Much of the determination by the Obama administration and other Western leaders to punish the Assad regime for gassing its own people is probably informed by a controversial doctrine that evolved in the aftermath of the international community's collective shame following its failure to intervene in Rwanda. As the world stood by, as many as a million civilians were brutally slain during the three-month bloodbath in 1994.
Eight years ago, when this doctrine – known as The Responsibility to Protect, or “R2P” – was on the brink of gaining international acceptance, I wrote the following column in The Aquarian explaining what it is and why I believe it's an important step forward for global justice and security.
But while R2P might be a motivating factor for those who would intervene militarily in Syria, it's very unclear if America's non UN-sanctioned action would meet the cautious R2P criteria. More to the point, of course, will it help or will it hurt?