essence of overriding the sovereignty of another.

R2P can be seen has the obligation of the States to protect their populations against any threat. What Bob calls sovereignty.
But R2p can be seen also as an extension of the regalia power/rights of the States vs their population and then is the basement for legitimacy. In other words, a State apparatus is legitimate when it uses its regalia power to protect the individuals and properties of the population that is under his grip. (Couldn't find a better word but my english is sometimes limited).

What we are witnessing those days is a back fire from the States who felt endangered by the extension of the R2P principle (they do not apply at home) to international relations; the fear from States that R2P would restrein their "independance" and sovereignty.
This is a concervative understanding of R2P which is based on the old principle that aState apparatus has all liberty to act on his soil. (Basically you can do what ever you want to your populations as long as you do not conduct operations out side of your borders).

R2P was used in Ivory Coast and Lybia to support regime change under the argument that government do not have the right to arm their populations (strict application of the R2P at national level extended to the international level on the obligation from others to ensure that a regime in place is applying R2P at national level).
Now, in Russia and DRC, we can witness the back fire of such an audatious move and interpretation of R2P from "progressist countries". We are back to the legitimacy problematic: who is legitimate? the institutions or the people?
R2P tries to impose the people as the source of legitimacy. In response, States are imposing the institutions as the first source of legitimacy, do government protect or not their populations. (Fraudulent elections not respecting the will of the people are nomore a good reason to ban a government)

Further than a legal practice, R2P is an attempt to introduce a real change in what are the basement of a State and in governing practices.
Will take time and the light at the end of the tunnel is far away. But there is still hope that one day, government first priority will be to ensure their population protection against any threat, political, socia;l, natural or man made.
But some say I'm a dreamer.

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Old 01-08-2012   #46
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But there is still hope that one day, government first priority will be to ensure their population protection against any threat, political, social;l, natural or man made.
But some say I'm a dreamer.
One's inability to perform their duties to standard only redefines their duties when their employer submits to accepting this substandard performance.

The people are the "employer" of government. Many populaces have submitted to accepting substandard performance from their employee because they felt they had no other good options. In the modern information age they are much more aware of others who either have more effective employees (governance) or have taken it upon themself to either improve or replace ineffective employees (governance).

The fundamental duty of sovereignty is indeed as M-A describes above. Increasingly government must step up to perform to standard or risk popular action to address their shortcomings (legally where legal means exist, or illegally where such sub-standard employees have written rules to pretext their ineptitude). Also increasingly it is unacceptable to violate the sovereignty of another in the pursuit of one's own interpretation of their own sovereignty. This is where this R2P concept falls apart. I don't know the government wise enough to apply it without doing at least as much harm as good.
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Old 01-08-2012   #47
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Sometimes in the exercise of one's own sovereign duties a government gets so carried away that it becomes easier and easier to justify violations of the sovereignty of others in the pursuit of one's own. The US has come to cast too wide of a net over that past 60 years of what we see as our interests and our sovereign duty to protect. This drives a rationalization process as others seeking their own destinies outside of that US-shaped construct push back. What the US needs is not new rationale for violating the sovereignty of others in pursuit of our own, what the US needs is a new assessment of what our sovereign duties truly are.
And I think two examples of how this mindset could creep into policy and action come from none other than the mouthbreathing Governor of Texas, in the Sat debate, when he tried to put together a cogent sentence on the pending budget cuts and the issue of Iraq:

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“You can’t cut $1 trillion from DOD and expect America’s freedoms aren’t going to be compromised.”

That was the claim stated by Texas Governor Rick Perry in response to a question from WMUR’s political director Josh McElveen about the role of President as a commander-in-chief. The claim, was in reference to Obama’s shrinking of the military, as outlined to the Pentagon earlier this week.
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“I would send troops back into Iraq because I will tell you, I think we start talking with the Iraqi individuals there,” Perry said. “The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that country with all of the treasure both in blood and money that we have spent in Iraq because this president wants to kowtow to this liberal leftist base and move out those men and women.”


Those where my thoughts when I listened to him say that.

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Old 01-11-2012   #48
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One's inability to perform their duties to standard only redefines their duties when their employer submits to accepting this substandard performance.

The people are the "employer" of government. Many populaces have submitted to accepting substandard performance from their employee because they felt they had no other good options. In the modern information age they are much more aware of others who either have more effective employees (governance) or have taken it upon themself to either improve or replace ineffective employees (governance).
Bob,

I would like to introduce here the distinction between subjects and citizens.
In most democracies people are citizens: the employers of the government. They get the government and governance they deserve as it is them who choose. As they can influx on government composition, government is forced to protect them and apply R2P.

In most of the countries where State is failing to assume its protection duty, people are subject of the government. Unlike citizens, subjects have a very limited capacity to influx on government composition and governance.

Failure to implement R2P at national level is mainly taking its roots in such distinction of population status by the ruling persons but also by the population itseld. If people perceive them as the subject of a government, they do not expect State to act in their favor but as a burden at the best and a predator in most of the cases.

R2P effort at international level is all about changing such dynamic.
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Old 01-11-2012   #49
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R2P effort at international level is all about changing such dynamic.
Salut Marc Andre,

I hope all is well. The problem is that most revolutions are violent, and when you force change quickly, i.e. free the subjects, what do you do then?
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Old 01-11-2012   #50
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Default Hey Marc,

The distinction between "citizens" (with avenues of non-violent recourse for "bad governance") and "subjects" (who have no such avenues) is well-known enough. Also, your comment:

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If people perceive them as the subject of a government, they do not expect State to act in their favor but as a burden at the best and a predator in most of the cases.
is, for example, something that we old folks could have heard and read from (e.g.) Bill Corson re: the impossible position of the South Vietnamese peasant who was beset by the Government of South Vietnam (predatory and "bad") and the Communists ("worse").

In that type of situation, a foreign power (IF it can affect the outcome positively at all) has two bad choices - does it select the "lesser" of two evils; or does it simply walk away ?

The experience of the US in Cold War and post-Cold War "peace enforcement" and associated "nation building" has not been positive. Perhaps, it's time to withdraw from that role ?

Regards

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Old 01-12-2012   #51
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Bonne annee Mike and Mike,


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The distinction between "citizens" (with avenues of non-violent recourse for "bad governance") and "subjects" (who have no such avenues) is well-known enough.
Hopefully we do not have to reinvent the wheel every day and at each generation.

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The problem is that most revolutions are violent, and when you force change quickly, i.e. free the subjects, what do you do then?
Quote:
The experience of the US in Cold War and post-Cold War "peace enforcement" and associated "nation building" has not been positive. Perhaps, it's time to withdraw from that role ?
May be there are lessons to learn before throwing the baby with the water of the bath.
The real problematic with state building and the R2P as source of legitimacy is may be in te assumption that people can just jump from subjects to citizen in a snap. West tries to build institutions that are fully functional when people are citizen. And when it does not function, there is the big temptation to go back to enlightened dictatorship on the basic that people are not ready.
What we probably do not fully embrase is why ruling class is such context is always trying to deconstruct gorvernance tools and state apparatus we build for them and refuse to apply R2P.
My personnal opinion would rather go in a flawed evaluation of the ruling class (government, rebels, insurgents...) to actually implement this change from subject to citizen than in a rejectof the R2P principles.

If we look at the great global picture, in fact, result is not that bad. Yes there is, now, back fire from States/institutions against the people (Syria and Russia are good exemples) but this does not mean that the arab spring did not happen and that its offshoots will not blow one day.
The fact that on the fringes of this world, some are finghting against the establishment of democratic institutions and the principle of R2P can be seen as a good sign: we heading in the right direction. This does not mean the road will be easy and the journey without traps.

We have to understand why deconstructing the State and bad governance are so appealing for the new rulers once they are in power.
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Old 01-12-2012   #52
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Default Collaboration for Relief and Recovery in Afghanistan

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We have to understand why deconstructing the State and bad governance are so appealing for the new rulers once they are in power.
Merci Marc. Meet Nancy Roberts, one of the smartest people that I know, and one of my personal mentors. She was brought in by the UN (1998?) to try and facilitate the International Community to work with the Taliban at the end of the civil war. She wrote this paper in 2000.

WICKED PROBLEMS AND NETWORK APPROACHES TO RESOLUTION
by Nancy Roberts

Collaboration for Relief and Recovery in Afghanistan

http://www.idt.unisg.ch/org/idt/ipmr.nsf/0/1f3bcad88f16e7c6c1256c76004be2c4/$FILE/IPMR_1_1_WICKED.pdf

International Public Management Review · electronic Journal at http://www.ipmr.net
Volume 1 · Issue 1 · 2000 · © International Public Management Network
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Old 01-12-2012   #53
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Bob,

I would like to introduce here the distinction between subjects and citizens.
In most democracies people are citizens: the employers of the government. They get the government and governance they deserve as it is them who choose. As they can influx on government composition, government is forced to protect them and apply R2P.

In most of the countries where State is failing to assume its protection duty, people are subject of the government. Unlike citizens, subjects have a very limited capacity to influx on government composition and governance.

Failure to implement R2P at national level is mainly taking its roots in such distinction of population status by the ruling persons but also by the population itseld. If people perceive them as the subject of a government, they do not expect State to act in their favor but as a burden at the best and a predator in most of the cases.

R2P effort at international level is all about changing such dynamic.
Whether one is a "subject" or a "citizen" the ultimate power and the ultimate source of authority always rests within the populace rather than in the government. Governments who forget this find themselves on the business end of any manner of populace delivered "weapons" systems (ballots where ballots count, or bullets where only bullets count).

The duty of every government is the same regardless of system of government in place, though granted, many do not recognize this duty and would scoff at the idea. They whistle past the cemetary when they do so. There is a day of rekoning coming on the back of information technology that is, or will be, a rude shock to many governments. Better to undergo planned, orderly evolution now, but many will wait until forced to act through some form of revolution.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 01-12-2012   #54
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Default My points ....

without belaboring what I've already written in many posts.

1. The US has proved during my lifetime (1942-?) that, with the exception of three military occupation "successes" (Italy, Germany and Japan; where pre-war governmental structures had been well established), it is not ready for primetime in the "nation building" (aka "state building") arena. We (USAians) are better at breaking things.

2. The R2P concept has theoretical validity - is not the prime function of a "good government" (and of its security agencies) to "protect and serve" ? But, the terms that come to mind (e.g., "justice", "democracy", "governance"; just to name three of the many terms that can be used) have different meanings in State A and State B. They may, in fact, have different meanings in different parts of State A (e.g., urban vs rural viewpoints in 1955-1975 SVN).

3. Therefore, a foreign state is at a disadvantage in taking on the indigenous government's R2P role. Experience suggests to me that multiplying the number of foreign states involved does not minimize the disadvantage - and may do more harm than good in the long run.

Like "COIN", "governance" (as seen by me) is an indigenous project. Note that both of these must involve the "political struggle" - which by its very nature must be indigenous.

Regards

Mike
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Old 01-13-2012   #55
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Default interpretations

Mike is spot on with his three points above. The contrast between theoretical viability of R2P and differing meanings is exactly why I cannot support it. It is much to easy for R2P to be perverted and abused.

Some comments have pointed to R2P as emanating from a State's responsibility to protect its own citizens. This, indeed, is the genesis of the theory. However, R2P expands that responsibility to the international community when a State is either unable or unwilling to fulfill its obligation. Thus, when the government of Libya, Syria, or Rwanda (pick a country) acquiesces in the breakdown in security for its population, the international community becomes burdened with that responsibility and should act to alleviate the suffering. From a moral standpoint, most would agree that the concept here is supportable. However, the tendency will always be to exceed that mandate.

In satisfying this new responsibility (new because the "social contract theory" is between a people to establish a government for their own protection; nothing is said about protection of outsiders to the contract), a State will invariably seek regime change. While this may certainly be required under the circumstances, the substitute regime will habitually be made in the same mold as the country conducting the R2P intervention, whether culture dictates it or not. Thus, the intervention morphs into a bellicose chauvinism wherein the populous of the country in which the R2P operation is conducted are "conquered into liberty" (see book of same title by Eliot A. Cohen) whether they desire our version of liberty or not. This brings about the nation-building that Mike correctly points out we are not particularly good at doing.

While there may certainly be instances in which regime change and nation-building are within our national interest (although I know of none currently), not every situation requires COIN-style rebuilding on our part. The realist in me believes we should do only that which serves our interests. R2P imposes burdens that may or may not do that, so we must resist it.
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Old 01-15-2012   #56
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Default international R2P: not a reponsability but a need

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In satisfying this new responsibility (new because the "social contract theory" is between a people to establish a government for their own protection; nothing is said about protection of outsiders to the contract), a State will invariably seek regime change. While this may certainly be required under the circumstances, the substitute regime will habitually be made in the same mold as the country conducting the R2P intervention, whether culture dictates it or not. Thus, the intervention morphs into a bellicose chauvinism wherein the populous of the country in which the R2P operation is conducted are "conquered into liberty" (see book of same title by Eliot A. Cohen) whether they desire our version of liberty or not. This brings about the nation-building that Mike correctly points out we are not particularly good at doing.
I might be wrong but the social contract theory is just about the agreement of power sharing between the rulers and the one who are ruled. THere is nothing there about protecting the people.
By extension this can be interpreted as the contract between the people on how they protect themselves but it is basically only focussed on the legitimacy of the use of violence. (Cf Webber). The excellent book rebel rulers (Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, Cornell University Press) shows very well how insurgents government success or fail to go further than this.

R2P comes with the idea of the Just War: the just use of violence by a government. And, its roots can be found deep in history as the roots of most of the regimes. There are, in fact, very few regime (DRC, North Corea and few others) which openly say: we are here to enjoy power and not protect you. Even the initial social contract of feodality is based on the principle of sharing the responsability to protect (I, noble, protect you and you, peasant, feed me). The R2P is just the formalisation of the moral roots of that contract which has been biased into the only legitimate user of violence are the formal State institutions.

The question, at international level, is not do we have to impose R2P to others but rather: government based on R2P (and respecting and implementing it) are the sole form of acceptable government in this world. As we see the world as a global village, there is a need (and not a responsability) for all to have only neigbours that respect R2P to ensure that all mankind lives in a friendly and respectfull environment. This is a need for all as it participates in building a peacefull global environment which improves each and every country home security. Nothing much altruist in that. (If my neigbours are all nice and friendly, then my personnalsecurity is improved).
Somehow, rejection of R2P makes me think of the rejection of democracy by the European Kingdomes in the 18th century when USA and France made their revolutions.

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While there may certainly be instances in which regime change and nation-building are within our national interest (although I know of none currently), not every situation requires COIN-style rebuilding on our part. The realist in me believes we should do only that which serves our interests. R2P imposes burdens that may or may not do that, so we must resist it.
Quote:
Like "COIN", "governance" (as seen by me) is an indigenous project. Note that both of these must involve the "political struggle" - which by its very nature must be indigenous.
I agree with those both statements as Regime change and Nation building are just tools to achieve the establishment of a government based on R2P. Their use is limited to the formal form of the State not the moral contract that supports and roots the institutions.

Such change, as Mike rightfully spoted it, is indigeneous and can be only indigeneous. Saying that, it does not mean that others do not have a need/interrest in promoting the emergence of such government in its neighbours by making a clear choice among the forces of those indigeneous political struggles.

And it is true that none on this earth is really good at using violence to build.

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Old 01-15-2012   #57
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Default Internationalist and Human Rights

The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History
by Samuel Moyn
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Only after the end of the Cold War in 1990 did the human rights movement affirmatively embrace internationalism as the preferred vehicle for its own utopian vision, alongside an ever more expansive and progressive substantive human rights corpus as international law, including all manner of group, social, and economic rights. International law of human rights joins with international organizations gradually to overtake the nation-state as the source of legitimate authority, at least over questions of rights – which is to say, more or less, over everything. The extent to which the institutions of internationalism—created with the consent and power of national governments but often rooted in intellectual and historical underpinnings vastly different from those of the human rights movement—will actually serve as witting champions for the human rights movement is, however, much less certain.
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Old 01-19-2012   #58
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Default Ok, this is a little too much…

But what else could you expect from UNSG

Quote:
“I am also acutely aware of the need to preserve my own diplomatic space for the crucial moment when the UN’s good offices may be needed.
“Such is the nature of the Responsibility to Protect. It can be a minefield of nuance, political calculation and competing national interests. The result too often is hesitation or inaction. This we can not afford.”
He said that, in a short period of time, the world has embraced the Responsibility to Protect – not because it is easy, but because it is right.
“We therefore have a moral responsibility to push ahead,” he stated. “Together, let us work... with optimism and determination... to make the Responsibility to Protect a living reality for the peoples of the world.”
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.as...to+protect&Cr1
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Old 02-04-2012   #59
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Default Syria and R2P

Syria and R2P

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Old 02-07-2012   #60
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Default R2P, COIN, and John Nagl

R2P, COIN, and John Nagl

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