Hope for Another Humanitarian Intervention? Rwanda, Kosovo, Libya and the Consequences of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) on Myanmar
After the catastrophic failure of the UN and western nations to prevent and halt genocide in Rwanda in 1990, many pledged “never again.” In less than ten years, the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo provided the international community with a chance at redemption. Without waiting for UN approval, NATO forces led a military intervention to stop Milošević’s campaign of violence against the Kosovo Albanians. The humanitarian intervention in Kosovo left many questions for the international community: Who should intervene to stop genocide or ethnic cleansing in a given state? When should the international community intervene? In the early 2000s, there was a shared sense that there was an urgent need to set an international framework for humanitarian intervention. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine aimed to provide that framework. Approaching the topic from the perspective of constructivist theory, this thesis describes how R2P emerged as a potential international norm, cascaded through the international community, and then became diffused enough to be utilized by the UN to address mass atrocities. The 2011 intervention in Libya became the test case for the R2P. However, the moment of the R2P’s success was also its downfall. Despite the diffusion of R2P as a well accept norm and its use in the Security Council in 2011, the failure of intervention in Libya has led to the regression of the norm. I argue that this regression has caused the lack of humanitarian intervention in the ethnic cleansing and violence in Myanmar against the Rohingya population.