Prompt 2 (Global Issues 2014)


When is humanitarian intervention justified?

Consider the United States’ recent record of military intervention: Beirut in 1982, Grenada in 1983, Somalia in 1992, Haiti in 1994, failing to intervene in Rwanda in 1994, Kosovo in 1999, failing to intervene in Darfur in 2003, Libya in 2011, failing to intervene in Syria in 2012. If countries like the U.S. do recognize some obligation to protect innocent victims of genocidal and non-genocidal violence, then why do we commonly witness such discrepancies with the allocation of humanitarian aid? Conflicts continue in South Sudan, Syria, the DRC, Venezuela, Ukraine, and so forth, and yet in many such instances assistance from the international community is not forthcoming.

Given what you have read about the U.N. R2P initiative and the various possible consequences of intervention (see, e.g., Kuperman 2008 and Cunningham 2010), when is implementing the Responsibility to Protect morally and/or politically justified? Choose one contemporary conflict—whether it has recently ended or is still on-going—and explain why you believe that the international community is right or is wrong in intervening. This will require you to give some background about the possible causes of violence that raise humanitarian concerns, and also to explain which form(s) of intervention (political, economic, military), if any, are justified in the case you choose.


14 Comments

Filed under 110_2014: Global Issues

14 responses to “Prompt 2 (Global Issues 2014)

  1. Francesca S.

    In regards to the main question, asking when should the US intervene in another country’s conflict, and if so would military intervention or humanitarian aid be more beneficial? I believe each situation is different and should be treated that way. If a conflict can be solved without violence, using humanitarian aid, than humanitarian aid should be the only action, the United States and the U.N should take. The conflict in Ukraine, which began as a result of their president seeking financial aid from Russia, and the Ukrainian people disagreeing with the actions of their president (Dastagir, 20140), should be handled with humanitarian action. If the U.N used an international sanction, political trade restrictions put in place against target countries (GOV.UK, 2014), which would create an agreement between countries to cut ties with Russia, in hope this would cause internal/economic issues within Russia.

    Using violence in this conflict could case bigger issues than the initial conflict, if the U.S showed military support in Ukraine; this could cause tension between not only Russia, Ukraine and the U.S but all the their allies. Some of Russia’s allies include; India, China, Iran, and Syria (Iaccino, 2014). With the potential of another world war, the best way to save American lives is to not have military intervention where it is not needed. I personally believe that military action should only be used in sever situations. Due to the fact that this Ukraine conflict could have been prevented, humanitarian action should be the only action.

    Dastagir, A. (2014, April 24). Ukraine, Russia, Crimea: How the story evolved. USA Today. Retrieved July 8, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/20/ukraine-crisis-explainer/6610749/.

    GOV.UK. Tell us what you think of (2014). Sanctions, embargoes and restrictions. Retrieved July 7, 2014, from https://www.gov.uk/sanctions-embargoes-and-restrictions.

    Iaccino, L. (n.d.). Ukraine Crisis: Who are Russia’s Biggest Allies?. International Business Times RSS. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ukraine-crisis-who-are-russias-biggest-allies-1439028.

    • Sam D.

      The Ukraine Crisis and the World Stage

      Response to Frankie

      Every conflict is different, and every solution will also be different. Whether or not to attempt humanitarian aid or to intervene using military forces depends entirely on the conflict in question – in this, we agree.

      The Ukraine Crisis itself is one that is still ongoing, and many sides argue about what the response from the rest of the world should be. Should we condemn Russia and aid the Ukraine? Should we leave them be? And if we do decide to aid them, in what form should this aid take? I agree that the U.S. should not use military forces to intervene in the Ukraine – the consequences are too high and the situation is still too unclear to commit to such an extreme solution. However, when international sanctions and ‘disappointment’ in Russia simply isn’t enough to stop the conflict, what then can the U.N. do?

      At the heart of this conflict is what’s best for the Ukrainian people. They believe, as do Americans, that they should be able to dictate what their country does, which led to the signing of their agreement to trade with the E.U. However, this was soon followed with Russia’s distaste: “Within minutes of the signing ceremony, the news agency Interfax quoted Russia’s deputy foreign minister as warning that “serious consequences” would follow.” (Higgins, 2014) This is an outright threat, and as the conflict escalated, we see that they followed through on that threat. At this point in time, humanitarian aid is a difficult thing to attempt. Were America or the U.N. to attempt to aid the Ukrainian people, this could possibly escalate the conflict further, as suddenly we are in outright defiance of Russia’s desires.

      Indeed, this leads to the question of Russia in Ukraine. Were Ukraine simply dealing with internal strife, as Russia would like us to believe, we have nothing to lose from aiding the Ukraine. However, evidence suggests that this isn’t all that’s happening. “After two months of fighting and the loss of hundreds of lives, Moscow’s strong propaganda campaign against the new leadership in Kiev now comes with mounting evidence of Russian military engagement in the two provinces just across its border, Donetsk and Luhansk.” (Jackson, 2014) If Russia is involved in the Ukraine, humanitarian aid may not only be not enough to ensure the safety of the Ukrainian people, but it may not even be possible in the shaky political landscape.

      Higgins, Andrew, and David. “Defying Russia, Ukraine Signs E.U. Trade Pact.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 June 2014. Web. 12 July 2014.

      Jackson, Patrick. “Is Russia Driving East Ukraine Violence?” BBC News. 30 May 2014. Web. 12 July 2014.

  2. John L.

    In 2012, grim realities struck the international community, when news of mass-slaughters arose from Syria, due to tensions between government officials and non-violent protesters. According to reports, civilians throughout the country were protesting against the Syrian government, and in most cases they were acting nonviolently. While some Syrian security forces responded with nonviolent actions, often time’s unarmed protesters were seemingly targeted and killed. According to a report on the crisis in Syria:

    “Many victims sustained head, neck, and chest wounds, suggesting they were deliberately targeted. In several cases, security forces chased and continued to shoot at protesters as they ran away” (U.N. General Assembly).

    Though the numbers are not exact, estimations say around 3,500 civilians were killed during the Syrian Civil War. Some of the violence may have been justified, but much of what had been reported would be considered unprovoked violence, and in a sense, crimes against humanity.

    When looking at the Responsibility to Protect report, I think it is fair to say that the international community (most notably the United States and The United Nations) had all the right to intervene on these atrocities. In this report, assembly members came to the conclusion that there are three pillars that the Responsibility to Protect relies on. First, it is the responsibility of a State to protect its’ own people from such crimes. Second, it is the responsibility of the international community to intervene and protect these states from these crimes if they do not have the means to protect themselves. Finally, it is the responsibility of the Member States to take action in a timely manner when these crimes are being committed.

    Obviously the protesters in Syria were being slaughtered by their own government, so the first pillar may be inapplicable, but the second and the third seem to fit right in. Based on the consensus of this report, I believe that the international community had an obligation to step in and intervene against the Syrian government to heed these “crimes against humanity.” It is easy for people to say that it is not the international communities business to intervene, but had we sat back and let the conflicts continue I believe there would have been much more tragic outcomes.

    U.N. General Assembly – “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Report of the Secretary General” (2009).

    World Report 2012: Syria | Human Rights Watch. (n.d.). World Report 2012: Syria | Human Rights Watch. Retrieved July 10, 2014, from http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-syria.

    • Karen A.

      Exercise Caution Before Intervention

      I agree that what has happened in Syria would be considered crimes against humanity, however great caution needs to be exercised when deciding whether the U.S. or other international communities should get involved in conflicts like Syria and to what level that involvement should entail. It would be one thing to provide humanitarian aid to the suffering Syrians but it is a mistake for America to provide weapons or attempt to get involved militarily. First of all, Syria has already been involved in bloody civil war since 2011 and prior to the more recent alleged acts of Assad “more than 100,000 have been killed in this civil war.” (Siebold, 2013). Getting involved in a deep-rooted civil war like in Syria would not reduce the killing that has been happening in that country already and it could cause more harm than good. One potential drawback is that we really do not know who the good guys are. Arming rebels to topple the Assad regime brings concerns that they might end up in the possession of jihadists affiliated to al-Qaeda. Jabhat al-Nursa is a group that announced its creation during the Syrian Civil War and is the most aggressive and successful rebel forces in Syria. The group declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and the United States.

      Furthermore, “Many rebels are made up exclusively of anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel Islamist groups consumed by hatred and any future government formed by the rebels would be inherently hostile to the United States.” (Philipson, J, 2013). On the other side of this debate however is the precedent that we may set by not intervening concerning the chemical weapons. Our failure to respond may make it appear as an acceptable form of warfare and encourage chemical weapons use by others. “Chemical weapons are not only appealing to dictators refusing to relinquish power, but they also could make an appearance in other wars, and they are ideal for terrorist groups seeking to inflict maximum fear.” (Ghitis, 2013). In addition, the world is watching. When Barrack Obama states that chemical weapon use is a red-line and nothing is done once that line is crossed it sends the message that we issue empty threats and our warnings can simply be disregarded.

      Ghitis, F. (2013, August 28). 5 reasons the U.S. must intervene in Syria. CNN Opinion. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/opinion/ghitis-syria-intervention/.

      Philipson, J. (2013, August 28). U.S. should stay out of Syria. The Washington Times. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/28/us-should-stay-out-of-syria/.

      Siebold, S. (2013, September 6). The United States needs to stay out of Syria. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-siebold/the-united-states-needs-t_1_b_3867507.html.

      • Keelin C.

        Response to Karen

        I really like your post and think you have some really well made points and I agree that while what has happened in Syria does constitute as crimes against humanity, nothing the US could do would happen without consequences. I too think it would be a big mistake to provide any type of military response, be it sending weapons, to American boots on the ground – we need to stay out. But then on the flip side, if we do not get involved, what kind of message does that send the world?

        I find it interesting that in our reading “The Obama Doctrine: Syria vs. Libya Intervention” the United States in particular is singled out for our differing responses to both countries problems. Obama is quoted in the article saying “America is different… and as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action” (Crowley, 1). Among more tactical issues, Obama defended his decision to support Libya while restraining the same assistance to Syria when they fell into similar political strife. But how many other countries around the world have seen slaughter and mass graves long before, or if ever, America intervened? Furthermore, at what point did America become the police to the world? The United States is shamed for not intervening in matters that it was never involved in to begin with – nor should it ever be.

        It’s well known that Al-Queda and similar Islamic militant groups used the weapons they were given by the US during the Cold War to turn around and use against Americans, or at the very least, to instill fear in the Western conciseness. The problem is, America continues to make deals with multiple Middle Eastern countries, and then balk at the disasters that such assistance has lead to. A prime example of this is not once, but a minimum of three different times Israel has attacked its surrounding countries, though Israel signed treaties stating it would not do such things, it has (USATODAY, 1). And America continues to send military aid to the country, then gets upset when we realize Israel may not always have the best of intentions when using said military aid.

        In a round about way, the point I am attempting to make is that America must toe the line between what is worthy of military assistance and what is not, because chances are, crimes against humanity are happening at a far higher rate than anyone would ever want to admit. And the only way I believe America is able to toe that line is by not getting involved at all. America designated itself to police the world and it is coming back around to bite us in the butt. The only true and honest way to be fair is to either give every country around the world the same support it gives certain nations in time of political strife, or not to do it at all, because at the end of the day ‘toeing the line’ does not work.

        (2001, August 28). The Arab Israeli Conflict, 1947 – present. USA TODAY
        http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/mideast/timeline.htm.

        Crowley, M (2012, June 1). The Obama Doctrine: Syria vs. Libya Intervention. Swampland Time.

      • Jackson H.

        Response to Karen

        I definitely agree with your argument against direct military intervention on the part of the United States, but I am a little disappointed to see that you did not provide any evidence that counters the proposed counter-argument regarding chemical warfare. So instead, this is the position I will be taking.

        One of the biggest stories during the Syrian conflict was Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Many humanitarian activists and U.S. citizens alike took up the banner of taking military action against Assad and his regime. Now, it is certainly true that humanitarian aid should be provided in countries experiencing terrible hardships, “But when our national interests — and the safety of many Americans — would be put at risk, the Obama administration shouldn’t give in to pressures to take sides in a civil war in which war crimes are being committed by both sides” (Whickham, 2013).

        What Whickham is saying in his article is that although this regime should be punished for the saran gas attacks, if these people were to be “removed” by the U.S. military, the factions that would replace them would essentially turn Syria into an Al-Qaida state. This is because after Assad’s regime is removed, the fragmented rebel factions would still be too fragile to hold their own stable government, and will eventually be absorbed by the jihadist movement that their neighboring countries have also succumbed to.

        So, as an alternative, I suggest two things: 1) Take an aggressive humanitarian move to aid anyone who has suffered, and 2) take defensive military action. By defensive military action I mean that instead of directly invading Syria, we should set up an infrastructure that would punish any aggressive military moves made by Assad and his regime. For example, “the establishment of a no-fly zone…could have reduced Assad’s capacity to brutalize his population or altered his calculation of the costs and benefits of doing so” (Pearlman 2013).

        Unfortunately, this still does not solve the problem of peoples immediate gut reaction toward not intervening immediately with that “red line” statement you provided, Karen. Since the saran gas attacks were so monstrous, the first reaction people have towards the situation is “we have military power, go kill those *expletives*!” However, if the U.S. military had set up strategic defensive military actions, it could have issued a statement explaining exactly why this action was better than the alternative.

        Pearlman, Wendy. “The Argument Against U.S. Intervention in Syria… And Why It’s Wrong.” 23 April 2014. 11 July 2014.

        Wickham, DeWayne. “Wickham: Why Obama should not attack Syria.” 2 September 2013, 11 July 2014.

    • Anna G.

      Much Too Late for Military Intervention in Syria

      Response to John

      I agree with John that the world has a responsibility to protect Syria, because crimes against humanity were committed on numerous occasions. The violence that ensued in Syria easily fit the requirements of the United Nations mandate regarding the implementation of the responsibility to protect. While I agree that there is a responsibility of the international community to take action to protect the Syrian people, diplomatic and peaceful strategies will be more useful in ending the killing than a violent, drawn out military intervention, such as the intervention that took place in Iraq.

      Beginning in March of 2011, the Syrian conflict started with protesters demanding release of political prisoners, as well as a demonstration for the “day of rage” rally. The Syrian government sent military forces to crack down on protesters and many people were killed. The violence did not stop there, and still continues to this day. The U.N. accused the Syrian government of committing war crimes in the Houla Massacre that took place in May of 2012. There is strong evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on Syrian rebels. U.S. President, Barack Obama considered a military strike on Syria, but held back because Russia convinced Syria to agree to destroying all of the chemical weapons facilities (Kaphle 2014). There is no question that some form of intervention was necessary. Military intervention was not pursued because according to President Obama, “right now we don’t think that there’s a military solution, per se, to the problem” (Mattingly 2014).

      The U.S. did try to use peaceful strategies in order to protect Syrians. The U.S. tightened sanctions on Syria, called for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to step down, supplied rebels with weapons and financial support, and froze all Syrian assets that were under the United States jurisdiction (Kaphle).

      One thing that I did disagree with John about was his account of the death toll in Syria. According to activists in Syria, more than 160,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict and more than 9,000 of them were children (Surk 2014). This horrific loss of lives might have been prevented if military intervention would have been taken immediately after the crisis ensued, but according to former Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, it is far too late for an intervention in Syria. Kofi Annan’s view is that we need to find a way to find a way to stop the violence rather than adding fuel to the fire with military intervention (Nebehay 2013).

      One drawback to this argument is that there seems to be no end in sight to the violence in Syria. There is killing, starvation, torture, and the displacement of millions of people happening to this day. Even though military intervention would not be an immediate solution, it might be the only hope for the rest of what is left of Syria, and it certainly could have solved the problem if military measures had been taken back in 2011 when the conflict began.

      Kaphle, Anup. “Timeline: Unrest in Syria.” Washington Post. N.p., 20 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 July 2014.

      Mattingly, Phil, and Margaret Talev. “Obama Says U.S. No Closer to Military Action in Syria Crisis.” Bloomberg. N.p., 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 July 2014.

      Nebehay, Stephanie. “”Too Late” for Military Intervention in Syria, Annan Says.”Reuters. N.p., 27 May 2013. Web. 11 July 2014.

      Surk, Barbara. “Activists: Death Toll in Syria’s War Tops 160,000.” AP Online. N.p., 19 May 2014. Web. 11 July 2014.

  3. Amanda O.

    “We did not need to experience genocide to become better people. It simply should never have happened.” –President Paul Kagame (BBC, 2014)

    The genocide in Rwanda can be forever known as a time of abandonment. While blood flooded the ground in Rwanda during the 100 days of killings, the UN and its member states not only turned a blind eye to the massive genocide but it abandoned the Rwandan people when they needed help the most (Winfield, 1999). The genocide claimed at least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus (BBC, 2014). It is not hard to conclude that the international community overwhelmingly failed to intervene. Not only did the genocide in Rwanda meet requirements for intervention morally but politically.

    Justifying whether or not military intervention is an appropriate action depends on the political and moral judgment of the international communities. Since morals tend to differ, in regard to justifying military intervention, morality is qualified as meeting the requirements set by Responsibility to Protect. Although the Responsibility to Protect did not come in effect till 2005, international law already had well-established laws against genocide and since the Responsibility to Protect is in place to reinforce international law this applies to the same extent. “States have obligations to prevent and punish genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” (Report of the Secretary-General, 2009). In August 1993, UN human rights investigator for Rwanda raised the possibility that genocide might occur, however, more significantly the lack of reaction by not only the United Nations and Security Council members but by the United States (Winfield, 1999). From the legal standing of international law, genocide was evident. Therefore military intervention politically met the requirement for military intervention. Unfortunately, for whatever political reasons it was not made till it was too late. Hundreds of thousands of lives lay buried in mass graves, while the international communities hang their heads in shame.

    When it is evident that human rights violations, such as stipulated by the Responsibility to Protect and or international law it is politically justifiable to intervene. Although one can argue that R2P contradicts sovereignty, war crimes of this magnitude call for intervention.

    BBC. (2014, April 07). Rwanda genocide: UN ashamed, says Ban Ki-moon. Retrieved 07 09, 2014, from BBC News Africe: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26917419.

    Report of the Secretary-General. (2009). Implementing the responsibility to protect. United Nations.

    Winfield, N. (1999, December 16). UN Failed Rwanda. Retrieved 07 09, 2014, from Global Policy Forum: http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/201/39240.html.

  4. Meghan J.

    South Sudan: On the verge of Genocide

    The definition of genocide is “the deliberate murder of an entire ethnic group, or an attempt to do this” (dictionary.com). Everything that is happening in south Sudan is directing itself to genocide. “It’s estimated that thousands of people have been killed since the fighting began nearly six months ago, and about 1 million others have fled their homes” (Fox news 2104). Whenever there is some sort of conflict the United States sort of feels obligated to offer assistance, whether the country wants the help or not. We see this conflict arise with the case of South Sudan, but is U.S intervention always the best choice, or does it actually make things worse in the long run?

    In the Washington Post it is stated that “if the tit-for-tat killings continue in the way that they have been going, they could really present a very serious challenge….. in respect to the question of genocide” (Gearan, Washington post 2014). With everything happening in Sudan, they are practically calling for the help from other countries. Yes Sudan does need help, but the United States forced their way in. Sudan does not really have a say in the matter.

    The U.S intervening does not always go as planned; we see this example in Syria.

    The U.S involvement actually made things worse. In this case I strongly believe that the help from the United Sates will cause this situation to go into the right direction. The biggest type of intervention would be military. As stated in the Washington post, “Secretary of state John Kerry said the United States and East African nations are committed to deploying a predominantly African military force in South Sudan” (Gearan, Washington post 2014). By deploying military I believe that this will create some sort of control in Sudan. Without the help from outside forces the killings will get extremely worse.

    In my honest opinion, without military intervention in Sudan, we will see a genocide occurring.

    Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 08 July 2014. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genocide.

    Gearan, Anne. “Kerry Warns of Genocide, Famine in Strife-ridden South Sudan.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/kerry-warns-of-genocide-in-south-sudan/2014/05/01/37c64600-d141-11e3-a714-be7e7f142085_story.html.

    “Kerry Calls for End to Violence in South Sudan, Warns of Possible Genocide.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 02 May 2014. Web. 10 July 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/02/in-south-sudan-kerry-calls-for-end-to-violence/.

    • Jennie F.

      Genocide and The UN: Not Just on America’s Shoulders

      Response to Meghan

      The US has a rather shaky track record when it comes to intervening in the problems of other countries. Sometimes we come swooping in a save the day, only to leave months later and the turmoil starts again. Other times, we choose to do nothing or very little, and there is an outcry of our help from the rest of the world. Sure, military intervention in Sudan may be the best approach for the current situation, but what about all the other could-a would-a should-a times we have or haven’t been involved in genocide issues? This is not just America’s problem to deal with, but the world’s.

      At first, it seems like a no-brainer for the UN to get involved in every genocide issue ever. The UN has clear guidelines laid out for recognizing and dealing with genocide (Special Advisor, 2010), with an emphasis on how genocide should never happen and preventative measures. Certainly, the UN’s methods are peaceful, the most extreme movements involving sending peacekeepers to the troubled country. But using the UN’s power isn’t always as simple as it seems. As The Economist points out, it is sometimes politically blurry as to whether the UN can or even will act in the face of violence. Certain direct actions take positive votes from all countries in the UN, and when it comes to preventing possible genocide, places like China and Russia would be likely to veto actions because of their own disputes with smaller countries, where legally questionable events take place (The Economist, 2004).

      However, there are ways around this tie-back, and moral reasons to do so. When there is a history of violence in a region, which is typical of many African states, then other nations interested in defending human rights should keep tabs on them for when they inevitably do break out into violence. This is a trend in most post-independence African states, and a conflict that was going to be avoided in South Sudan before it backfired into violence (Roessler, 2013). Roessler describes typical events that take place in a state engulfed in post-independence turmoil, and these are not without warning signs.

      But as The Economist points out, there are ways in which other nations can act without the UN. If the US wants to lead the charge against genocide, then it should. But if the world is going to take up a policy of Responsibility to Protect, then everyone should at least try to support it. The peacekeeping of the world isn’t just on the US’s shoulders, and if other nations can help, they should. Obviously, some issues on the home-front could prevent a nation from helping in big ways, but if everyone wants to eliminate genocide, then everyone, not just the US, should be working towards it, even if it’s without the UN’s support. And maybe it would turn out more positively than the US just sending troops everywhere into dangerous places.

      Advisor, Special. “Prevention of Genocide.” United Nations (2010): 1-13. United Nations. July 2010. Web. 11 July 2014.

      “Must Intervention Be Legal?” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 31 July 2004.
      Web. 11 July 2014.

      Roessler, Philip. “Why South Sudan Has Exploded in Violence.” Washington Post. The
      Washington Post, 24 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 July 2014.

  5. Melissa S.

    Since its independence in 2011, South Sudan has been in a constant state of turmoil in some form or another. The ongoing conflict, however, began on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kirr accused his vice president Riek Machar of staging a coup d’état. The accusation was made at a military barracks in Juba, the capitol. Mr. Machar denied the accusation and fled the capitol. Forces loyal to Mr. Machar took up arms against the government and the fighting rapidly escalated. Ethnic groups from both sides (Nuer for Machar and Dinka for Kirr) have joined in the fighting. The fighting has resulted in heavy casualties both combatant and civilian. A cease-fire was signed by both sides in January, purportedly to keep the peace until a political agreement could be reached, but both sides have accused the other of breaching the agreement. Towns and villages have been destroyed and burned. Civilians raped and killed, leaving thousands dead. As of January, 2014 the International Crisis Group has reported an estimated 10,000 deaths (Kulish, Jan. 2014). Almost a million South Sudanese have been displaced and thousands are taking shelter at United Nations compounds (Kulish, Feb. 2014). The continued fighting is rapidly turning the corner on becoming a full on civil war. The UN has deployed thousands of peacekeepers but the people are still afraid to go home and with good reason. Continued violence and fighting under a supposed cease-fire affords little trust for the political process and system.

    The “responsibility to protect” as stated in the Summit Outcome, is clearly defined and outlines a state’s obligation to “prevent and punish genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity” (United Nations). The death of thousands of innocent civilians as a result of this conflict is unacceptable in my opinion and outside intervention is necessary to prevent even more death. Understandably getting involved in such a conflict has its risks, and intervening could make the situation worse or more difficult to resolve. Introducing another actor that bears a lower cost of fighting can often times make it more difficult to reach an agreement. However, I believe that waiting and watching as thousands of people are killed with no regard or attempt to stop it is inhumane and goes directly against the R2P. Something must be done.

    Kulish, Nicholas. “South Sudan’s Forces Clash With Rebels Near U.N. Base.” New York Times 18 Feb. 2014: n. pag. Print. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/world/africa/south-sudans-forces-clash-with-rebels-near-un-base.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C{%222%22%3A%22RI%3A17%22}&_r=1.

    Kulish, Nicholas. “New Estimate Sharply Raises Death Toll in South Sudan.” New York Times 9 Jan. 2014, sec. Africa: n. pag. Print. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/world/africa/new-estimate-sharply-raises-death-toll-in-south-sudan.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C{%222%22%3A%22RI%3A17%22}.

    United Nations: General Assembly. Retrieved from: https://unco.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-2383773-dt-content-rid-5596652_1/courses/PSCI110-970_201440_40322/9.%20UN%20General%20Assembly%20-%20Implementing%20the%20R2P%20_2009_%20_pp.4-10_.pdf.

    • Michayla B.

      There are Thousands of Genocidal Situations
      Where Democracy Isn’t the Answer: Where is the Line?

      Response to Melissa

      I’d like to counter your argument by bringing up a very recent event that many people cried “genocide” to as well. In Iraq, before we attacked them, they had this dictator named Saddam Hussein who killed a ton of Kurdish people in the 1980s and early 1990s whose mass graves were discovered during the Iraq war (Barbarani 2014).

      Granted, the Kurds are a political party in Iraq (Marashi 2014). This does not make their mass killings okay and the United States didn’t do anything about this situation for over 20 years. When the United States invaded Iraq they knew about the genocide and I recall the nightly news being plastered with photos of mass graves. According to Barbarani, “While British, Swedish, Norwegian and South Korean parliaments have all recognised the al-Anfal campaign as constituting genocide, no governments have done so – except for that of Iraq. That allows them to avoid legal liability for supporting and arming Saddam during this time.”

      Now, to connect this all this back to the point about south Sudan: there are political conflicts and genocides every year, all the time. The United States military can’t possibly have time to run around dealing with every other country’s political dissent. This is not practical or plausible. The United States invaded Iraq after they attacked, not because of the genocide.

      When the United States attempts to establish democracy in any country we’ve tried to help seem to fail dramatically. For example: Korea (granted South Korea isn’t so bad off).

      If the United States were to run around dealing with every country’s political strife they would need a massive military, a massive military budget, and eventually it would probably take the United States off the list of world powers. The Humanitarian argument is fun to play with but worldwide genocide is far too large scale for the United States to deal with alone. Perhaps if the U.S. allied with other first world countries we could deal with more cases of political strife in other countries, but who are we to play god? Also, if history is any indicator of how these missions usually go it tends to take around 5-10 years of occupation to set up a loose democracy that will soon crash back down into a loose dictatorship with lots of car bombings (Quora 2014).

      Barbarani, Sofia. 2014. “Iraq Kurds press states to recognize genocide” Aljazeera. 14 April. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/04/iraq-kurds-press-states-recognise-genocide-anfal-201441371637191288.html.

      Marashi, Reza. 2014. “America and Iran Face the Future—In Iraq” The Cairo Review of Global Affairs. 2 July. http://www.aucegypt.edu/GAPP/CairoReview/Pages/articleDetails.aspx?aid=622.

      Quora, Wael Al-Sallami. 2014. “I Grew Up In Iraq During Saddam’s Worst Days—Here’s What Life Was Like” Business Insider. 2 July. http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-life-in-iraq-was-like-under-saddam-hussein-2014-7.

  6. Emily J.

    The Moral Quagmire of International Intervention

    Implementing the Responsibility to Protect is morally and or politically correct when genocide is likely to occur without intervention (Schabas, 2008).

    Following the Second World War, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia combined to form the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. When Josip Broz Tito passed away in 1980, the Yogoslav republics threatened to split their union. The rise of the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic caused more problems between the republics, and in 1991, Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia declared their independence, which sparked the war in Croatia (History.com staff, 2009).

    In Bosnia, Muslims were the largest population group by 1971. In May of 1992, two days after the United States and the European Community recognized Bosnia as an independent country, Bosnian Serb forces with the support of Milosevic’s Serb-dominated Yugoslav army launched their offensive with an attack on Bosnia’s capital. The also attacked Bosniak-dominated town in eastern Bosnia, forcibly expelling Bosniak civilians from the area, using methods including murder, rape, torture and forcible displacement (History.com staff, 2009).

    Initially, the United Nations refused to intervene in the conflicts in Bosnia, however, in 1993 the United Nations established “safe havens” in Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde and sent peacekeeping forces to disarm and protect the save havens. In July, Bosnian Serb forces entered Srebrenica and separated the Bosniak civilians, sending the women and girls on buses to Bosnian-held areas. The men and boys were not sent on the busses however, but were immediately killed or sent to mass killing sites. The estimated deaths of Bosnians’ killed by Serb forces at Srebrenica were 7,000 to 8,000 (History.com staff, 2009).

    In August of 1995, the United Nations gave the Serbs an ultimatum, and the Serbs refused to comply. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization combined with Bosnia and Croatian forces and for three weeks, bombed Bosnian Serb positions and a ground offensive. Serbia’s economy was also hurt by United Nation trade sanctions and their military forces under assault in Bosnia after three years, Milosevic agreed to enter negotiations in October of that year. The negotiations ended in a federalized Bosnia divided between a Croat-Bosniak federation and a Serb republic (History.com staff, 2009).

    The International Community should have intervened in the Bosnia conflict because of what was seen in Srebrenica, the Bosnian Serbs would have continued to murder, rape, kill and forcibly displace the Muslims’ in Bosnia. Without the intervention of the international community the situation in Bosnia could have continued to get much worse until the entire Muslim population was destroyed.

    A counterargument of the intervention of the International community would be that in trying to stop the genocide in Bosnia, the international community ended up killing many Serbians in the process, causing more harm than good (Akyol, 2012). In conclusion, dealing with international conflicts that may include Genocide is a very difficult situation because in many cases, the potential for intervention may embolden the parties to escalate the conflict rather than solving their differences.

    Akyol, Riada. 2012. “To Intervene or Not to Intervene, that is the Question: Lessons from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Retrospect.” New Bulgarian University. 13-15 December.

    History.com Staff. 2009. “Bosnia Genocide.” History.com.

    Schabas, William A. 2008. “Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” United Nations.

  7. Carla M.

    The “drug wars” as they call them, that are occurring in Mexico are a contemporary conflict that has been been deliberated whether international intervention is needed or not. The U.S is predominantly pressured to implement the Responsibility to protect, increasingly so because it is a neighboring country. It is said that Mexican cartels traffic 95 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States (Council on Foreign Relations, pg 1, 2014). This large number would normally ensue an obvious response, which would be of intervening. One of the reasons that the cartel is so popular in Mexico is the large amount of inequality that their people face. Looking at recent trends, one could say that the U.S. is headed each and everyday to a larger level of disparity. With this disparity one could also infer that the cartel could become a very popular force within the U.S as well. The earlier the U.S takes action and helps the Mexican government combat this force, the better. In 2006, Mexican President, Calderon began a campaign to buckle down on the cartels. By doing so he set off a drug war that has resulted in more than 60,000 deaths (Council of foreign relations, pg.4, 2014). This resulted in Mexico requesting U.S involvement. Discussed proposals were for rushing increased US aid to Mexico under the auspices of Plan Merida, a three-year, $1.4 billion package designed to provide equipment, training and other assistance to the Mexican armed forces (Bill Van Auken, March 2010). On paper this seems like a reasonable request, but in all reality this could result as being extremely detrimental to the U.S. This reminds me of a similar case in the past, were the U.S trained armed forces to combat the Russians which later resulted in U.S trained soldiers going against the U.S and joining al qaeda forces. With so much corruption that is present in Mexican armed forces, whose to say that the aid sent to them wouldn’t end up in the hands of the cartel. It seems to me that involvement in this case might result in setting off a series of violent occurrences. It’s almost like shaking a wasps nest.

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