The responsibility to protect (R2P) is an illegal but legitimate conception that faces numerous challenges to becoming international law and a customary norm. The past misuse of R2P by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) creates challenges to R2P that might be insurmountable; clarion calls of R2P being an arm of colonialism, and a tactic of self-interest are valid. So too are the methods at which we address intra-state conflict and combat global terrorism. The dynamics between sovereignty, R2P, and global terrorism allow a nation to discount sovereignty in order to attack another country but claim sovereign rights when asked to protect another country’s population. R2P, if separated from those dynamics, can protect a population within an intra-state conflict, and a community invaded by an outside nation fighting terrorism. As such, R2P is a critical post-Cold War norm. Using the crisis in Syria, the argument that globalization causes any conflict, international or intra-state, to threaten international peace and security is made to support the validity to R2P.
Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Reconstruction do not need to look far or innovate anew to find a general guide or theory that can be useful in practice. Social interaction, communicative construction, or social constructivism, by whatever name you call it, is easily adaptable to the various situations faced in resolving and reconciling conflict. Constructivism is already a cannon of theory in international relations (IR), with ideological roots in social constructivism (Dunne, et al. 189). This essay will focus on communicative interaction which is a part of social constructivism, as a means of understanding the identities and socially constructed realities of those in conflict and of those trying to mediate conflict. Thomas Luckmann’s 2008 article “On Social Interaction and the Communicative Construction of Personal Identity, Knowledge, and Reality” is used to underpin and explain the abstract ideas of social constructivism, or communicative construction.
Post-conflict state-building is here to stay as a rule to follow when resolving and reconstructing a war-torn area. Regional organizations in cooperation with the United Nations (UN) are a promising division of labor to utilize in state-building. When any organization, be that state or non-state actors intervene in a conflict, it presents numerous challenges. This essay, using punitive and reconciliatory measures as a focus, highlights the challenges to sovereignty, the use of force, and accountability inherent to state-building as a norm in the international community.
State/nation-building as a term to describe the resolution of conflict and reconstruction of an area post-conflict is an oversimplification of the variables at play. However, for the sake of clarity, the term state-building will be used in this essay. James Dobbins et al. (2003) underpins this when describing other conflict resolution terms by saying, “we believe it comes closest to suggesting the full range of activities and objectives involved” (p. 1). Other names that include similar activities found in state-building are occupations, peacekeeping missions, as well as stabilization and reconstruction missions.
Policymakers face increasing challenges when utilizing the tools of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. These devices are interconnected, however, since the end of the Cold War their connections have become critically important due to the overwhelming degree of intrastate conflict. This essay will explain conflict resolution and reconstruction as well as why conflict is notably internal post-Cold War. Understanding the connections between political, security and economic tools of resolution and reconstruction will aid in understanding how they are applied. As well, this essay will analyze the challenges actors come up against when using those tools in an attempt to resolve a conflict of notable intrastate dynamics.