Who will protect the world from the US/NATO and the R2P?



KPFA News, 04.07.2012 

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo appeared at the Friends of Syria Conference in Turkey to liken Rwanda in 1994 to Syria in 2012, and to support the US/NATO claim to the Responsibility to Protect.


KPFA Weekend News Host Cameron Jones: Friday marked the 18th anniversary of the assassination of two African presidents, Rwanda's JuvenalRwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryaimira were assassinated on April 6, 1994, as they returned from signing a peace agreement meant to end the four year Rwandan Civil War. The presidential plane, a Dassault Falcon 50, crashed into the presidential palace in Kigali, after being hit by a missile fired from the ground. Habyarimana and Burundi's Cyprien Ntaryamira, which caused mass panic and triggered the Rwanda Genocide. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has this report on the combination of genocide commemoration and advocacy for U.S./NATO intervention  in accordance with the so-called "Responsibility to Protect," a United Nations initiative established in 2005.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison: The Responsibility to Protect, or R2P doctrine, focuses on preventing and halting genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, all of which it places under the umbrella term of: Mass Atrocity Crimes. According to R2P doctrine, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions, and, military intervention as a last resort, if a state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities. The last R2P intervention was the US and NATO's in Libya. This week, Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, published an essay in the Huffington Post arguing for R2P intervention in Syria titled "Rwanda, Syria and the Responsibility to Protect."
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo at the Friends of Syria Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, to speak in support of US/NATO Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Syria.
Adams quoted Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs at the recent "Friends of Syria" meeting in Turkey, where she declared that despite the distance between Damascus and Kigali, "Rwanda and Syria share the same experiences." He also quoted Rwandan President Paul Kagame who wrote, before the US/NATO intervention in Libya, that "our responsibility to protect is unquestionable -- that this is the right thing to do; and that this view is backed with the authority of having witnessed and suffered the terrible consequences of international inaction."

David Peterson, co-author, with Professor Ed Herman, of "The Politics of Genocide," had this to say about the international community's infamous failure in Rwanda:

David Peterson: With respect to Rwanda, the notion that R2P could have resolved the situation back in April through July 94 differently than in fact it turned out is really preposterous. In 1994, in fact, there was a United Nations Mission on the ground, and it had some logistic capabilities and it was withdrawn because, basically, the Security Council powers such as the United States and Britain, and also Belgium, which wasn't on the Security Council, wanted things to work out essentially the way they did in Rwanda. Namely, they wanted the insurgency of Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Front to eventually seize state power, and as long as that happened, then everything was OK, and you could have hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered during the process. They were "collateral damage." David Peterson is the co-author, with Professor Ed Herman, of The Politics of Genocide.

KPFA: Peterson also described his best response to those who invoke the responsibility to protect: 

David Peterson: There's actually one question that we always have to ask, and we have to turn it against the Responsibility to Protect brigades, and namely that is this: “Who will protect the world from those who claim the Responsibility to Protect?”  

The United States maintains an excess of 800 military bases around the world. A great many of them are in foreign countries. The United States maintains a great naval fleet, including something on the order of, I think, 12 aircraft carrier groups. It can put them any place in the world that it wants to. It can strike any place in the world that it wants to. It doesn't have to go through a long military build-up process except on rare occasions when it wants to invade a country like it did Iraq. And it maintains it's remote controlled gunships now, basically on a planetary basis. So it is everywhere.   

KPFA/AfrobeatRadio: That was David Peterson, co-author of The Politics of Genocide, on the UN Responsibility to Protect doctrine, and Syria and Rwanda. For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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