Perilous Noninterventions? The Counterfactual Assessment of Libya and the Need to be a Responsible Power

in Global Responsibility to Protect
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This article argues that Hardeep Singh Puri’s Perilous Interventions fails to fully grasp the risk of perilous nonintervention. It makes two central points. First, the fallacious critique of intervention reflects a worryingly narrow understanding of the r2p, particularly its third pillar, which overlooks the contributions that the r2p can make more generally. Second, Puri’s account highlights a clear lack of responsible leadership on behalf of India, in particular in relation to its failure to support fully the ‘Responsibly while Protecting’ proposal and lack of critique of the foreign policy of Russia.

Perilous Noninterventions? The Counterfactual Assessment of Libya and the Need to be a Responsible Power

in Global Responsibility to Protect




James Pattison‘The Ethics of Arming Rebels’Ethics & International Affairs29/4: 455–71.


Hardeep Singh PuriPerilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos (London: HarperCollins2016) p. 8.


Jacqueline H.R. DeMeritt‘Delegating Death: Military Intervention and Government Killing’Journal of Conflict Resolution59/3 (2015): 428–54; Matthew Krain ‘International Intervention and the Severity of Genocides and Politicides’ International Studies Quarterly 49/3 (2005): 363–87.


Jeffrey Goldberg‘The Obama Doctrine’The AtlanticApril 2016.


Thomas L. Friedman‘Obama on the World: President Obama Talks to Thomas L. Friedman about Iraq, Putin and Israel’New York Times8 August 2014. Also see Aidan Hehir ‘Libya’s Collapse into Chaos Is Not an Argument against Intervention’ The Conversation 27 April 2016.


Shadi Hamid‘Everyone Says the Libyan Intervention Was a Failure. They’re Wrong’Vox5 April 2016.


Roland Paris‘The “Responsibility to Protect” and the Structural Problems of Preventative Humanitarian Intervention’International Peacekeeping21/3 (2014): 569–603.


PuriPerilous Interventions p. 96. Also see the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report on Libya p. 15. For a view to the contrary see Vilmer ‘Ten Myths’ pp. 25–6. Vilmer argues that Gaddafi did order his army to attack his own population and that on the eve of the intervention the death toll was at least 1000.


PuriPerilous Interventions p. 200.


 See James Pattison‘The Case for the Nonideal Morality of War: Beyond Revisionism vs. Traditionalism in Just War Theory’Political Theory forthcoming.


PuriPerilous Interventions p. 208.


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