The People vs. The State

Reflections on UN Authority, US Power and the Responsibility to Protect

image of The People vs. The State
Responsibility to Protect (R2P) aims to convert international conscience into timely and decisive collective action to rescue vulnerable communities. The choice is not whether international interventions will take place but where, when, how and under whose authority. Given the nature and victims of modern armed conflict, protection of civilians and populations at risk of mass atrocities is a core United Nations imperative. But while the UN has international authority, it lacks military power. Although its military might well have unmatched global reach, the United States acting unilaterally lacks international authority. This publication argues that progress towards good international society requires that force be harnessed to authority as the R2P moves from a universally validated principle to a routinely actionable norm.



Hold your head high, you are Egyptian [“Irfa rasak, anta misri!”]

In the end it was President Hosni Mubarak who proved the truth of the crude joke that “denial” is the name of a river in Egypt. With peaceful change impossible, US President John F. Kennedy said, violent revolution is inevitable. With no obvious leader or political vision, Egypt’s peaceful, youth-led mass social uprising dethroned an entrenched dictator and his heir apparent son in a mere 18 days.


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