A responsibility to reality: A reply to Louise Arbour
Louise Arbour presents a pleasant picture of international society in her article on Responsibility to protect (R2P) as a duty of care - one where states not only have a moral responsibility but also a legal responsibility to intervene in some of the worst situations on the planet. However, this argument is misleading and based on faulty legal assumptions which pose significant problems for Arbour's case. This response will argue that upon examination, Arbour's legal case is not very strong or persuasive. Even more importantly, even if we accepted Arbour's legal arguments, it would not make much of a difference to how states respond to international crises. Arbour seems to misunderstand that the problems facing R2P have always been those of will and not law - and this must be understood as a political rather than legal problem.