October 2008: Reforming Intervention and Protection Under the United Nations

Introduction to the Month's Focal PieceAnnotation of

“Making Intervention Work.” by Morton Abramowitz and Thomas Pickering. Foreign Affairs. September/October 2008.

~ The Editors


William F. FeliceHas the Iraq War Torpedoed the "Responsibility to Protect"?
by William F. Felice

"Unfortunately, such pleas that call for strengthening global governance to forcefully intervene inside sovereign states, in the name of human rights and humanitarianism, will most likely be resented and then ignored by the majority of the world's states and peoples. To a large degree, this is an unfortunate legacy of the Iraq war."


Todd LandmanThe Responsibility to Protect and the Failure to Respond
by Todd Landman

"Any assessment of the plight of billions of people around the globe will undoubtedly recognize that real efforts to match in reality what is pledged rhetorically requires some sort of commitment, or "buy in" from today's great powers. The proposals offered by Abramowitz and Pickering will need to confront the challenge of incorporating humanitarian and human rights concerns into a realist world."


James PattisonImproving the Agents and Mechanisms of Humanitarian Intervention
by James Pattison

"Much of what I have said may give the impression that I think that we should abandon the U.N. as the focus of peace operations. This is mistaken. The frequently-highlighted inefficiencies of the U.N. are, in practice, overshadowed by the understated, but notable, successes that it has with its peace operations."


Brent J. SteeleReforming Humanitarian Rescue
by Brent J. Steele

"The U.N. performs many functions very effectively-but armed humanitarian rescue has never been one of those. While the authors fully recognize the problems with the U.N. as it currently stands, in my view the main issue is the constitutive basis of the U.N. itself."

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