R2P is a doubled edged sword
In Saving Syria, Irwin Cotler laments the ineffectiveness of the UN in coming to grips with Assad's slaughter of his people.
Cotler, Being a humanitarian and a leading human rights lawyer, values the notion of Responsibility to Protect, known as R2P. He writes
"In particular, it was hoped that the UN Security Council would finally, however belatedly, invoke the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine with respect to Syria, as it had with Libya - and with no less compelling justification.
"At the UN World Summit in 2005, more than 150 heads of state and government unanimously adopted a declaration on the Responsibility to Protect, authorizing international collective action "to protect [a state's] population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" if that state is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens, or worse, as in the case of Syria, if that state is the author of such criminality.
"Simply put, it is as shocking as it is shameful that the Security Council has yet to adopt a resolution of condemnation, let alone invoke R2P. Indeed, even the vetoed UN resolution was itself a watered-down compromise to appease the Russians and Chinese. It did not call for a condemnation of Syria's murderous action, let alone protective action to prevent it - or sanctions to deter it - though these are threshold requirements."
I agree with the notion of R2P but experience has shown it is only applied in pursuit of self-interest. It is otherwise known as "humanitarian intervention." It was used to justify the NATO bombing of Serbia and Libya, in questionable circumstances. In both cases, it was a political intervention operating under the cover of humanitarianism.
In the case of Syria, the reasons for intervening are indeed humanitarian. The reason it was vetoed was political.
As a political tool, R2P is a dangerous doctrine. It justifies the invasion of a country when the population is threatened with "genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity." Israel has been accused of all of these things and many in the world and most of the UN believe the charges. All that stands between Israel and a UN resolution is the potential US veto and Israel's ability to defend herself.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the veto "undermines the role of the United Nations and the international community."
But that is a good thing considering that one of their roles is basically to destroy Israel.
In my article Can the UN legally impose a solution on Israel, I wrote that John McManus, John Birch Society, quotes from a State Department official in 1945,
" there is no provision in the Charter itself that contemplates ending war. It is true the Charter provides for force to bring peace, but such use of force is itself war. The Charter is built to prepare for war, not to promote peace. The Charter is a war document, not a peace document.
"Not only does the Charter organization not prevent future wars, it makes it practically certain that we shall have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, to choose on which side we shall fight, to determine what forces and military equipment we shall use in the war, and to control and command our sons who do the fighting."
The same can be said of R2P. It is a recipe for war. In fact it is a recipe for the invasion of Israel.
Ted Belman is the editor/publisher of Israpundit and lives in Jerusalem.