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More on R2P

Received a tremendous amount of feedback on this topic, mostly offline, but also on twitter and on other sites. Interestingly, of the minority who are strongly disagreeing with me, they tend to have their own problems with R2P doctrine. The next installment should be up tomorrow evening. In the meantime, here are a few more posts:

Bruce Kesler at Maggie’s Farm:

R2P: Right To Protect or Right To Preen?

….Neither COIN nor R2P are strategies. Unlike COIN, however, which is a set of tactics that may be applicable in some circumstances in pursuit of strategic goals (even if those goals may be arguable), R2P doesn’t have any operational tactics. R2P is more a clarion call to action, including actions that are contrary to US laws or popular will, in pursuit of internationalist goals for global governing as defined by transnational elites.

Further, R2P is cloaked in humanitarian rhetoric that allows liberal elites to preen, displaying their caring feathers, regardless of their ignorance of the military, regardless of the cost-benefit to US national security, and regardless that it isn’t their children being sent into harm’s way.

Lastly, R2P is reactive, not prescriptive of avoiding future threats to US security as a strategy must be. Much the same coterie who want to raise R2P to dominance over US foreign and military policies are largely dismissive of severely hobbling US allies or hollowing our military.

A brutally succinct assessment. 

Kesler, a veteran of the war in Vietnam and a former foreign policy analyst, is in sync here with many veterans whose experiences have made them skeptical of basing military intervention on grandiose idealism, along with the school of foreign policy realists. On the other hand, Anti-interventionists of all political stripes and backgrounds look askance at the assurance from R2Paternalistic advocates that enshrining R2P is not risky because such military interventions will be “rare” ( myself, I’d just like to see them done competently , in line with a coherent strategy, when the potential benefits significantly outweigh the costs).

Ken White, a respected senior voice at the Small Wars Council had this to say in an extended analysis of R2P in the comments section at SWJ Blog:

…. I’ll note that those whom Zenpundit rightly says will be “fired” will not be those who do the actual Protecting nor will they be the ones who pay the costs of such abject foolishness.

The R2P theory is the tip of an iceberg wherein the State — a State? — has overarching responsibility in all things and individuals have no responsibilities for them selves, indeed, no responsibility other than to act as the State directs. That is indeed monstrous.

In her paper linked by Zenpundit, Dr. Slaughter writes: “States can only govern effectively by actively cooperating with other states and by collectively reserving the power to intervene in other states’ affairs.” The first clause is possibly correct, the second is a road to unending warfare — quite simply, humans will not long tolerate it. I suggest that if that idea is applied to individuals, then I am endowed with the ability to get together with my neighbors and we can attack another neighbor whose only crime is to behave differently than do most of us. My suspicion is that will not work on several levels.

….She also writes: “The principal advantage is that subjecting government institutions directly to international obligations could buttress clean institutions against corrupt ones and rights-respecting institutions against their more oppressive counterparts.” Admirable. My question is what standard is applied to the determination of corruption and oppressiveness? What cultural norms are to be heeded and which are to be ignored? Who makes these determinations? If it is a collective decision, what precludes either mob rule or a ‘might makes right’ led possibly quite wrong determination…

Popular support for R2P may be inverse to the degree of public scrutiny the idea receives.

2 Responses to “More on R2P”

  1. Larry Dunbar Says:

    "….Neither COIN nor R2P are strategies." In today’s world in which an incumbent force and an insurgent force are creating a structure called a Nation-State, and we believe neither COIN nor R2P are strategies? They are both acting on the other in a strategic manner (perpendicularity). COIN acts on ink-spots (replacing the insurgency with ink-spots of command), while R2P acts on orientations ( destroying centers of gravity through control of movement). Neither one are a globalized strategy, in which the military/industrial complex re-orients itself spatially (East and West), but they do Act locally accordingly to, in my opinion, the power-law in the distribution of energy (events/magnitude of events). Our hearts are in the magnitude, while our minds are in the events.

  2. joey Says:

    On the other hand R2P could provide useful cover for any number of interventions/police actions/sanctions ect elements in the state department/white house/pentagon may wish to under take.  In that light R2P is lightly to have broad based support within the bureaucracy of Government,  regardless of which side of the floor this latest wheeze was dreamed up from.
    States can only govern effectively by actively cooperating with other states and by collectively reserving the power to intervene in other states’ affairs.”
    This is the key point, the rest is flimflammary,  this is the direct line from the Monroe doctrine as implemented, to the democracy at the point of a gun that the neo cons trumpeted,  the right to intervene where American interests are threatened.  Now America has a lot of interests,  and they don’t have to be strategic to warrant intervention in some shape or form.This is where R2P or something like it comes in handy,  it provides a useful framework for labeling the bad guy/state,  and painting yourself as the white knight.  Why anyone deems it nessesary to have to resort to window dressing to go to war is baffling since nowadays its never called war, and certainly doesn’t need popular support, the President can go to war when and where he wishes,  regardless of Congress and public support.
    In the final reckoning R2P exists already,  because it exists in the hearts of American officials,  the rest is just semantics.  

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