I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, Colin Tyler and in particular Nicholas J. Wheeler for comments on earlier drafts of this article.
Libya and Syria: R2P and the spectre of the swinging pendulum
Article first published online: 10 SEP 2013
© 2013 The Author(s). International Affairs © 2013 The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Volume 89, Issue 5, pages 1265–1283, September 2013
How to Cite
MORRIS, J. (2013), Libya and Syria: R2P and the spectre of the swinging pendulum. International Affairs, 89: 1265–1283. doi: 10.1111/1468-2346.12071
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 10 SEP 2013
This article examines recent UN Security Council deliberations over events in Libya and Syria and in particular assesses the extent to which Council members sought to justify their positions and voting behaviour by reference to the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P). It shows how limited invocations of R2P were with regard to Libya, before proceeding to demonstrate how, somewhat paradoxically, R2P-sceptics such as Russia and China subsequently drew upon concerns over the manner in which NATO implemented its UN-mandate in Libya to cast doubts over R2P during debates over Syria. Contemplating the implications of the Libyan and Syrian cases for the future of R2P, the article concludes by arguing that the concept's international standing can best be preserved through the excision of its most coercive elements; R2P should be reconstituted as a standard of acceptable sovereign behaviour and a mechanism geared towards the provision of international guidance and support, while decisions over coercive military intervention, inevitably infused with considerations of strategic interest, should be made outside the R2P framework.