20. International Law and the “Responsibility to Protect


Learning outcome

Following this exercise, students should become aware of the way in which the R2P Doctrine is interpreted and implemented in practice, as well as some of the consequences of this on International Law.


Please watch the video below and answer the following questions.


In an interview with Paul Jay on The Real News, Indian Historian and renowned Marxist, Prof. Vijay Prashad speaks of the undermining of International Law through military interventions on humanitarian grounds and more specifically, on the relationship between the R2P Doctrine and International Law. The interview is available online in four parts, the fourth of which is the object of this exercise.


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Question 11 pts

Prof. Prashad speaks of the R2P Doctrine as the idea of foreign state intervention in the case of another state’s failure to protect its own citizens. He states that this is, in principle, a good idea that is justifiable through common sense. However, he adds that it also comes with an inherent problem. What, according to Prof Prashad, is the primary problem concerning the R2P Doctrine?

Question 21 pts

Which of the United Nations Security Council’s Permanent Members, according to Prof. Prashad, “operates with a clean hand” and “enjoys the moral high ground” as far as the application of the R2P doctrine and general foreign intervention is concerned?

Question 31 pts

Asked whether, in his personal opinion, there may be grounds upon which a nation state has the right and/or responsibility to take action in a foreign country, Prof. Prashad gives a clear and concise answer. Which of the following two statements most closely resembles Prof. Prashad’s answer?

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