Small Wars Journal

Syria and R2P

Sat, 02/04/2012 - 6:48pm

I would very much like to receive some articles for the journal on "responsibility to protect" and the growing catastrophe in Syria.  If you have ideas, please submit them to

There is a growing clamor for an intervention in Syria from the likes of Anne Marie Slaughter and Steven A. Cook.

At my blog, I question the rosy thinking of those that support a responsibility to protect intervention in Syria:

I absolutely believe that in an ideal, linear, and rose colored world, we have a responsibility to stop the horrific loss of life in Syria.  However, in the real world, the dimensions of what is required to conduct even the "limited" intervention suggested by R2P fans is far greater than what they imagine. ... We all want peace, but it has eluded us since the dawn of time.  If we truly want to intervene, we must make an informed decision that counts the likely costs, rather than relying on facile assumptions and acronym imperatives to drive policy.  If an intervention is to be successful, it must be based on realistic assumptions and get a realistic investment from the get-go.

Categories: r2p - Syria



Sun, 02/05/2012 - 5:44am


I repeat my closing comment (21/9/11) on a previous thread on this subject: 'As SWC has regularly observed we can break a nation state - with military force; we struggle to then follow through, partly as non-military support is lacking and that terribly inconvenient factor TIME comes along, which gets louder saying "time to go folks".

How would the debate sound if it was not R2P, but D2P Determined to Prevail? Or D2R Decided to Rule.

If we left behind the grand sounding 'Responsibility to Protect' and achieved agreement to act in regional and international forums, the Arab League and the UN with the current example we would be making progress. As we all know agreement is elusive, let alone the next stage making a commitment - to "boots on the ground". Without commitment it will be the "usual suspects" again.

Being British I must have missed the advocates calling for American "boots" participation in the Congo. As UN peacekeeping figures show the "usual suspects" for example Canada have slimmed down their role and left it, sometimes, to "rent a soldier" nations like Bangladesh.