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Is a new UN “principle” now guiding US foreign policy and intervention?

I’ve told you about the timeline of the decision to intervene in Libya.  But I’m not sure I was clear on the supposed reason.  So take a moment and read this:

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also said on Thursday that the justification for the use of force was based on humanitarian grounds, and referred to the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P), "a new international security and human rights norm to address the international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."

"Resolution 1973 affirms, clearly and unequivocally, the international community’s determination to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own government," he said.

Inside the NSC, Power, Smith, and McFaul have been trying to figure out how the administration could implement R2P and what doing so would require of the White House going forward. Donilon and McDonough are charged with keeping America’s core national interests more in mind. Obama ultimately sided with Clinton and those pushing R2P — over the objections of Donilon and Gates.

Remember that until Tuesday, the consensus around Washington DC was the US would not intervene in Libya.  Obviously UN SecGen Moon’s communication of this new “principle”  (R2P) isn’t something that he thought up that morning.  Apparently it was communicated (and one assumes, agreed upon) well before then and, it would seem, may have played an important part in the decision to participate in a place in which which we have no real national interest at stake.

Read that last paragraph very carefully.  Well, read the whole thing carefully, but you have to ask, what does agreeing with this “principle” mean in the future?

Do we intervene in Sudan or the Congo?  Ivory Coast?  And if not, why not?  None of them, like Libya, put our core national interests at stake.  But all certainly fit the new R2P principle.  How about Bahrain and Yemen?  Nepal?

Instead, what we see here is precisely what the left has decried for years – the US along with others who can afford it and are willing to do it –agreeing to police the world.  However, in this case, it would be at the behest of the UN.  We are agreeing that the UN can determine when and where we commit our military forces simply by invoking this principle.  Invoke R2P and, by our precedent in Libya, we agree to respond.

This is far and away different than case by case agreements among member nations to intervene with peace keeping troops in troubled areas around the world.  This is a “principle” that Moon says is a “new international security and human rights norm” apparently is interpreted as a “right” to intervene with military force.

Funny – I don’t remember us agreeing to this “new norm”, do you?  Did we negotiate and sign a treaty saying all of this?  Or did we just hand over our power to make sovereign decisions concerning the use of our military to a world body?

Think about it – the new principle, this new “norm”, essentially gives the UN the ability to decide when we should deploy military force in support of this new “norm”.

Fascinating – and not in a good way.  Remember Hillary Clinton’s words about “venue”.  It wasn’t proper to talk about action against Libya at the G8 conference.  That was a topic for the UN only.  Now we have an inkling of why.

I’m not much on conspiracy theories or other grand schemes, but if what Moon is saying is true and given the action by the Obama administration that reversed its presumed course on the subject of Libya, I am indeed concerned about the “why” of the decision and if it was in support of the principle Moon outlined above.

If it is, we need to renounce it immediately.  I don’t want any world body making decisions about where our military should be used, especially when we have no abiding national interest in the area of concern.



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31 Responses to Is a new UN “principle” now guiding US foreign policy and intervention?

  • Obama does.
    I was pulling my hair out when I tried to tell people that we didn’t want Hillary knocked out for this guy and they didn’t care.

    • No difference, instead of a radical Marxist, she is a Dyed in the Wool Wilson Progressive.

  • U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also said on Thursday that the justification for the use of force was based on humanitarian grounds, and referred to the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P), “a new international security and human rights norm to address the international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

    >>>>  Sure, until China, Russia or Iran engages in any of those activities…..and then this statement will be down the memory hole.

    And what does this mean exactly?  If a regime is engaging in ethnic cleansing, is the idea of the principle to drive them out, or just establish a “no ethnic cleansing zone”?   Again, what is the gameplan here?

    The left yelled long and loud about Iraq, but at least there was a specific goal – regime change.  Dear American Lefy who support this (and by the way, you’re CHICKENHAWKS) – what’s the goal of this war Obama just threw us into on a whim?

  • There were only 17 relevant resolutions were ever passed before they were enforced in regard to Iraq.  At least one of these was a humanitarian “protect the people of Iraq” resolution, but that wasn’t enough for the “anti-war” faction on the Left, so this one solution must have them up in arms …

    • U.N. resolution, Resolution 688,  essentially demanded that Saddam Hussein stop repressing his own people.

  • Curious. As I mentioned in a previous topic, the American Left is not down with this even if the UN calls the tune.

  • But, McQ…
    the UN is TOTAL BULLSHIT.  They can SAY anything, and DO.  They can DO NOTHING without our money and force projection.
    I go back to the question of why in the HELL we are still even there.  It is a complete parody of itself.

  • So the next time Iran cracks down on their dissenters, don’t we pretty much HAVE to go to war with them??!?

  • When you have a Security Council veto, you can disagree or agree with any norm you want, when you want.  In this case the US made it clear that we’d only act if it were UN approved, and if the allies took the lead and the US supported it with missiles, and other military capacities designed to assure the French and British led missions would be effective.  Moreover, it was important for the President not to cancel his Latin America trip.  Not only is that important to the US — perhaps more important than what goes on in Libya in the long run — but it underscores that this is not a US “imperialist” effort, but a UN effort the US is supporting, but not leading.   I think it was an exercise in rather brilliant foreign policy leadership from Obama and Clinton that this kind of result was achieved.  And don’t be mistaken — this was Obama and especially Clinton, not General Secretary Ki-Moon!   The only interventions the UN will do are those the UN Security Council approves, they never “have” to do anything.  And they can judge each case based on its own merits on a multitude of fronts.

    • “I think it was an exercise in rather brilliant foreign policy leadership from Obama and Clinton that this kind of result was achieved”

      Of course you do.

      • LOL.  The really brilliant part was saying the US would not intervene in Libya.  That one fooled everybody who actually believed you could take Obama at his word.

    • And this Libyan “Shock and Awe”? Shame on France, shame on Britain and the US and a UN avowed: “… to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Every shattered body, every child maimed or blown to bits, every widow, widower, orphan, will have their name of those countries, and the UN., written in their blood in their place of death.
      And the public of these murderous, marauding Western ram raiders, will be told that we were bringing democracy, liberating Libya from a tyrant, from the “new Hitler”, the “Butcher of Bengazi.”
      The countries who have ganged together these last days to overthrow a sovereign government have, again, arguably, conspired in Nuremberg’s: ” … supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”, and yet again, plotted to overthrow a sovereign government, with a fig leaf of “legality” from an arm twisted UN. We have seen it all before.

      • Yep. Day one of the war, we have Arab support…well some support. Wait until the wailing women show their dead children to Al Jazeera.
        Also, France and the UK seem to be claiming its not “regime change” but then saying the madman has to go.
        I guess it will be regime change via aircraft, so they have to hope the rebels will be able to take territory themselves. Otherwise it will be like Serbia, having to bomb everything in sight because no troops are on the ground. If troops do land, will there be jihadi volunteers to help Kaddafi?

    • I have to ask, Scott, if this was “brilliant foreign policy leadership” by the President and SecState, then where is their brilliant leadership with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.?  I don’t see how letting other nations make decisions for us qualifies as “leadership”.  Could you explain that to me please?

      • You have to understand that “brilliant foreign policy leadership” is all part of the Liberal Narrative used to prop up a President that is a man of the left. 

        Erb would counter that Obama was equally brilliant in his leadership regarding Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.?  Don’t you see?  Deferring decisions to a greater power, such as the UN, is a good thing.

        This from a man who doesn’t know how to spell leadership.  And when he applies his logic to Bush or any other man of the Right and you get the opposite response.  It’s all in the LN!

    • Moreover, it was important for the President not to cancel his Latin America trip.

      Well, certainly from the standpoint of running like a scalded dog from the news on the economy
      AS WELL AS the reaction to this fiddle-footed Libyan mess.
      It was typical “dump and run” Obama PR.

    • Do you support using U.S. tax dollars to attack Libya?

      • I think it was an exercise in rather brilliant foreign policy leadership from Obama and Clinton that this kind of result was achieved.

        Again, I see you gushing over the “brilliant foreign policy leadership from Obama and [Hillary] Clinton” but “this kind of result” is an attack on Libya by NATO.  When Bill Clinton did a similar thing in 1999 against Yugoslavia, didn’t you oppose the use of force?  Didn’t you cite your opposition to the NATO attacks in Yugoslavia as an example of your non-partisan pacifist stance, a general opposition to the use of military force?
        Are you no longer a pacifist?  Or, do you still describe yourself as such?  If you are a pacifist, are you giving Obama and Hillary Clinton a special pass?

    • And the hypocrites begin to self-identify…..

      Think I’ll just save this one to bludgeon you with down road….

    • The result will be Al Queda in Libya and a renewed round of
      Islamic violence in Europe.  All because of our help to establish “democracy” in an Islamic country.  It doesn’t work, not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, or Libya.  Bush was naive in believing in freedom in in Islamic country whereas Obama really wants our enemies to succeed.  This is all part of his “fundamental transformation of America” to completely destroy us economically, politically, and militarily.

  • Incredible. The Obama administration has gotten the US into a war with Libya and there is not a peep from anyone in congress, Dem. or Rep., left or right. As far as I can tell, there is no strategy to actually end this war, or even to win it. Do these people actually plan on having Kadaffy roll over aqnd surrender without a fight?

    There is an old saying, “If you strike at a king, you must kill him”. I think that applies here. Screw this ‘no fly zone’ idiocy. Finish the job as quickly as possible.

    • Since the UN is the instigator and sponsor of this war against Libya I think they are now a legitimate target. I wonder what would happen if Qadaffy actually struck back at them?

    • Remember, that was a big critique of the Iraq War by the MSM: we had no exit plan.  (I’m not saying if it was valid or not, just that it was.)  So… where are the critics of this plan in the MSM?  I’d like to see them.

      • “I’m not saying if it was valid or not”

        Then I’ll say it. Of course it was (and is) valid.

  • R2P …
    Is nothing more than a hasty cover (if that!) for a president lost at sea.
    Barr has demonstrated, time and again, that he is at a complete loss when it comes to decision making.
    That Congress has said nothing all shows that the country is running on auto-pilot.
    Hurry up 2012!

    • I think this whole thing has happened too quickly for Congress as a body to react.  Even as recently as Tuesday, a NFZ wasn’t seen as likely and now we’re peppering the country with cruise missiles.  Congress usually acts at a snail’s pace.  Hopefully, we’ll see something this week.

      • Justin:
        “Congress usually acts at a snail’s pace.” is true enough. Yet, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya did not happen “over night.” One would think the pertinent committee members concerned with intel would at least be able to speak to a lack of policy on the part of the administration.
        I readily confess my happy surprise about the UN moving itself to allow a NFZ. One can only imagine what Cameron and Sarkozy went through to get that done.
        But, Obama’s “pronouncement” or whatever you might call it was completely ad hoc couched in wiggle words he does not realize can be used against the US.
        Barry called a really bad play. He should stick to gaming the brackets.

        • Yes, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya did not happen over night.  But the decision to go to war happened pretty much over night.  When we went to war in Iraq in 2003, the President and his team spent months making their case before the UN and Congress before “shock and awe”.  That certainly wasn’t the case here.  On Monday, SecState Clinton was saying that there were “difficulties”.  Saturday we’re launching missiles.  By comparison, that is very short.  Since I wrote the earlier comment, I have begun to see individual statements by various congressmen.  But Congress as a whole hasn’t done anything.

  • Arab League head Amr Moussa told reporters Sunday that the Arab league thought the use of force was excessive following an overnight bombing campaign that Libya claims killed at least 48 people.
    “What we want is civilians’ protection, not shelling more civilians,” he was quoted saying by the Associated Press.

    >>> LOL, yeah, we have “Arab support”

    Epic fail.