by Rick Moran on Mar 28th, 2011
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorizes a no-fly zone over Libya and the protection of civilians by all means necessary, is the culmination of a decade-long effort to radically strengthen the ability of the UN to intervene in sovereign nations through the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine. Behind the initiative are, unsurprisingly, some of the usual suspects: National Security Council adviser Samantha Power and her patron George Soros. Their call to prevent human rights abuses through military intervention masks an agenda to alter drastically the concept of state sovereignty and to allow the United Nations to essentially co-opt the US military.
A 2008 backgrounder produced by The Heritage Foundation on the Responsibility to Protect articulates one of the most dangerous aspects of the doctrine: “R2P would effectively cede U.S. national sovereignty and decision-making power over key components of national security and foreign policy and subject them to the whims of the international community.” What we are seeing unfold in Libya today may very well be a test case for this doctrine: the United Nations has “borrowed” the US military to enforce its idea of Gaddafi’s “responsibilities.” And one question of grave concern is: Might the UN also “borrow” the U.S. and other Western militaries in future to impose its will on member states it feels are not living up to the UN’s nebulous idea of state responsibilities?
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Before we examine the ingredients of this potentially catastrophic scenario, a bit of historical background is necessary. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine, which is deliberately nebulous and ill-defined, is not new. In fact, Hitler’s intervention in the Sudetenland was justified by “humanitarian reasons.” Hitler’s propaganda machine created mass hysteria in Germany by falsely accusing Czechoslovakia of carrying out atrocities against ethnic Germans. Hitler negotiated with Neville Chamberlain on the basis that he was only going to intervene to save lives. Chamberlain may not have bought Hitler’s lies, but Munich occurred nonetheless.
The doctrine was applied sporadically for the next 50 years because military intervention of any kind during the Cold War risked nuclear confrontation. Although the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was justified by Moscow as a “humanitarian” endeavor, there were few other cases.
Once the Soviet Union disappeared, a host of situations occurred in the 1990s that drove debate in the United Nations toward accepting the use of humanitarian intervention to stop governments from killing their own people. The ad hocnature of these interventions gave an opening to individuals who wished to codify UN intervention into international law. Most of these same people also recognized humanitarian intervention as a means of vastly strengthening the UN, while weakening the sovereignty of nations.
The history of Responsibility to Protect bears this out. The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) was formed out of the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000 with a mandate “to promote a comprehensive debate on the relationship between intervention and sovereignty, with a view to fostering global political consensus on how to move from polemics towards action within the international system.”
The ICISS issued a report in December of 2001 titled “The Responsibility to Protect” that encapsulated “the Commissioners’ views on intervention and state sovereignty and their recommendations for practical action.” The document was sent to the UN for debate and approval.
At the UN, a firestorm broke out over the R2P concept (now the official name of “humanitarian intervention”), largely divided between the industrialized West and the impoverished South. The former colonies only saw a legal way for Western powers to invade them, while the West — including the United States — viewed R2P as a potent weapon to prevent another Rwanda.
The ICISS was chaired by Gareth Evans, former foreign minister for Australia, whose thoughts about the report and sovereignty in particular bear looking at in detail. Mr. Evans sought to turn the debate on sovereignty “on its head” by “characteriz[ing] it not as an argument about the ‘right’ of states to anything, but rather about their ‘responsibility’ — one to protect people at grave risk.”
That “responsibility” is to be defined by the United Nations. Mr. Evans envisions a world where sovereign nations are hardly “sovereign” as we understand the term. Indeed, Evans is seeking nothing less than a brand new definition of sovereignty — what he calls “a new way of talking about sovereignty itself.” The starting point, he says, is that sovereignty “should now be seen not as ‘control,’ as in the centuries-old Westphalian tradition, but, again, as ‘responsibility.’”
No “rights.” No “control.” At least Mr. Evans is willing to let nations keep their borders — for now — although that may also be under threat from R2P. One can imagine the United Nations taking the US to task for trying to keep millions of illegals from crossing our border: We have no “right” to keep hungry, desperate people from seeking a better life. Might our border policies also violate the R2P doctrine? Indeed, such an argument is already being made.
In 2004, the Secretary General Kofi Annan set up a blue ribbon committee to examine the ICISS findings and issue a report to the United Nations. The Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change swallowed the “new” definition of sovereignty while recommending R2P be adopted as a matter of policy and law. Their report, “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility,” recommended that it be the responsibility “of every State when it comes to people suffering from avoidable catastrophe, mass murder and rape, ethnic cleansing by forcible expulsion and terror, and deliberate starvation and exposure to disease.”
In other words, “responsibility” has morphed from the 1990s concept–which entailed that it is up to the world community or voluntary coalitions to intervene where necessary to protect innocents–to a set of rules that sovereign nations themselves must satisfy the United Nations or the hammer will fall.
In direct violation of its own charter, the UN has set itself up as the arbiter of where sovereignty begins and ends, tossing aside Article 51′s “inherent right to self-defense” clause. The Office of the Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide at the UN makes this clear. The individual state’s idea of sovereignty takes a back seat to the UN’s judgment: “Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where States are accountable for the welfare of their people.”
There is no explanation for the surprising decision of the Arab League to allow for R2P to be invoked for Libyan intervention. Especially that the Arab League, the African Union, and numerous other regional developing world organizations originally opposed the concept of R2P.
With NSC adviser Samantha Power‘s influenced Obama, to adopt R2P as part of his foreign policy. Power is an avid R2P advocate; her 2002 book on the issue, A Problem from Hell, so affected Obama that he invited Power to join his Senate staff as a foreign policy fellow. She also briefly served on his campaign foreign-policy brain trust.
Other advocates of the R2P doctrine include numerous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which promote it for ideological reasons and also because of UN grants and funding. The International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect brings together many of these NGOs under one umbrella, where they can be more effective in both lobbying the UN and shaking the international money tree. The list of members is a Who’s Who of internationalists, one worlders, and leftist Utopians, including Oxfam, Citizens for Global Solutions, the International Crisis Group, the World Federalist Movement, Human Rights Watch, and The Stanley Foundation.
What all those groups have in common is a desire to destroy or vastly curtail the sovereignty of nations. And rising above all of them as chief financier and inspiration are George Soros and his Open Society Institute.
There is little doubt that Soros recognized early the kind of power that a vast, worldwide movement could exert and bring him closer to his dream of radically changing the scope of national sovereignty, thus allowing for a new economic and financial system to take hold. He calls himself a “stateless statesman,” which is a good description of how he wants the rest of us to live.
In addition to being the primary funder of The Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, the Open Society Institute also heavily supports other NGOs that belong to the R2P coalition, including the International Crisis Group (ICG)and Human Rights Watch.
You don’t have to connect too many dots to discover Soros’ influence on the Obama administration. Samantha Power served on the executive committee of the ICG along with Soros until she left for the UN in 2009. And several members of the Obama foreign policy team were employed by the Center for American Progress – another Soros funded think tank.
The future of R2P is now. The situation in the small African country of Côte d’Ivoire is spiraling out of control and headed for civil war with the potential for atrocities and mass civilian casualties. Several nations, including the African Union and NGOs involved in the R2P movement, are already calling for military intervention, while the UN has expressed its “alarm” at the deteriorating situation.
Meanwhile, Bashar Assad is killing demonstrators in the streets of Syria, and the world does nothing. Clearly, R2P needs a little fine tuning. The ICISS and UN panel on R2P both advanced the notion of “thresholds” that would have to be crossed before action was contemplated, but the UN has yet to adopt any hard and fast rules about intervention.
Until they do, the Security Council will be fumbling in the dark, confused and hesitant to proceed. But the real danger will come if they ever do get their act together and begin to intervene in the world’s trouble spots in earnest. Given R2P’s broad mandate, which includes “starvation and disease” as responsibilities of member states, the list of countries that would be ripe for intervention is growing considerably. For the proponents of R2P, this is not accidental.
Soros fingerprints on Libya bombing
By Aaron Klein, March 23, 2011
© 2011 WorldNetDaily
Philanthropist billionaire George Soros is a primary funder and key proponent of ICG, the global organization that promotes the military doctrine used by the Obama administration to justify the recent airstrikes targeting the regime of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.
The activist who founded and coined the name of the doctrine, “Responsibility to Protect,” sits on several key organizations alongside Soros.
Also, the Soros-funded global group that promotes Responsibility to Protect is closely tied to Samantha Power, the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights.
Power has been a champion of the doctrine and is, herself, deeply tied to the doctrine’s founder.
According to reports, Power, who is married to Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, was instrumental in convincing Obama to act against Libya.
The Responsibility to Protect doctrine has been described by its founders and proponents, including Soros, as promoting global governance while allowing the international community to penetrate a nation state’s borders under certain conditions.
The joint U.S. and international air strikes targeting Libya are widely regarded as a test of Responsibility to Protect – which is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility.
According to the principle, any state’s sovereignty can be overrun, including with the use of military force, if the international community decides it must act to halt what it determines to be genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing.
The term “war crimes” has at times been indiscriminately used by various U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.
An organization calling itself the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect is the world’s leading champion of the doctrine.
Activist Gareth Evans, who sits on the global group’s advisory board, is widely regarded as the founder of the Responsibility to Protect principle.
Not only is Soros an excutive member of the ICG board of trustees but also: Soros’ Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Government sponsors include Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda and the U.K.
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Board members of the group include former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Ireland President Mary Robinson and South African activist Desmond Tutu. Robinson and Tutu have recently made solidarity visits to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as members of a group called The Elders, which includes former President Jimmy Carter.
Annan once famously stated, “State sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined – not least by the forces of globalization and international co-operation. States are … instruments at the service of their peoples and not vice versa.”
During his tenure as Australia’s foreign minister, Evans served as co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which invented the term “responsibility to protect.”
In his capacity as co-chair, Evans also played a pivotal role in initiating the fundamental shift from sovereignty as a right to “sovereignty as responsibility.”
Evans presented Responsibility to Protect at the July 23, 2009, United Nations General Assembly, which was convened to consider the principle.
Soros: Right to ‘penetrate nation-states’ borders’
Soros himself outlined the fundamentals of Responsibility to Protect in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article entitled “The People’s Sovereignty: How a New Twist on an Old Idea Can Protect the World’s Most Vulnerable Populations.”
In the article, Soros said “true sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments.”
“If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified,” Soros wrote. “By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens.
“In particular, the principle of the people’s sovereignty can help solve two modern challenges: the obstacles to delivering aid effectively to sovereign states, and the obstacles to global collective action dealing with states experiencing internal conflict.”
Evans sits on multiple boards with Soros, including the Clinton Global Initiative.
Soros is on the executive board of the International Crisis Group, a “crisis management organization” for which Evans serves as president-emeritus.
WND previously reported how the group has been petitioning for the U.S. to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition in Egypt, where longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak was recently toppled.
Aside from Evans and Soros, the group includes on its board Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, as well as other personalities who champion dialogue with Hamas, a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
WND also reported the crisis group has also petitioned for the Algerian government to cease “excessive” military activities against al-Qaida-linked groups and to allow organizations seeking to create an Islamic state to participate in the Algerian government.
Soros’ own Open Society Institute has funded opposition groups across the Middle East and North Africa, including organizations involved in the current chaos.
Power pushes doctrine
Doctrine founder Evans, meanwhile, is closely tied to Obama aide Samantha Power, who reportedly heavily influenced Obama in consultations leading to the U.S. president’s decision to bomb Libya.
Evans and Power have been joint keynote speakers at events in which they have championed the Responsibility to Protect principle together, such as the 2008 Global Philanthropy Forum, also attended by Tutu.
In November, at the International Symposium on Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities, Power, attending as a representative of the White House, argued for the use of Responsibility to Protect alongside Evans.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott