Get access

Responsibility to Protect and Militarized Humanitarian Intervention

A Reply to Glanville


  • Esther D. Reed

  • I am indebted to James Page, Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Assistance Mission Afghanistan (UNAMA) for conversation and comments on this paper. Any errors remain my responsibility.


My essay “Responsibility to Protect and Militarized Humanitarian Intervention: When and Why the Churches Failed to Discern Moral Hazard” (JRE 40.2) called for more questioning engagement with R2P than the broadly uncritical welcome given by the churches to the doctrine between September 2003 and September 2008. In response to Luke Glanville's reply, this essay identifies further reasons for caution before accepting R2P and so-called humanitarian wars alongside defensive wars as paradigmatically justified. It is structured with reference to the tests in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, the Report by the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, as recommended to the General Assembly when considering whether to authorize or apply military force: seriousness of risk, intention, last resort, proportional means, balance of consequences.