The Responsibility to Protect

by asdfghjkl on February 10, 2017 - 2:36pm

The Responsibility to Protect


There is a moral dilemma in the field of international politics that questions whether or not a state that has the ability to intervene in conflicts within other states has the responsibility to intervene and does that change when these conflicts involve the abuse of human rights. Here, we will specifically be looking at military intervention. Going against relativism, I will be arguing that nations do indeed have a responsibility to intervene however, only when human rights are in jeopardy.

This dilemma of a responsibility to protect on the behalf of others often arises in situations of armed conflict. Historically there have been a few cases of highly controversial interventions, such as NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia or the lack of intervention in Rwanda. Proponents of relativism would argue that as outsiders to both of these cultures we have no right to decide what ideas, values, or practices are right or wrong. Furthermore, we have no right to impose our values and ideas on these foreign cultures through the force of military intervention. They argue one culture or cultural practice cannot be objectively better than another from a different place, time, or people. This sort of thinking makes sense in some cases, however, it cannot apply to everything.

Once it becomes obvious that a gross abuse of human rights is taking place I believe that that is when foreign intervention is required. Foreign military intervention is important because sometimes it is the only way a marginalized group of people can be saved from an atrocity. This was the case in Rwanda, where government supported genocide meant that people could not count on the police or the military to insure their safety because they were the ones killing. In this case, events in Somalia before the Rwandan genocide made the U.S. very apprehensive in intervening in another African conflict1. Also, early on in the genocide, the killing of 10 Belgian peacekeepers made the Belgians apprehensive as well1. The fact that the U.S. was unwilling to intervene meant that many other countries were not comfortable with the idea either. In retrospect it is clear that foreign intervention was greatly needed in Rwanda. This will play a large role in future decision-making when further conflicts arise.

Once we have decided that, in some cases, foreign intervention is absolutely necessary, the question that arises is to whom does this responsibility fall? This is another complicated moral dilemma, one that I will save for the next newsactivist assignment.









































Works Cited


1.         Winfield, Nicole. "Global Policy Forum." UN Failed Rwanda. Associated Press/ Nando Media, 16 Dec. 1999. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.



The post is very logically organized, and it gives examples to illustrate the dilemma of a responsibility to protect and it also shows the author’s own ideas and thoughts about the issue.
I can’t agree more with the idea that when someone is trying to protect on the behalf of others can rise conflict. During the first wave of feminism when women were trying to get the suffrage, most of males went against with this idea saying women could not bare the toughness of politics, and women should be protected and should be taken care of. Just like the author mentioned in the post, “we have no right to decide what ideas, values, or practices are right or wrong”, males have no rights to view females as inferior creatures and decide for them that they need to be protected. However, back to that time, in a patriarchal society, people considered the idea of women having political rights were wrong and unethical. The idea that males have the responsibility to protect females in the patriarchal society can cause conflicts. For example, there were radical women commit violence trying to get their rights during the first wave of feminism period.

Here is a wikipedia link about First-wave feminism.

I really appreciate your train of thought in this article. I do agree that while many different cultures have their own sense of what is right and wrong. However, once their is a clear abuse of innocent people for no justifiable reason, action should be taken. Reading this article makes think, do native people in Canada need military intervention? Not only are the crime rates and violence among First Nations so much more frequent and rarely talked about, there’s also so much more prejudice against First Nations with our own police forces. There’s also no one taking action against the highly extreme violence against native women, since their race and gender are intersecting. Unlike the Black Lives Matter movement, there is no intersectional civil rights movement for the First Nations in Canada. Native people, mostly women, have been victims of police abuse; both physically and sexually. Police are meant to be forces of justice and protection; not abuse and danger. How long does this violence have to go on before someone decides to intervene? How many men and women have to be beaten, go missing, get raped, etc.? Maybe military intervention from other countries will make people realize how improvement we need to have done in our society.
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