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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.

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Freedom, when it suits US

No one who watched the exhilaration and exuberance of Iraqis facing down the threat of bullets in order to cast their ballots can fail to have been moved. And for those who were actually in Iraq to witness this first hand, battle-hardened and cynical journalists included, it must have been bliss indeed to be alive at dawn 30 January and relief to be still alive at dusk. Ironically, the enthusiasm and courage with which ordinary people seized their opportunity to choose their own leaders is a repudiation of central parts of American foreign policy.

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