Wednesday, July 24, 2013

U.S. Urged to Adopt Policy Justifying Intervention

Secretary Albright's report is at this link:  For discussions of R2P my question is what do R2P advocates propose to do about the 23 million people suffering some of the most horrific human rights violations (or crimes against humanity) in the history of mankind in north Korea.  Unfortunately (as in almost every discussion of R2P I have heard or read) that question is not addressed in zSecretary Albright's report.

But the report provides some good background on R2P;  the concept, background and evolution.

July 23, 2013

U.S. Urged to Adopt Policy Justifying Intervention

WASHINGTON — When Samantha Power, President Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, faced senators at her confirmation hearing last week, the first question from Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the ranking Republican, was how she defined an idealistic, if somewhat obscure, foreign policy principle known as “responsibility to protect.”

It was a politically loaded question to a woman who made her name as an academic by arguing that nations have a moral obligation to act against genocide and other mass atrocities.

Ms. Power answered gingerly, saying that when civilians were murdered by their governments, “it’s incumbent on us to look” for ways to halt the bloodshed. But, she was quick to add, the principle is “less important, I think, than U.S. practice and U.S. policy.”

The exchange before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee captured the awkward place that “responsibility to protect” occupies in the Obama administration. A 2005 United Nations initiative that calls on countries to intervene to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities, R2P, as it is known, has been endorsed by the United States and many other countries.

Some administration officials cited R2P to justify Mr. Obama’s backing of NATO-led airstrikes in Libya in 2011, which headed off a potential massacre of rebels by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Yet the administration has said nothing about R2P during two and a half years of bloody civil war in Syria, in which Mr. Obama has resolutely refused to become entangled. In that case, the strategic complexities of the conflict have outweighed any moral imperative to intervene militarily on behalf of Syria’s embattled rebels.

Now, a new report written by Madeleine K. Albright, the former secretary of state, and Richard S. Williamson, a former special envoy to Sudan and foreign-policy adviser to Mitt Romney, argues that the administration should wholeheartedly embrace “responsibility to protect” and explain its importance to the American public.

“R2P sounds like some chemical formula,” Dr. Albright said in an interview. “It’s in many ways a misunderstood concept; it’s up to us to clarify what ‘responsibility to protect’ means.”

Mr. Williamson is blunter. “R2P is still struggling,” he said, in part because of the administration’s unwillingness to do more about Syria, which he criticized as an adviser to Mr. Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.
(Continued at the link below)

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