Responsibility to Protect or Trojan Horse? The Crisis in Darfur and Humanitarian Intervention after Iraq
Bellamy explores international engagement with and intervention debates on Darfur in order to understand if the 2003 war in Iraq has caused any changes to the norm of humanitarian intervention. He basically argues that Darfur crisis can show us two subtle changes to the norm of humanitarian intervention. First, he argues that with the Darfur crisis the standing of the United States and the U.K as norm carriers was undermined. Second, Darfur debates were mostly inspired by the language of responsibility to protect. He argues that humanitarian intervention for a brief period during the 1990s was possible due to the absence of plausible arguments against them.
The author divides the article into two main sections. In the first section, he discusses humanitarian intervention; how it evolved, what major powers’ attitudes were and how main actors behaved during the major crisis. The second section focuses more on the situation in Darfur and how humanitarian intervention as well as responsibility to protect debates developed during 2003 and 2004.
As the title of the article implies, he pays special attention to the impact of 2003 war in Iraq. He talks about three broad positions taken regarding the humanitarian intervention after the Iraq war. First view believes that states will resort to humanitarian intervention only when their national interests are at stake. Second view believes that the “sun has set” on the humanitarian intervention. People in this group believe that “the United States and the UN’s political will to act in humanitarian emergencies has “evaporated” because of their obsession with Afganistan, Iraq and the war on terror”. Bellamy notes that in the Darfur issue the Sudanese government used this hidden agenda argument against the United States. A third position believes that ICISS criteria (2 “just cause thresholds” and 4 “precautionary principles” the author talks more on these in the article) will constitute as constraint that will limit states’ ability to abuse humanitarian intervention.
In conclusion, Bellamy argues that the Darfur case shows that neither the “sun has set” on humanitarian intervention, meaning that its era is over and they are very unlikely in the future, nor the West will be more likely to be more interventionist. He believes that “responsibility to protect” language actually reduces the likelihood of humanitarian justifications being abused by states.