Ethics & International Affairs

Roundtable: Libya, RtoP, and Humanitarian Intervention

“Leading from Behind”: The Responsibility to Protect, the Obama Doctrine, and Humanitarian Intervention after Libya

Simon Chesterman

Humanitarian intervention has always been more popular in theory than in practice. In the face of unspeakable acts, the desire to do something, anything, is understandable. States have tended to be reluctant to act on such desires, however, leading to the present situation in which there are scores of books and countless articles articulating the contours of a right—or even an obligation—of humanitarian intervention, while the number of cases that might be cited as models of what is being advocated can be counted on one hand.

(Online publication August 12 2011)

Simon Chesterman is Vice Dean and Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore and Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme. Educated in Melbourne, Beijing, Amsterdam, and Oxford, his books include Law and Practice of the United Nations (with Thomas M. Franck and David M. Malone, 2008) and One Nation Under Surveillance: A New Social Contract to Defend Freedom Without Sacrificing Liberty (2011).