This article draws on non-Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) research into expectations to argue that in the aftermath of the intervention in Libya and non-intervention in Syria scholars have to manage RtoP expectations. In so doing, it introduces four types of expectations into the RtoP discourse: ‘expectation gaps’, ‘expectation vacuums’, ‘expectation clouding’, and ‘inherited expectations’ – the latter of which is this author’s own contribution to the discourse. To illustrate the utility of the expectations approach, the article focuses on the debate over inconsistency in order to highlight the role of expectation gaps and inherited expectations. Going forward, it calls for further research into RtoP expectation management to be conducted and identifies key debates which need to be addressed. Ultimately, it advances an understanding of the RtoP that is inherently more sensitive to its limitations and possibilities.
This article introduces the special issue and identifies three key contributions. First, RtoP advocates are right to mark the progress that has been made, but that should not – and generally does not – lead norm diffusers to rest on their laurels or to fall into a complacency that sees moral progress as inevitable. Second, the burden of concrete protection practices – whether they be reflected in contributions to peacekeeping missions or the granting of asylum – is being unfairly distributed across international society. This hierarchy is potentially destabilising and it demands that the great powers – or those laying claim to that identity – recognise their ‘special responsibility to protect’. Third, the great powers do have an important responsibility to reconcile the demands of human protection and international peace and security. It is difficult to reconcile these if we look narrowly at the former in terms of intervention, especially military intervention. Reiterating RtoP to remind states that other prudent options are available – such as receiving refugees – is an important step, especially in the current context.
In a post-R2P world, policymakers are not only confronted by the real life challenge of mass atrocity crimes but are also faced with a variety of voices offering alternative ways for framing the problems involved. The dominance of realism in 20th century political discourse puts forward the view that states do not have a moral obligation to protect the citizens of other states. As a result, the R2P remains just another policy option, one that should only be opted for when national interests are at stake. From this perspective, the national responsibility that states have to their citizens clashes with the international responsibility to protect populations the world over from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Accordingly, this clash of responsibilities exposes a series of complexities regarding morality, power, survival, security, sovereignty, and order to name just a few. With this in mind, this paper engages with realist critiques in order to create a constructive conversation to help show areas of agreement and disagreement which will provide us with a more informed understanding of the challenges that face R2P implementation.
Global Responsibility to Protect is the premier journal for the study and practice of the responsibility to protect (R2P). This journal seeks to publish the best and latest research on the R2P principle, its development as a new norm in global politics, its operationalization through the work of governments, international and regional organizations and NGOs, and finally, its relationship and applicability to past and present cases of genocide and mass atrocities including the global response to those cases.
Global Responsibility to Protect also serves as a repository for lessons learned and analysis of best practices; it will disseminate information about the current status of R2P and efforts to realize its promise. Each issue contains research articles and at least one piece on the practicalities of R2P, be that the current state of R2P diplomacy or its application in the field.
Global Responsibility to Protect promotes a universal understanding of R2P and efforts to realize it, through encouraging critical debate and diversity of opinion, and to acquaint a broad readership of scholars, practitioners, students and analysts with the principle and its operationalization.
Global Responsibility to Protect seeks insights and approaches from every region of the world that might contribute to understanding, operationalizing and applying R2P in practice.
Online submission: Articles for publication in
Global Responsibility to Protect can be submitted online through
Editorial Manager, please
Need support prior to submitting your manuscript? Make the process of preparing and submitting a manuscript easier with
Brill's suite of author services, an online platform that connects academics seeking support for their work with specialized experts who can help.