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.



The Iraq war in retrospect

The question that crops up repeatedly when we register our opposition to the Iraq war is: would you rather then have Saddam Hussein still in power? It’s a fair question that deserves a serious answer. Unlike in 1990, when Saddam did have a few admirers, last year he had none. This makes the failure of the American–British alliance to win any significant international support for the war all the more remarkable. It’s not that we disliked the dictator less, but we disliked the war option even more.


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