The aid crisis in Burma following the cyclone prompted some interesting discussion of the UN-endorsed principle of the “Responsibility to Protect.”  

For background on the principle of “R2P” see the website of the newly-created Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the Ralphe Bunche Institute for International Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.

The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner first raised the question with respect to Burma  earlier this month.

The BBC’s Laura Trevelyan touched on the issue yesterday on The World.

Samantha Power and Fred Hiatt discussed the issue last week on NPR.

Aside from the question of whether R2P is relevant to Burma, there’s been a heated debate about its merits with respect to Darfur. Advocates of R2P see Darfur as a test case. Critics say R2P is just a slogan and a false promise. 

Gareth Evans makes the case FOR.

Alex de Waal makes the case AGAINST.

Part of the disagreement hinges on whether you think R2P is synonymous with military intervention or not.

Lots of food for thought.


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