Responsibility to Protect or Justifying the Right to Project Power?
The doctrine of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ [sic], is a stroke of PR genius that originated as the brainchild of a British colonial settler descendent in Australia, Gareth Evans, and a former Labour Party minister. The history of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine is, according to its ‘official’ website ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ (formerly known as the Right to Intervene, more on this below) as follows:
This is the same Gareth ‘Biggles’ Evans, Australian former ‘Labour’ foreign minister who in In 1991,
Evidently as far as ‘Biggles’ Evans was concerned the R2P didn’t extend to the East Timorese people, any more than it currently does to the Syrian or Palestinian people. Clearly the R2P doctrine is very selectively applied and applied by people and governments who are, by their own definition, themselves war criminals.
It’s all in the name
Later, in 2004 Right to Intervene was ‘refined’ somewhat, as ‘Responsibility to Protect’ which sounds so much more benevolent than the ‘right to intervene’ with all of its colonial/imperial connotations and history, especially in the Middle East. And what ‘civilised’ person would not agree with such a ‘civilising’ mission, crusade even, to protect the weak and defenceless from an evil “Medieval” state?
A “growing recognition” indeed. Tell that to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, to mention just a few of the countries, all of whom could have done with a good dose of the Right to Protect Themselves which is precisely what the Syrian government is doing.
The other disingenuous comment is the “[w]e endorse the emerging norm”. But this ‘norm’ emerged from nowhere other than the people and institutions that dreamt up R2P in the first place. And they can say this precisely because instead of ‘intervening’ it was ‘protecting’. However, there is a caveat as far as the Western public is concerned as the USUKNATO destruction of Libya demonstrates. In the UK, the majority were opposed to UK ‘boots on the ground’. Boots in the air was okay though.
MacShane’s ‘Tsunami of Hatred’
Another Labour Party MP, this time in the UK has picked up the R2P cudgel that ‘Biggles’ dropped, a cudgel to beat, very selectively, those who do not respect R2P. His name is Denis MacShane, who by the way is a member of the UK Parliament’s Labour Friends of Israel club and a staunch advocate of R2P. I only mention this because the R2P doctrine as expressed above would seem to fit the Palestinian people exactly:
But just as with ‘Biggles’ Evans, MacShane too speaks with forked tongue as this short exchange amply demonstrates:
Obviously it’s a case of ‘do as I say, don’t do as I do’. This is how ‘Labour’ politician (and Israel firster) MacShane described the BDS movement across Europe:
Note how Jew and Israel in MacShane’s universe are totally interchangeable. It’s not Jewish commerce but Israeli commerce that is being boycotted (nobody is saying that we should boycott your local Kosher deli), much of it originating from the illegally Occupied Territories. And BDS is not boycotting Jews but Israel. I’m Jewish but not Israeli and indeed I cherish the day the imperialist, Zionist project is no more and the land gets handed back to its rightful owners, the Palestinian people. “Tsunami of hatred against Israel”? But judging by MacShane’s venom directed against an Arab, it would seem he has his own personal ‘Tsunami of hatred’. And these are the people who urge us to invade, invade, invade all in the name of the Responsibility to Protect. Has the world gone totally mad? Apparently so as it’s sociopaths who run the place.
Thus you have to ask yourself what kind of R2P does MacShane and his kind have in mind for the Palestinian people which in turn leads me to ask, what kind of R2P did MacShane and his gangster accomplices have in mind when they destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now want to inflict the same kind of ‘protection’ on Syria?
Whether we like it or not, the issue is not the Assad regime no matter what we think of it, but of course this is entirely the point of the massive propaganda campaign that has been unleashed on the Western public. As long as we are led to focus on a “medieval” Syria and its brutal Assad dynasty as our glorious leader David Cameron asserts, the motives behind a rapacious imperial power’s real objectives in the world will forever remain hidden behind a facade of protecting with one hand and blowing people away with the other.
1. The ups and downs of Syrian Communist Party’s relationship with the Syrian state are convoluted and contradictory, one minute up and the next down, and generally reflect the ups and downs of the Cold War and of course Israel’s role in everything Middle Eastern. There’s a decent potted history of the SCP (and its various flavours) on Wikipedia