Rajan Menon is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in Political Science at the City College of New York. He is the author of several books, including “The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention,” which offers a wide-ranging critique of the ideology underlying military intervention. He has held teaching positions at a number of universities, including Columbia and Vanderbilt. He frequently contributes op-eds and essays for the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Washingtonpost.com. He has appeared as a commentator on NPR, ABC, CNN, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and World Focus.
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“His [Rajan Menon’s] critique is realist. Despite lots of talk about international norms and human rights, power and interests still drive world politics, he asserts.”
“Human rights are now paramount. Mass atrocities will not be allowed. Sovereignty will no longer protect states that violate these standards. So say well-meaning advocates of human rights. Don’t believe them.”
“The Responsibility to Protect concept is not flawed because it’s hard to implement; it’s hard to implement because it’s a paragon of moral illogic.”
“The international community’s failures have dispirited many groups in the United States (to say nothing of the Syrian opposition): human rights advocates; adherents of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) doctrine; conservatives, neo and regular; and liberal internationalists.”
“Murderous militias and regimes can be reasonably confident about one or more of the following: that proposals for intervention will perish in the Security Council; that any force that is dispatched will be weak and hamstrung by restrictions—and withdrawn once the human and economic costs of sustaining it mount; and that the probability of being brought to justice is remote given multiple means of evasion.”
Rajan Menon discusses the intricacies of the Syrian war and why U.S. military intervention won’t resolve the conflict.