Bruce Kesler, a long time friend of this blog, links here as he digs into R2P, the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine and like me, finds the logical implications hold much to worry about in terms of being anti-democratic as well as destabilizing :
It is the liberal internationalists’ concept of how US foreign policy ought to be. R2P reflects limitations of the US abilities to militarily intervene elsewhere as perceived by our liberal elites but raises our humanitarian impulses selectively by them to justify certain interventions, again, as they perceive which to be worthwhile. Further, R2P raises hazy international law or consensus of international liberal elites to supremacy over national law or consensus.
One of R2P’s main propounders, Anne Marie Slaughter, even advocates each US agency and members of our judiciary to act independently of Executive or Congressional oversight or law to conform to the consensus of foreign liberal elites. Slaughter is not just someone blathering. Slaughter was Dean of Princeton’s influential Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002-2009 then from 2009-2011 she served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, now back at Princeton. Slaughter’s thinking is telling in the pieties mouthed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama as they ignore US laws, ignore Syria’s worse repression and threat as they intervene in Libya, and extol a hostile majority in the UN to undeserved credence. Slaughter isn’t alone. Obama administration insiders Samantha Powers and Susan Rice are R2P foxes in the henhouse.
Methinks, given what passes for strategic thinking these days, that they pushed against an open henhouse door. Kesler continues:
At first glance, disaggregating the state and granting at least a measure of sovereignty to its component parts might appear to weaken the state. In fact, it will bolster the power of the state as the primary actor in the international system…Giving each government institution a measure of legitimate authority under international law, with accompanying duties, marks government officials as distinctive in larger policy networks and allows the state to extend its reach.
Actually, it extends the uncontrolled reach of liberal elites within our government to act regardless of our laws or popular will.
Read the rest here.
This is not an argument over whether genocide is bad and should be prevented or the positive good of Western liberal societal values but rather over how power will be exercised in our name, for what reasons and by whom. Any good ends sought under a putative R2P doctrine can be done today if the political will for intervention is present. That will is crystalized when the ends, ways and means are scrutinized in open, free, debate under our constitutional norms, not by a self-appointed vanguard.