This Ford Policy Union event will feature a debate on the Responsibility to Protect, a principle emphasizing the responsibility of governments and international actors to protect populations from grave human rights abuses. November, 2012.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you for coming. On behalf of the International Policy Center, welcome to the second of the four Policy Union debates. My name is Nate Smith, and I'm a Masters of public policy here at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Policy. As a student with a particular interest in human rights and international security, I'm privileged to serve as moderator for today's debate on the "responsibility to protect". The Ford Policy Union debates are intended to bring in forum discussion of the international policy issues of importance and interest to the students of the Ford School, the University of Michigan community, and the wider policy world. It's part of the Ford School mission to educate policy-makers of the future. The International Policy Center plans to host several of these events over the remainder of this academic year, continue the series in subsequent years so as to enrich the educational experience of students, bringing leading voices on key policy issues to the Ford School to contribute to a wider, more forum discussion. We're grateful that the International Institute has joined us in the effort to organize today's event. Thanks to that effort, the debates on "responsibility to protect" is part of the Human Rights Initiative, jointly organized by the International Institute and the International Policy Center. Today's topic is the "Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect", sometimes known colloquially as RtoP. RtoP is an international norm consisting of three main pillars, one, that states we must act to protect our population from mass atrocities; two, the international community must support state's capacity to do so; and three, the international community must intervene, using force if necessary, to stop mass atrocities from occurring. Before explaining the mechanics of the debate, please allow me to introduce our participants. From Wayne State University Law School, Professor Brad Roth specializes in international law, comparative public law, and political and legal theory, and he is the author of the recent book, "sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement, Premises of a Pluralistic Legal Order". And from the University of San Diego, Joan B. Croc School of Peace Studies, Dean Edward Luck is a former Assistant Secretary-General and Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Focused on the conceptual, political, and operational development of the "Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect", our debate today will be conducted in a fashion similar to a competitive forensic debate. The difference is that there will be participation by the audience. Many of you have iClickers. Those are those little remotes that you were handed in the doorway out there. We'll be taking polls before and after the debate in order to discern how many minds have been changed by [inaudible]. Now, as an aside, I should take care to note that the areas of disagreement between our participants here are much more nuanced than this kind of simplistic "Yes" or "No" poll might suggest. Rather, our point here is to demonstrate to the students of the Ford School and the University of Michigan the importance of framing persuasive argument. So, in other words, let's not read too much into it [laughter]. The debate will be over this resolution. "This house resolves that the traditional duty of non-intervention among sovereign states must give way to responsibility to protect populations from grave human rights abuses, by force if necessary." Professor Roth will argue for the continued relevance of the norm of non-intervention, even in the face of grave human rights abuses. Dean Luck will argue in favor of the resolution, under which the international community has responsibility to intervene to stop such abuses. The debate will close with questions submitted by the audience. As you came into the auditorium, you received cards upon which you may submit questions for this portion of the event. We'll start collecting these questions after the opening statements conclude, and collect them until 6:45. We will then collate and prioritize them, and submit as many of them as time allows to the debaters. Following the audience questions, we will then evaluate the results of the debate in two ways. First, we will take a second vote of the audience using the iClickers as to whether or not the resolutions passed. While we're doing this, a trained forensic debate judge, Ms. Maria Lou [assumed spelling], will evaluate the performance of the debaters by the standards of competitive forensic debate. When this is complete, we will share the results of both evaluations with you. Once again, welcome to our ongoing series of international policy debates. Before we turn it over to our Guest of Honor, let's please take a poll. On the screen, you'll see the debate resolution.
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Oops. So I'll move that to the side for now. You can see you vote A for the affirmative, and B for the negative, and I'll keep it open for another five seconds or so [laughter].
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All right. See our results there [laughter]? Largely balanced, it appears [laughter].
>> Change your mind.
>> Nate Smith: And of course, the interesting part; we'll see at the end if any minds have been changed. But hopefully, regardless of whether minds have been changed, a degree of nuance has been achieved. So, thank you, everybody. Get your last-second votes in here, and -- all right. Good. Go. So I'm going to turn it over to the debaters' opening statements in a moment, but before I do that, I'd like to emphasize that you can submit questions not only via the old-school technology of pencil and note card but also via the new-school technology of Twitter. You should use the following hash tag, which should be on the screen, but it's -- the hash tag is...
>> Ford Policy Union.
>> Nate Smith: Ford Policy Union, all right, so that means the little pound sign, and then Ford Policy Union. So thank you very much, and enjoy the debate.
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>> Edward Luck: I feel rather dismayed to see those numbers because they can only go in one direction [laughter], so I'll try to dissuade all of you who were so affirmative to begin with, but I must say I am very much pleased to be here. I spent much of the last five, six years debating with member states, so I hope this will be no rougher than that, although I think the numbers in affirmative are rather different when you're dealing with the Cubas and the Irans of this world. Their views are maybe a little bit different, and maybe the differences will be a little less nuanced and maybe a little sharper than we have here tonight. But I thought I'd begin by posing a very simple question. Where did "responsibility to protect" come from? There have been those that have suggested it somehow appeared in the middle of the night from some people in the north who somehow wanted to impose their will on the people of the south as an invention of the strong to overcome the sovereignty of the weak, and that's not the way that we see it. We think that the "responsibility to protect" came from the history, the legacy, of the twentieth century. We remember the Holocaust. We remember the killing tales of Cambodia. How we remember the woods outside Strabinetze [assumed spelling]. We remember the carnage of Rwanda. There was a huge, huge public policy problem. There simply is nothing in the sovereignty of states that give them the right to murder their citizens in huge numbers. We have had a genocide convention since 1948. What we didn't have was any policy, any apparatus, any doctrine, any strategy to do something about preventing these kinds of crimes, or responding when they happened. And there were those who traced "responsibility to protect" to humanitarian intervention, through the efforts of Bernard Cushnair and others to talk about the right to intervene in such situations. We should remember that the "responsibility to protect" is not a nicer version, a neater version, of humanitarian intervention; it's an alternative. It's saying, "How do you do this, first and foremost in a preventive way, not simply trying to respond? How do you do it using the whole tools of the UN Charter, the Pacific Measures under Chapter six, the coercive ones under Chapter Seven, and the regional and subregional under Chapter eight, using the whole capacity of the international community?" It insists that any intervention be multilateral, not unilateral, that it be conducted under the international law and international organizations. There are those who charge that we are trying to create a whole new chapter in international law, that this is a radical departure, and it's nothing of the sort. And as I've said, and as the Secretary-General has said from the beginning, this is a political concept. It is based on existing international law. It is based on what we think is a proper understanding of sovereignty. States were not created in order to threaten their populations; states were created to protect populations. It's the most fundamental obligation of sovereignty. Citizenship has purposes, but it also has responsibilities. So, too, for leaders. Yes, they have certain purposes, but they have fundamental responsibilities, first and foremost for the populations on their territory. The "responsibility to protect" came from Africa. It came from the experience in Rwanda and elsewhere, where the African Union in 2000 agreed that under grave circumstances -- and they had three of the four crimes covered under RtoP, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity -- that there was a collective responsibility to respond and intervene, if necessary, in internal affairs. They recognized that when you're killing thousands and thousands of people, refugees are spilling across borders; when ethnic groups -- other sectarians' groups are in different sides of borders, that that kind of massive killing represents a threat to international peace and security. It is not a national issue; it is fundamentally an international issue and requires an international response. So the UN wasn't in the forefront in inventing RtoP. In fact, it was responding to efforts happening in various regions, and the growth of international norms and standards in these areas. At the World Summit in 2005, all the heads of state and government agreed on a formula for the "responsibility to protect". It was then our job in Ban Ki-moon's administration to turn that into strategy and doctrine, to try to get 193 member states on board. A few are still a little reluctant, but by and large they're coming to be very supportive, and they understand what we're trying to do, and then to operationalize it, and apply it in individual situations. In Kenya, in Acope Deboir [assumed spelling], in Kyrgyzstan, in Guinea Conakry, in Libya, we have applied "responsibility to protect" by and large with positive results. You don't tend to read about it in newspapers because it has not required military intervention. It's required quiet diplomacy. It's required having the International Criminal Court or regional courts so there no longer is impunity, that there is accountability to leaders who would commit mass crimes. It has been a quiet effort in most ways, and it's been an effort, step by step, to bring the member states aboard, and get them to understand that this is not a threat to sovereignty; it is the essence of sovereignty. Who is the enemy of sovereignty? Those who would try to restore international law and order; those who would wantonly kill tens of thousands, in some cases more than a million, of their own citizens. Are they the ones who are upholding sovereignty, or are they the ones who are giving sovereignty a bad name? So we think what we are doing is -- first and foremost is trying to assist states to meet their fundamental responsibility. We believe the sovereignty comes from the people; it is not imposed upon them. And we believe in sovereign member states. There wouldn't be a UN without them. But we do recognize that there are obligations; there are responsibilities, that come with sovereignty. And we recognize that the general course of international law, of international standards, has been toward building stronger institutions. These are not institutions that make it harder to govern; they're institutions that make it possible for states to govern because there's an enormous sovereignty gap. It's hard to think of any issue on which the state by itself can deliver to its populations. It needs to join with others. That's why international law has grown in one area after another. That is why international institutions have taken on new roles, not as the enemy of the state, but to allow the nation state era to proceed longer, to be more sustainable, and to be more survivable, because it's limited things like clashes between states; it's limited weapons of mass destructions; and it's beginning to limit mass atrocities against one's own people. So we think that this is a fundamental direction of international law and governance. We think it's something that's very consonant with the times. And we recognize that, as more and more states come aboard, and as the practice becomes more established, there is not more opposition; there's more support because they recognize that, in fact, historically, most of the interventions have been south to south, they've not been north to south. Big, powerful countries are not looking for excuses to intervene. This is why John Bolton, when he was the US permanent representative, opposed the "responsibility to protect", because he thought it imposed obligations and restrictions on US sovereignty because it implied that we should do something about this kind of carnage. So we recognize this is not a plot of the big against the small; it is -- in fact, we found from member state after member state, they said, "When we had problems, when we had instability, when we had sectarian violence, no one was there to help. No one would respond." So it's not trying to force something on these states; it's something that they want, but it needs to be done on international law; it needs to be done in a logical way, a proportionate way, with a large stress on prevention, not on response. We recognize that if we're always trying to respond to all this kind of violence, it's helpless. The UN cannot substitute for the sovereignty of the state, but it can, and we think it is, helping to reinforce that sovereignty. Thank you.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you, Dean Luck. Professor Roth.
>> Brad Roth: Well, it's -- I should be wearing a black hat, I guess, and as representative of the 24%, I don't know. The difficulty with this debate is that I'm really in the position here of saying not so much "No" to Dean Luck but "Yes, but," and explaining the basis of the "Yes, but" is going to require a kind of journey through some issues about the nature of the International Legal Order and about the role that RtoP plays within that basic structure. And the difficulty here is that RtoP has become rhetorically a kind of device that has gone far beyond the kinds of modest propositions that Dean Luck has put forward here, and so in some sense I'm going to be arguing not as much against Dean Luck but against some of the kinds of extrapolations that perhaps Dean Luck himself would resist, but that are inherent in the kind of discourse that we have about RtoP. Dean Luck talks about RtoP having three pillars. The first two pillars really I don't want to talk about because the First Pillar, about the responsibility to each state to prevent mass atrocities within their borders, is not by any means an innovation. It's not an innovation in the sense that the states have long had international legal obligations, specifically with respect to these matters. It's also not an innovation because sovereignty itself as conceptualized in the fundamental documents of the present International Legal Order actually is conceptualized as a manifestation of the self-determination of the whole population of the territory without distinction, and that itself implies an understanding that sovereignty is to be respected for the purpose of protecting the fundamental interests of whole territorial populations. So the First Pillar of RtoP is not legally significant. The Second Pillar of RtoP is not really a matter of legal obligation; it's a political development, and one that I think all of us could get behind as a positive move in the international community to take responsibility for what goes on within the borders of other countries, to try and assist in thwarting efforts by certain kinds of rogue elements to engage in mass atrocities. But the Third Pillar is the crucial one, and I am going to have to disagree with the claim that RtoP is fundamentally not just humanitarian intervention dressed up in a neater way because what is really distinctive about RtoP, actually, is the revisitation of a very old argument in international law, which is essentially about the license of states to invoke uses of force that are presumptively unlawful in the International Legal Order in the name of humanitarian purposes. That is a live question. It has long been a live question, both within and without international law. It's important to recognize that when we're talking about a "responsibility to protect" in this third and crucial sense, we are talking not simply about responsibilities and obligations; we're talking about licenses. We're talking, if you like, about a license to kill. But I don't mean to be demagogic about this. A license to kill may be exactly what you need in certain circumstances, to head off mass atrocities or to stop mass atrocities in progress. But we're talking about something that is extraordinarily potent here, extraordinarily consequential from the standpoint of territorial populations, and that, applied in particular cases, is going to be a matter not of ending civil wars but participating in civil wars on one side or other.
And you have to look at the kinds of situations where interventions have taken place, whether expressly for humanitarian reasons or with humanitarian reasons invoked after the fact as a kind of rationalization for big power interests. Sometimes it's difficult to make the distinction between those two things. Sometimes people with different things in mind support the same kinds of interventions. But we've seen what's happened in many interventions around the world in places where powers who were seeking to affect matters on the ground, and perhaps indeed in a beneficent way, have made a terrible mess of things at great expense to human life in the territory. So it's important not to oversell the idea of humanitarian intervention, to create the situation where you have in mind on the one hand the terrible, ugly world of sovereignty, and on the other hand a kind of idealized vision of civilization to the rescue. In fact, the issues are much more complicated than that, and Dean Luck understands that those issues are much more complicated. That's not where we actually disagree. But the problem is that the rhetoric of RtoP has a tendency to take on a life of its own, and to undermine the fundamental structure of the International Order, I'm afraid, with respect to a kind of caricature of the non-intervention norm. The non-intervention norm is not a norm about non-responsibility. As I've said, sovereignty in the International Legal Order has long been predicated on the idea of responsibility for the territorial population. On the other hand, sovereignty is not reducible to responsibility, and much of the rhetoric that you hear is about sovereignty as responsibility as opposed to merely sovereignty and responsibility. When you start to reduce sovereignty to responsibility, you create all sorts of opportunities for various actors with various agendas to say that states have forfeited their right to sovereign inviolability in the International Order. That right to sovereign inviolability in the International Order is based upon, basically, matters of principle, matters of policy, and matters of politics; matters of principle having to do with the importance of the self-determination of territorial populations, people who have an unshared stake within their territorial boundaries in the future of public order and the basis for the creation of lives for themselves within the particular context in which they live; secondly, the question -- and, crucially, the question of policy, the problem of untrustworthy implementers of universal values. The big problem in the International Order is that interests and values are very much in flux. We have a horizontal system of international enforcement that creates the license potentially on the part of particular states in the name of the international community to intervene, rather than actually lead a centralized force carrying out that intervention. Now, of course, and the third part is the untrusted nature of the implementers, the fact that the international system requires an accommodation broadly among states with different interests and values. In order to have a basis for international peace and cooperation, we need to have a set of ground rules that are clear. Now, of course, what -- "responsibility to protect" has been accepted by the United Nations establishes that the Security Council is indeed the source of authority for making the determination about the use of force. On the other hand, there's a problem of a kind of disconnect between the substantive norms of "responsibility to protect" on the one hand and the procedural norms on the other, that the substantive norms speak about the state manifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. But if you include war crimes in that, unadulterated, that could describe any civil war, and it becomes very unclear what RtoP then has by way of its limits. On the other hand, if we are going to rely heavily on the procedural aspect to work this out, and to see to it that we respect the decision of the Security Council, then we have to be concerned about the vetoes in the Security Council, and the efforts to do end-runs around vetoes where the notion is somehow that the process of the International Order is incapable of fulfilling the promises that had been made substantively. And what I'm most concerned about is that the promise of RtoP substantively brings us to a kind of fork in the road, potentially, where we find ourselves in a situation where there's a demand for a kind of action that our institutions, by their very nature, are incapable of fulfilling. And the result of that is potentially one of two things, one, a collapse into cynicism, and the other, the embrace of a kind of unilateralism that we have seen invoked frequently in the International Order, often with very negative consequences. And so those are the concerns that I want to put before you at the outset. Thank you.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you, Professor Roth. Now, Dean Luck, you'll have a chance to pose a question to Professor Roth, and he'll give you an answer, and you'll have a chance to respond to that.
>> Edward Luck: Well, I don't run an academic institution, and I respect the academic rigor of your arguments, and I'm not myself a legal scholar, but I've heard similar arguments made by member states maybe for less elevated reasons. And you hear a lot of talk about the misuse of the "responsibility to protect", and you've talked about the potential misuse of the "responsibility to protect". My problem, and this is a question, is what specific cases do you have where member states invoke the "responsibility to protect" to do things they should not have done in other places? Yes, theoretically it can be misused. My problem is I don't know what those cases are. And likewise you speak of the Security Council as being an imperfect vessel for holding RtoP. Most political institutions are. What is the alternative? Because if you're going to talk about the hypothetical possibility of creating international institutions that don't have vetoes, that don't have blockages, that don't have political considerations, are we dealing with a public policy problem here, or are we dealing with a theoretical issue? So I'd be interested, both in terms of misuse and in terms of other vessels to make these decisions, are you talking about any specific instances, or are you talking about hypotheticals?
>> Brad Roth: Well, I think with respect to misuse, there haven't really been a great many uses of the Third Pillar of RtoP in practice, and so one -- in an official sense, and so then the question arises of whether states have been prone to invoke humanitarian considerations in service of other agendas, often at great cost. And we've seen, of course, that happen. The problem is that, in order to get people -- in order to get states interested in actually applying the power that they have and investing the blood and treasure they have in the more extreme versions of RtoP, you need to have some sort of confluence of interests between the states that are being sort of contracted out to do this task and the interests of the international community as a whole. And the problem there is that it's hardly clear whether that confluence of interest will hold throughout the duration of a project, and you can see a number of efforts of states to engage in intervention that have had sort of quasi-humanitarian justifications. Clearly, the issues of the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the justifications of the Ethiopian incursion into Somali in 2007, all of these were, of course, quite flawed episodes. None of them, of course, were under the banner of "responsibility to protect". And I'm not concerned that the Security Council is an untrustworthy instrument by and large for doing these operations. Where the Security Council actually invokes "responsibility to protect" and authorizes states, I think that's the best thing we have potentially. But the problem I'm concerned with is that the Security Council will end up becoming deligitimated by the vary fact of its inability to agree to the circumstances of what counts as a justification for the invocation of the Third Pillar. And, under those conditions, we're likely to find ourselves back in all of the other cases, going farther back, going back to various kinds of policies being asserted during the Cold War by various states, that all of us could probably agree had a kind of predatory quality under humanitarian guise. And it would be very difficult to contain that dynamic because of the way in which there would be a sort of legitimation of an end-run. But in terms of what the alternative is to all of this, I think that the alternative is to go for consensus in the Security Council, and then failing consensus in the Security Council, we are frequently going to have to bite the bullet and not go forward even if we think the Security Council's wrong in not affirming the invocation of "responsibility to protect" in those circumstances.
>> Nate Smith: Dean Luck, would you like a chance to respond to that or...
>> Edward Luck: I would. I think that in some ways your arguments against "responsibility to protect" actually in the end are rationales for the "responsibility to protect" because of the historic misuse of humanitarian intervention. I agree there has been some. The pre-RtoP history, in fact, is why we need to "responsibility to protect" as we have it, as agreed by all the heads of state in government as 2005, as embedded in the charter framework, as using the multilateral vehicle of the Security Council. We don't have any examples since 2005 that I know of where there has been this sort of humanitarian intervention, regardless of international opinion, regardless of international law. I think what we are doing with RtoP is taking that danger and that risk, which I agree is out there, and putting it in a legal, institutional, political framework to tame it, in essence. The problem was that before there was much more temptation, I think, for unilateral use of force. Now I think the standard is not a norm in UN terms because it doesn't have a binding legal quality. It is in political science terms, but not in UN terms, a norm. But the normative nature of it, the fact that this has become an accepted international standard, the fact that there is very wide public support and engagement, as this evening is one more example of that, shows that there is a public involvement in this issue which I think is enormously helpful because it will help to keep governments accountable. And I think what we have done, in essence, is taken a dangerous beast, in some ways, of humanitarian intervention, put it in a framework that tames it and puts it in a positive direction. So I think what we have done is to listen to all those arguments. As I say, I spent most of the last five or six years arguing, struggling, discoursing with member states, many of whom are highly, highly skeptical. So every year, we've gone back to the general assembly with a new report. The first report I wrote in 2009, the big report in the strategy, and then looking at rapid response, then looking at regional, and then this most recent one looking at this Third Pillar, the responsibility. So I think we need to look at this and say, "Okay, what's a comparator?" You know, we can't compare it with an ideal situation. What other norms have we seen develop over the years? We think of human rights, you know. Where were human rights seven years after the Universal Convention? Where were human rights in 1955? Did people think they had any traction? More states then were disputing saying it was an intervention in terms of sovereignty. But over time, the political power, and the moral assuasion, has been enormous; yet there's no real enforcement norm. And it seems to me that if you look at that kind of trajectory, you know, we might, 10 years, 15, 20 years from now, be saying "responsibility to protect" has become a vary ordinary part of our lexicon, and of the standards and expectations we have of states, and that's where I hope we're going to be. So we're at an early stage, but I think the trajectory is quite encouraging. And, as I say, we've applied it in seven, eight different situations with by and large pretty good results.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you. If you'd like to pose a question...
>> Brad Roth: Yes, well, I'm concerned again about this question of the fork in the road, so I want to ask you about the inclusion of this unadulterated term, war crimes, as distinct from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, in the charge for the use of force. And I'm concerned, too, about the relationship between that and the idea of anti-impunity because we've seen associated these two different ideas. In fact, RtoP was originally about just humanitarian catastrophe more broadly, and became narrowed to deal with specific crimes. But the more that it's associated with crimes, the more it's associated with this idea of anti-impunity. And I'm wondering whether you share my concern that insofar as anti-impunity comes to replace in some sense the core value of non-use of force across borders, as the core of the International Legal Order, that you end up in a situation where you potentially license a ruthlessness to end all ruthlessness, that if the quest is to end impunity at all costs, then don't we lose sight of the fact that peace is essentially peace among people who regard one another as criminals much of the time?
>> Edward Luck: Interesting questions. One, on war crimes. The four crimes that are covered, genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, it's an odd group; I admit to that. Ethnic cleansing is not well-established in international law, though it could well be a precursor to other kinds of crimes. When we look at individual cases, almost always they'd end up being crimes against humanity. It's such a broad category, and if it's systematic and widespread, such as mass rape and other things, they clearly fall there. genocide is very clear, but you rarely know what it is until after the fact, given the proofs that are required in terms of intent and eliminating all or part of a particular group.YOu just don't know that when it's unfolding. War crimes hasn't been applied very much in this area because, one, we're trying to do prevention before a war takes place. And in most cases, this is not in what one would call a war unless you'd call a government, or in this case we've also included rebel groups or others, that they should be bound the same way. Non-state armed groups should have the same restrictions as governments in this sense. It's not usually a contest. Now in the case of Syria, actually, I think I was the first person in the UN system back in June, 2011, that said that evidence suggests that there's a real likelihood that crimes against humanity are being committed. Now more recently, since the ICRC has sort of said, "This is -- no, this is a civil war situation," people have started to call this war crimes. Now I agree; there's difficulties with war crimes because they can be individual acts. They may not be mass acts. They don't always fit very well. But these are the four sets of crimes that the member states agreed to, and so we accept that; we don't try a variance on that. But we have not seen that it is a hindrance to include war crimes. There could be the mass kinds of violence that we associate with atrocity crimes as a war crime. As I say, it's not been typical. Now on impunity, we think that accountability is at the essence of this. Government leaders should be accountable to their people, and they should be accountable to their neighbors and to international law. They don't just have willy-nilly to do what they want to do whenever they want to do it. And we don't have, quite frankly, very many tools. It's going to be rare that the Security Council is going to vote to take coercive action, and even rarer that that action is going to be military. We looked at Kenya. This is the first case that came up. We didn't even have the strategy laid out. It was the year before the Secretary-General's report. I was just beginning my work. But it looked to me, at least, that this was something that could unfold into something very, very nasty. It looked like ethnic cleansing was happening. We saw large groups of people, by tribal identity, being burned in churches. It reminded us of Rwanda. We saw the ethnic differences in Kenya. We saw where this could go. We saw the very dangerous combination of dissatisfaction about a political result tied to ethnicity, to tribal affiliation, and it looked very, very dangerous. So I said, "Look, we need to focus on prevention. We need to stop things. When you're responding, it's not going to be very effective, and this is a chance to make a difference." Fortunately, the Secretary-General agreed. Many other people didn't. And Kough Yunan [assumed spelling] in his mediation in Kenya used an RtoP lens, and when the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, went there, he did the same thing. And he went to the leaders of the opposition, and he went to the president, and he said, "Your people are inciting further violence." And people forget that in the Summit from 2005, the agreement wasn't simply to prevent four crimes. It was to prevent the four crimes and their incitement. And that is very, very important because that's the first thing you can see or hear, and try to do something about. When Gaddafi says that his opponents are cockroaches, well, we heard that before in Rwanda. The Tutsis were cockroaches. When President Bagbo's [assumed spelling] supporters in Coatabar [assumed spelling] started marking houses by tribal affiliation, we said, "We've seen this before. You know, this has to stop." And it stopped. So, you know, what do you say to these people? You say, "These things are not acceptable, and there now are international criminal mechanisms, the ICC, the International Criminal Court, regional tribunals. You cannot take it for granted that impunity will protect you."
And that is a deterrent, and that will dissuade this kind of action. As long as you can deter it, as long as you can dissuade it, that's a lot better than having to send the marines after the fact. And so that's what we're trying to do. So if we take away impunity and say it's sacrosanct, you know, if we say we can't raise the accountability issues, that for us loses a big, big tool and a peaceful tool.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you, Dean Luck. Would you'd like to respond?
>> Brad Roth: Well, the concern that I have, of course, this is with the emphasis on anti-impunity in the context you're talking about, war crimes, you are always going to have in civil conflicts war crimes. And, indeed, the less technologically sophisticated the armed forces are, the less likely they are to be engaged in a kind of conflict that will look like the rules of the Geneva Conventions directly apply. And so the difficulty is that by stressing the notion of anti-impunity as crucial to all of this, you make it that much harder for people who have committed themselves already to then engage in any kind of peaceful process. The difficulty of low-hanging fruit here is substantial, where typically there is culpability going all the way down in these movements, where war crimes have been committed substantially by both sides, or even when they are only committed by one side, the difficulty is that you have people who are already sort of in for a penny, in for a pound. They can't simply throw their top leaders overboard because they're sufficiently implicated in the very first act that they've committed in all of this, and that creates a great deal of difficulty in trying to bring about negotiated settlements of these questions.
>> Edward Luck: Just a small response. I think your point is a good one, but I don't think peace is sustainable without justice. And I think we need to move forward on both the peace and justice fronts, and in the end, that combination, I think, is the strongest. So it's not to me an either, or situation.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you very much. We're going to have just five minutes each for some closing statements, and then we're going to move into the question portion of the evening. So, Dean Luck, if you'd like to give your closing statement...
>> Edward Luck: Well, I've enjoyed the debate so far, and hope the rest will be -- I don't know how much the numbers have gone down [laughter], but I appreciate the exchange. But I think it's important to remember that this is a school of public policy, and we have a fundamental challenge to public policy here. We have to find responses that work, that are legal, and that there will be sufficient political will to support them. And I understand there are lots of theoretical problems with "responsibility to protect", but I know from personal experience there are a lot of operational challenges as well. And I think we have to recognize that we're at the beginning of a journey here. This is a very new concept. What is really unusual is that people are trying to do something about these things, and I remember the International Court of Justice's decision on Syria and Swebinetza [assumed spelling], and, you know, not being a lawyer, I can say as a layman, as a political scientist, it looked to me what they were saying is, "There's a responsibility to try. You know, you knew something was happening here. You had every reason to believe the possibility of a huge atrocity unfolding was around the corner, and you did nothing. You may have encouraged it, may not have encouraged it, but you did nothing." And I think what we're seeing with RtoP, it's saying one of the worst features of the twentieth century, one of the worst features of human history, have been these mass spasms of violence against completely innocent people, In Cambodia because they wore glasses, they were educated, or visited another country, they should be eliminated; the Holocaust, because you're a gypsy, because you're a homosexual, because you're Jewish, you should be eliminated; Rwanda, because you're Tutsi, Anata [assumed spelling], Hutu, you should be eliminated. You know, you have to do something about that, and, yes, there are theoretical problems, but if you are frozen, and if you refuse to ask the tough questions, if you refuse to try because there are theoretical possibilities of abuse, you will do nothing and you will feed that spasm of hatred and that killing that goes on from time to time. And we have to recognize, every country, if you look back at your history, there are incidents of this sort. And I may be a little bit naive, but I believe in the idea of human progress, and part of that is finding ways to cope with the very worst parts of our nature, the very worst abuses of our government, and we have a collective responsibility to try. And that's what I think RtoP is. We have to be very aware of the criticisms. We have to be very aware of the possible abuse. But I think what often people see is only that little part of the Third Pillar on the use of force. It's been done once with Libya. We think that tens of thousands of lives were saved in Libya. Was a Garden of Eden created overnight? No, there are still problems in Libya. But we took very serious when Gaddafi had his forces literally at the gates of Benghazi, and he said, "Blood is going to flow on the streets." We took him by his word. We had no reason to doubt him. And I think it's a good thing that the international community responded. I think it's a shame that the international community has not responded effectively in Syria. But that has not stopped the Secretary-General from repeating again and again that there is a "responsibility to protect" there. But we recognize that the politics and the Security Council won't always make those things easy. We also know there are no simple answers, but to look the other way, as they did with Homma [assumed spelling] Rules 30 years ago when President Assad's father killed tens of thousands of people in a fortnight and no one said anything, there was no international reaction. That's the danger. You find with the history of genocide, the history of mass atrocities, it's when people are silent, when they look the other way, when they find fancy reasons for not acting, that's the biggest danger. It's not that people want to rush in, militarily or other ways, in these kinds of situations. The history is they don't want to do it, and the "responsibility to protect" is saying, "Ask the tough questions. Remember that you're all part of humanity, and try to act as best you can." And that is our obligation. It's not an obligation to succeed all the time. It's not an obligation to use this tool or that tool. It's to use whatever tools reasonably you can at this point in time because we realize that kind of carnage is simply not acceptable. That's not the kind of humanity we want, and that's not the kind of world we want. Thank you.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you. Professor Roth?
>> Brad Roth: Well, of course, my answer to all of this is "Yes, but." And so I really do embrace virtually everything that Dean Luck has said. I'm a little bit concerned about the proof of non-abuse being an N of one, and so we are too early in the process to know about abuse, and even with respect to Libya, we have this very serious question of whether the mandate was exceeded. It was one thing to use force to try to prevent what seemed to be an impending mass atrocity in Benghazi, which, by the way, is something that I supported. But then came the question of, "Well, what then? Do we go all the way to regime change, and is regime change really within the scope of the authorization?" There's debate about this. I think not, and I think that by transgressing the scope of the limited authorization, that we've created great problems, including bolstering the recalcitrants of the Russians amd the Chinese in future cases. "Fool me once, shame on me, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." So the difficulties there are considerable, but I think that this is all a very constructive project, and all of what I have to say is as an internal critic of RtoP. And my concern has to do with the way in which this rhetoric can be abused, and particularly the way in which the setup for this is likely to create abuse, not because the Security Council will abuse the authority, but because what will happen is that the demand for intervention cannot be satisfied by the kind of diverse International Legal Order that we have, which is dominated by competing conceptions to this day of what counts as legitimate and just public order within states. We have the problem, not all so far unlike the circumstances of the Cold War as people like to imagine, that you have very different conceptions of legitimacy out there, and very different notions of what is an appropriate moment to intervene in these sorts of circumstances, and where you have deadlock, which is just predictable, then people are going to run with the idea of sovereignty merely as responsibility to create other kinds of realities on the ground. And one must always remember the potential for massive human costs to all of that. Furthermore, I want to guard against a kind of caricature of the nature of civil war violence. Yes, it's true that there are these cases involving ethnic cleansing and genocide and so forth, and I am four-square in favor of doing whatever is necessary to prevent those kinds of atrocities, but it's also important to recognize that civil wars are fought all over the world over the fundamental terms of public order by contesting parties that have deep constituencies where it's become a cliche to say that "yesterday's terrorist is tomorrow's statesman," but we've seen it happen over and over again.
We've seen people who are considered to be criminals in one era, like the current presidents of Brazil and Eribwi [assumed spelling], for example, become now highly respected and broadly respected presidents of their country. We have situations like el Salvador, Nicaragua, where we have not had a settling of accounts, and none the less where we've had things moving forward in all sorts of improbable ways where basically people needed to agree to disagree about who were the heroes and who were the villains in order for any kind of life in the society to go forward. We have to remember that we have both within states and within the international community fundamental disagreements about questions of legitimacy and justice. And where there can be no consensus, where there aren't clear cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, we're going to be stuck with partisan conceptions about what counts as criminality that people are going to take as license to invoke the notion of sovereignty being merely responsibility as a way to ignore the fundamental territorial inviolabilities ascribed by the international order to the sovereign states, and, of course, particularly in favor of weak states to guard them against potential predations by strong states that have potentially ulterior motives in seeking to impose their will to choose sides within internal conflicts.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you -- thank you both. This has been great so far, and we're going to open it up for audience questions at this time. Our first question concerns Libya. Obviously, this is pertinent and on many people's minds as it's relatively recent and appears to be a clearcut example. This is from the audience. "Isn't Libya an example of the dangers of RtoP? The big powers went beyond the mandate from the Security Council and imposed their political solution via a regime change. This is the Russian concern. Don't they have a point?" Dean Luck, if you'd respond first?
>> Edward Luck: Well, I think the question of regime change is an important one, and, needless to say, we've had a lot of discussions with the member states about that. And I'm going back to New York later this week for a retreat with the Security Council. I'm sure we'll have some more discussions there. And my response has been pretty clear. Yes, we believe in regime change in the sense that we want regimes to change their behavior. It's not about changing personnel. And personally, as I'm no longer the UN assistant, I can say we were not happy when the heads of state of the US, the UK, and France published that [inaudible], or whatever it was, saying that the object was to get rid of Gaddafi. We don't think that's the fundamental point. We think what you have to do is get a different kind of sets of institutions in Libya. If Gaddafi were to stay, it would have to be that he convinced people that he actually had a different kind of intent. But we don't want to reduce it to one person. I don't think the fundamental question in Syria is whether Assad comes or goes. The fundamental question is mass killing, and we worry very much about the future in Syria, where there is no international intervention in terms of that small 12% of the population that's Alawite, other minorities there if there's a change in regime, and there's no stability there. So the goal of RtoP is not to change the name on the door; that's not it. The question is to change the behavior. That said, my guess is that Libya is better off today than it would have been if Gaddafi had completed his work in terms of eliminating his opponents. You take a country like that, where you don't have well-developed civil society, you don't have well-developed political traditions, there are going to be complications. Nation-building doesn't happen overnight. It's a place where the UN has been deeply, deeply engaged, where we think there are a lot of positive trends, but there's still a lot of instability. We saw this in Benghazi, unfortunately, with the killing of the US ambassador there. But things happen, and you can't attribute everything that's bad happened because of RtoP. So it seems to me that, on balance, it was the right thing to do, but were there some excesses in terms of regime change? I think there probably were. But there have been studies of the number of civilian casualties and other things, and they actually were remarkably low given the amount of violence that there was there. And we have to remember the course that Libya was on. They might still be involved in a horrific civil war if there hadn't been that kind of intervention.
>> Nate Smith: Professor Roth, would you like a chance to respond?
>> Brad Roth: Well, I think had the foreign powers remained within the terms of the mandate, you would have had essentially a stalemate in civil war, which might have been worse than what you have now. But the difficulty is trying to evaluate the move beyond that because, on the one hand, "responsibility to protect" is supposed to be about preventing the atrocities, but then the logical next step, once you've prevented the onslaught, is, well, now what? Do you simply then try to let the two sides fight it out in a fairer manner or something, in which that sounds like it makes no sense whatsoever, or do you try to determine the outcome of the armed conflict, in which case you're into something which hadn't been agreed to in advance? And the difficulty with that sort of situation is breaking down the kind of system that makes possible accommodation over these matters in the first place, and we're seeing an outgrowth of that in Syria. I'm not necessarily convinced that the Russians and the Chinese would have gotten on board with Syria, even if they hadn't been betrayed in the Libyan context, but I think they do have a good talking point. And the Syrian context presents another kind of problem where you can have, with a breakdown of consensus, a situation where you have, as in the Cold War, intervention drawing counter-intervention. The assumption of so much discussion about humanitarian intervention is that the international forces can simply intervene to stop the war. That frequently is not the case, and in many instances, if you're going to have an intervention that is going to be seen as illegitimate by other powers who are going to take that as license to feed the fire by arming the opposite side, you can have simply an intensification of the conflict, so it's just unclear what the consequences of these things might be. At the same time, I was with you; I mean, I supported the initial effort in Libya, and hardly had the solution as to what one gets into after that.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you. I have a question now for Professor Roth to address first. "Looking at the recent examples of Libya and Syria, it might appear that the 'responsibility to protect' is, to a significant extent, subject to the feasibility of the military mission. To what extent should practical limitations be taken into account in the face of grave human rights violations?"
>> Brad Roth: I think, actually, that everyone is pretty much in agreement on this, that the issue that I'm speaking to is the question of the license for intervention, but the legality of the intervention doesn't actually over-determine the moral question of whether or not to intervene in one direction or the other. It may be circumstances in which it's lawful to intervene, and there is a mandate to intervene, and it's a really bad idea because what we can project as the consequence is going to be one that will increase rather than decrease the human cost. At the same time, of course, there may be circumstances where there is no legal authority, and there is a clear violation of international law at stake, and then we have to take on a different question, which is whether or not, if we believe strongly enough, that a massive atrocity can be feasibly prevented at a much lower human cost, whether indeed we have to sort of somehow weigh that consideration against the damage we're going to do to the international order and the international scheme of accommodation by breaching the international norms. Those are very hard questions, and I think they're on some kind of a sliding scale that we have to consider. And I'm simply wanting to say that the importance of maintaining the integrity of the international order is a critical element of that decision, not necessarily that it over-determines one's moral position ultimately.
>> Nate Smith: Would you like a chance to address that?
>> Edward Luck: Yes, I would. I think Syria is a quandary from any viewpoint. It was a tough one. As Professor Roth said, I don't think the Chinese or Russian position would have been different if Libya had not happened. I sometimes wondered if Syria happened first and Libya happened second, would things be different? I don't really think so. I think the calculations made in Mascore, Beijing, don't have much to do with "responsibility to protect", don't have much to do with Libya. It's just geopolitically something that matters to them for particular reasons.
But what I think we see in Syria is this responsibility to try to do something. If there is no international outrage, if there is no international response whatsoever, as the case 30 years ago in Syria, that really is saying, "It's okay to do whatever you want to your people. We're going to look the other way;" as in the Holocaust, people didn't want to acknowledge it existed. They wanted to look the other way. That simply isn't acceptable, but that doesn't mean we automatically have good, effective policy tools in every case. But I think a political cost is being paid by the regime in Syria for the way it's acting, and no the opposition is paying a political cost because of the excesses on its side of the ledger. And these both sides need to be held to a higher standard than they've been able to perform, and its' interesting. The proposition tonight talks about intervention, including possibly military intervention. But if you hear these complaints, the squealing from various regimes when their human rights behavior gets criticized, the very verbal condemnation is to them intervention in sovereignty, intervention in their internal affairs, so I think we have to recognize that the term we use at the UN is not intervention, of course. We talk about engagement, degrees of engagement over time, and early active engagement is extremely important. The problem with Syria, of course, is we haven't had any way in. It's the kind of regime that doesn't give you any room. We've been trying to find ways of working with individual communities within Syria to try to build up some barriers if mass violence goes, because we've seen in most of these cases some communities are not affected as much as others if they have certain things in place beforehand, and we just haven't been able to do a very effective job of that in Syria because of the nature of the regime. I can think of a few other places it would be like that today, but I think the good news is that borders are more porous than they used to be. Movements about human rights and atrocity prevention are much broader than they used to be. Communications is different than it used to be, and so the public engagement, the moral engagement in these kinds of issues, and potentially most cases, diplomatic engagement is much more possible than it used to be before. But Syria happens to be just a very, very tough case. But I think it's a lot better that people are trying to do things than sitting back like 30 years ago and saying, "Well, do whatever you want to your people. It's not our concern."
>> Nate Smith: You mentioned the Holocaust, and we actually have a thought experiment here from an audience member regarding World War Two, if I might pose it to both of you. World War Two involved both international aggression, i.e., invasion into Western Europe -- or Eastern Europe, and the genocidal policies of the Nazis. Under RtoP, would these genocidal policies alone have warranted full scale intervention, and the use of force on the order of World War Two?
>> Edward Luck: It certainly would have justified intervention. You don't first go to military force, but clearly you would have had to go to that eventually. And I think if you look back, the Founding Conference of the UN in San Francisco in 1945, the Holocaust really was barely mentioned at all, and that was by an NGO or two. The governments, including our own, didn't want to face that fact one way or the other. And, you know, people say, "Well, the UN was the response to the Holocaust." Unfortunately, it wasn't because people wanted to look the other way and pretend it didn't happen. And that's the kind of shadow that I think is going to be with us over these kinds of policies, and that's why I argue better to have early engagement, better to try to do something, even if you're unsuccessful, than not. That's fundamentally what RtoP is, finding ways of responding, and get as many people as possible behind that. You know, if you look -- if you had a UN, which you didn't have at the time of the Holocaust, and if you had been able to have the same kind of international will that you have now, there would have been all sorts of things that one could have done. Would that have changed the German program? I don't know. It might have; it might not have. But we know what happens when you don't try to engage those things. And I've gotten very interested in the individual "responsibility to protect", and my wife is a psychologist, and I help out in San Diego to help develop that further, because in the end it's not just governments and international institutions that have responsibilities, but individuals. And it seems to me, the governments are not black boxes; they're made up of individuals. They make choices, and these kinds of crimes are mass crimes; they require mass mobilization. So many, many, many, many people get involved in this, and they each make their individual decisions for whatever. Are they going to stand up to hate speech, and the singling out of particular minorities within a country as targets? Are they going to stand up to incitement? Are they going to hold their own officials accountable? Are they going to pay attention to these things? Are they going to find it convenient to join the masses in crushing some minority? You know, those are fundamental issues, and we can't pretend that our societies are immune from them. So when I have been touring around the world in these things, you know, so many regions, they say, "Well, the RtoP is fine because it doesn't apply to us." And you remind them, "This happened next door. You know, it could happen next where you are." And it's not a coincidence that when everyone said, "This is all about the global south," the Secretary-General's first speech in RtoP was in Berlin to remind people.
>> Nate Smith: Professor Roth?
>> Brad Roth: Yes, well, there's a line, typically you'll hear it in law schools, among conservative law professors particularly, that hard cases make bad law. And I've always opposed that view. I don't think that hard cases make bad law. I do think that extreme cases generate bad dicta, as we say, that there's a tendency for fixation on extreme cases to give rise, not to narrow exceptions that take into account the full range of possibility, but rather, to use individual cases as a way of entirely seeking to discredit particular sets of norms. And so a situation like the Holocaust, a situation like Nazi Germany generally, gets pulled out very frequently in many kinds of discussions, both in the context of intervention and in the context of international criminal justice as this sort of example that seeks to problematize everything about sovereignty, everything about non-intervention, everything about immunity, when, in fact, Germany was an extraordinary case of a commission of pan-continental aggression, the commitment of multiple genocide, the Legal Order that not only breached the international system but actually sought to, and effectively did, destroy the International Legal Order. And so it -- one has to be concerned about examples of that as, you know, applying to circumstances where we have a functioning International Legal Order that has particular kinds of mechanisms of response, and fundamentally the question we have in dealing with issues is how we address institutional failures at the international level, and that's a very different kind of question, I think. The Rwanda genocide is another example that is typically pulled forward in this respect, and the important thing to note about the Rwanda genocide is that what was the failure there was entirely the failure of political will. It was not the failure of the license to intervene. It wasn't as though people were chomping at the bit to intervene, but restrained somehow by an international norm of non-intervention. The authority was open for any state that wished to intervene under the circumstances. The fact is that no one wanted to because no one had sufficient interest until such time as the French decided that they wanted to intervene in Operation Turquoise, and they did so in ways that potentially were infected by their own history of relationship to the perpetrator regime, and, therefore, perhaps then people disagree about the facts on the ground in this respect, but perhaps made things worse rather than better as a result. And so we always have to be careful in looking to the big, bad example as a way of reconceptualizing the fundamental structure of constraint on the exercise of power in the international system.
>> Nate Smith: You mentioned Rwanda, and that brings us to another question that I'd like to pose to both of you, and I'd like to give you the first crack at it. Do supporters and skeptics of the RtoP draw different lessons from the genocide in Rwanda? And, by contrast, would they draw different lessons from the UN intervention in East Timor?
>> Brad Roth: Well, with respect to East Timor, the important thing to note is that the sovereignty of Indonesia that was claimed was never internationally recognized with respect to East Timor, and so East Timor was always a kind of sui generis situation. It was always within the scope of special UN consideration of concerns about self-determination and decolonization.
The decolonization of East Timor from Portugal was thwarted when Indonesia invaded in 1975, did so terribly, bloodily, and imposed itself on that territory, and the international response to all of that has to be seen in that context, and it's very much within the basic framework of the self-determination and non-intervention regime that actually existed in the international system. With respect to Rwanda, I think, yes, people do draw different conclusions, and I would draw different conclusions to some extent, and to other extents not. I think that, on the one hand, the failure in Rwanda was politically very significant in drawing attention to the need of the international community to respond much more vigorously to these circumstances. It was a horrific embarrassment to the International Order to have sat idly by and let 800,000 people be murdered in the course of three months. No question about that. But, again, the greater licensing of the use of force in such circumstances doesn't actually provide any kind of guarantee that you're going to get more of the intervention that you want in the places that you want it. The problem there wasn't a failure of license; the problem there was a failure of political will. And, as I mentioned, where there was the political will, that perhaps is the exception that proves the rule because the intervention of the French was at least certainly questionable with respect to its positive efficacy. And one could go quite farther in speaking about how the French intervention actually gave the possibility of who to extremists to escape across the border, and lead to further problems in the Congo that ultimately culminated in a civil war and set up mass atrocities that dwarfed that of Rwanda. Of the 800,000 people killed in Rwanda, horrible as that is, it pales by comparison to some 3,000,000 people killed in the chain reaction events that took place across the border in the Congo after all that had taken place. And people can disagree about whether or not Operation Turquoise actually had some effect in helping to bring that about, but the Rwandan case, I think, is much more complicated in terms of its lessons for these issues than is ordinarily acknowledged.
>> Nate Smith: Dean Luck, would you agree with this assessment?
>> Edward Luck: I think there are areas here that we agree. I think I'd probably say it a little bit differently. And I remember Rwanda rather vividly. I actually remember being on the 38th floor, Secretary-General's floor, the day when there was so much pressure to pull the troops, the UN troops, out. And one of the things we forget is how much this was related to Moga Deshu and Black Hawk Down, and the attitudes in Congress in Washington about US involvement in these kinds of situations. And I remember the enormous, enormous pressure to find a thousand reasons not to intervene, to find a thousand reasons not to respond in these kinds of situations. That was the onus in those days, and, I think, we find the danger and the risk not only of acting, but the danger and risk of not acting and coming up with excuses not to act, and I think it's partly a question that RtoP, in my view, makes you ask sometimes the right questions in these kinds of situations. And if you don't ask the right questions, you won't get the right answers. I remember very vividly the focus in those days was on the Arusha Peace Process, and Rwanda was a member of the Security Council at the time, feeding false information -- this is the genocidal government -- about what was and wasn't happening. The UN didn't have the early warning mechanisms in those days. It didn't have the assumption that you should look very hard at the possibilities of this kind of sectarian violence. Instead, it was, "Don't disrupt the peace process. Let it go forward." And I remember the enormous pressures, first from Belgium to withdraw its forces, because, remember, it was 12 Belgium peacekeepers who were murdered trying to protect the Hutu moderate prime minister, and they killed her and they killed the peacekeepers at the beginning to show that they meant business, and assuming correctly that after Moga Deshu, the international community didn't have the will to take any casualties in these kinds of situations. So, yes, I think that if there had been the "responsibility to protect" in those days, and you had the early warning and other mechanisms, if you had a presumption like this Secretary-General does that you have to look very carefully at the possibility of this kind of violence, you would have had a very different result. I was with Romeo Delair [assumed spelling] a couple weeks ago, who is a Canadian colonel then, now a general, who refused to leave. Three times, the Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali called him, told him it was time to go; the mission was over. Three times, he told the Secretary-General, "NO, I'm staying." The western forces by and large left. The Canadian forces, other African forces, stayed. I know the general very well, the Canadian who stayed, and he said, "We have to stay to protect our African brothers." We don't know the numbers, but tens of thousands of lives were saved because those two individuals said they would stay, even though they were told they were supposed to leave. So that's where I get back to the individual "responsibility to protect". If you don't think saving those lives is terribly important, if you have a lot of theories about why that's too complicated, you say, "Yes, well, this is a tough one. Let's go somewhere else and do something else." But they said, "No, this matters," and they stayed, and a lot of people are alive today because of that.
>> Nate Smith: Could you address Professor Roth's point that the eventual French intervention down the line ended up costing many more lives than it saved?
>> Edward Luck: Well, since I'm no longer at the UN, I can comment. I'm a permanent member of the Security Council, I suppose [laughter]? I agree with his point about their involvement with the Hutu side throughout. Some questions of perhaps behind some of the arming of the government, etcetera, perhaps being a little more willing to look the other way. And yes, Operation Turquoise, of course, was not under RtoP. There was no RtoP. It tended to protect the retreat of many of those who had been most responsible for the genocide. That then did destabilize the Eastern DRC. And I think all of this shows that if you had "responsibility to protect" in place, if you had a doctrine, a strategy, to carry it out, if you had wide international acceptance of that, if you had a Secretary-General very attuned to that, we would not have the kinds of problems we have in Eastern DRC today. It's in the absence of all of that that we ended up with this mess, so you can't tie that to RtoP. I would think very much it's the lack of RtoP, it's the lack of an effort to really take these kinds of issues seriously as a high priority in national and international policy, that allowed this to happen. You know, because we find with all these crises, in our little office that we have in "Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect", we were asking questions that no one else was asking. We were concerned about things that other people were not concerned about. You had a lot of big departments with a lot of big responsibilities, whatever, but if you don't have people saying, "Our job is to prevent atrocity crimes, and that is job one, and we're going to do that," it's not going to be done. And if you didn't have RtoP, it would not be done because no one would have that job, no one would be looking at the early warning, no one would be saying incitement is bad, no one would be looking at the histories and ethnic differences and things within the society, and no one would look at that course of events down the road. I mean, you know, in Syria, we're very, very worried about eventual genocide, and probably the genocide against the Alawites because President Assad has used them in this way. That's an enormous danger. If you're just talking about peace processes and, you know, who should rule Syria, whatever, you're not going to ask those questions, and by and large those questions are not being asked, and I really worry what's going to happen in the next couple of years there.
>> Nate Smith: Professor Roth, we're just about out of time, but if you'd like 30 seconds, 45 seconds, to respond to that...
>> Brad Roth: Well, yes, I'm kudos on all of these matters. I think that it's excellent what the United Nations has attempted to do in many of these circumstances. But the fundamental problem, particularly from the standpoint of international law, is what you can actually expect by way of exercises of such political will as you have or are going to have. And if there were the wholesome political will on the part of empowered actors to do what's necessary to prevent atrocities for purposes only of seeing to humanitarian ends in these places, yes, that would be a wonderful thing. The question is, "Do we have any evidence, actually, that that is the sort of political will engaged in these sorts of questions?" And if we don't have assurance of that, then what we have basically are legal protections that deal with conditions of mistrust, as legal protections so frequently do.
And so we have a continued significance of the non-intervention norm, subject, of course, to the kind of consensus that is required for Security Council Chapter Seven resolution. And in the absence of that, the important thing is to not use RtoP as a way of deligitimating traditional constraints on the exercise of power across borders that we know from history have not tended toward humanitarian outcomes.
>> Nate Smith: Thank you very much to both of you. I'd like to give you a round of applause.
[ Applause ]
I'm going to turn it over briefly to our professional debate judge here to make some comments for the edification of the wider University of Michigan community while I get our electronic polling set up again. Thank you.
>> Maria Lou: I feel a little weird with that title, but I think that you guys are both fantastic debaters. If you -- it was great. I think that the way that you framed the arguments, whether it was through the historical progress of the benefits of RtoP or the potential problems and the use of examples, demonstrates that the resolution that we've come up with here is a bit too simplistic to really what the RtoP is about. So I think that there's agreement that we all probably -- we have the responsibility to try, and there's, I think, a consensus here that we need to add. I think that what this debate does is raises important questions about potential legal or political difficulties, or operational difficulties, of what the RtoP kind and cannot accomplish. So I think that we have turned -- we were turned in the right direction. I think that this is a demonstration of why debate and discussion is good, because it might help us figure out how to come closer to an optimal solution instead of trying to polarize the discussion. So I thoroughly enjoyed the debate, and I want to see what the new results are [laughter].
>> Edward Luck: It sounds like you could be a diplomat [laughter].
>> Maria Lou: Maybe, I don't know. I'm in law school so we'll see [laughter].
>> Nate Smith: Okay, so the resolution is on the screen. Feel free to vote here, and make it known if the discussions night has changed your mind. And also, please let us know in person, and by email, and contact, if you learned something else. Maybe your mind wasn't changed, but maybe your understanding gained nuance or texture. All right, I see a few changed minds up there. It's great to see. So, once again, I'm going to stop it in -- oh, you know, we see a dissenting vote on E over there [laughter].
So, while that's up there, I'd like to thank the speakers. This has been a very thoughtful and engaging discussion. I think that we tackled a lot of the nitty-gritty details with respect to the theoretical foundations and "responsibility to protect", as well as to the implementation and operation of these interventions or non-interventions. To those of you with iClickers, I'd remind you to return them outside in the foyer, and get your M-cards back. And we hope to see you again at our next policy -- Ford Policy Union debate. It's going to take place on January 16th, and it will feature our own Alan Geardorf [assumed spelling] and Thea Lee [assumed spelling] of the American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations, debating the pros and the cons of free trade. Thank you very much, and thank you very much to our participants.
[ Applause ]