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From Coercion to Brute Force: Exploring the Evolution and Consequences of the Responsibility to Protect

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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There are two contradictions internal to the United Nations principle of the Responsibility to Protect. The first is the preemptive authority that enables states and international organizations to take offensive action against the actual or perceived perpetrator of the violence. This is contradictory to its purpose of protection, because it advocates for offensive action against a belligerent rather than focusing on the persons at risk. The second contradiction internal to the principle is the inconsistency in scales or threshold. The ill-defined nature of the scale of a violent episode allows states and international organizations to invoke the Responsibility to Protect when they see fit, not when an episode of violence reaches a level that requires international intervention. These internal contradictions are what allow state and the international leaders to subjectively manipulate morally founded military operations, and in turn create more rather than less violence.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law

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