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.
Successful negotiation boils down to three essential factors: agency, operation, and language. There has to be a drive by both sides to talk. Our readings this week have adequality shown when and where those meeting points transpire, of which they are rooted in the struggles for power and whichever side of the conflict is losing or winning, as well as the general population’s perspective on either group. That appears to be something akin to the proverb ‘it is what it is.’ What is entirely disheartening about that is the ‘is’ in this case is war and civilian death. However, it is legitimate to base an understanding of negotiation on the disparity between conflicting groups. Where I find a much greater need for agency and discourse on agency in negotiations would be the international response to intrastate conflict.
The United States shares an insidious and dirty history with Iran that causes deep mistrust. Throughout our history, we have used coercive diplomacy and international ambiguity, which do not help build any confidence between our two nations. Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has intense ideas of sovereignty and would view any strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities as an attack against his regime. Khamenei’s ideological evolution said to be based on a “cosmopolitan past,” is the product of deep religious studies and ardent relationships with secular intellectuals within Iran (Ganji 26). Iran is no stranger to American-led regime change and values its sovereignty with fierce conviction. From Morocco to Pakistan, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, the countries are a tinderbox waiting for an ill-flicked cigarette to set it all ablaze. There is considerable fear that any unilateral move by America would be that spark. Trust, or rather mistrust, was the catalyst that ignited these poor relations but could be the bandage that heals our festering wounds. However, “some portray any progress – More so than reaching a new level of trust – as a critical first step” (Peterson 1). A unilateral military strike undertaken by the United States of America against Iran’s nuclear facilities will have unforeseen international consequences.