Friday, June 13, 2008

Madelaine Albright resurfaces...

I have always had a regard for Albright, despite her persistent refusal to speak truth about Rwanda; she has always given the strong impression of consideration and regard in her doings.

So it is this time with this op-ed in the SMH.

A recommended read, and one that is a fine summation of the problems in the world of international aid and assistance.

She concludes -
Governments in the developing world are now determined to preserve the principle of sovereignty, even if the human costs are high.

Thus, Burma's leaders have been shielded from the repercussions of their outrageous actions.

Sudan has dictated the terms of multinational operations inside Darfur.

The Government of Zimbabwe may yet steal a presidential election.

Political leaders in Pakistan have told the Bush Administration to back off, despite the growth of al-Qaeda.

African leaders (understandably, perhaps) have said no to the creation of a regional American military command.

And despite efforts to enshrine the legal doctrine of a "responsibility to protect", the concept of humanitarian intervention has lost momentum.

The global conscience is not asleep, but after the turbulence of recent years, it is profoundly confused. Some governments will oppose any exceptions to sovereignty because they fear criticism of their own policies. Others will defend the sanctity of sovereignty until they again have confidence in the judgment of those proposing exceptions.

At the heart of the debate is the question of what the international system is. Is it just a collection of legal nuts and bolts cobbled together by governments to protect governments? Or is it a living framework of rules intended to make the world a more humane place?

We know how the Government of Burma would answer that question, but what we need to listen to is the voice - and cry - of the Burmese people.

Which is a fair question. As is also the question of Zimbabwe, and Somalia, and even Fiji. What she does not address, nor do I have the answer, is the question of method. The implied message from Albright is that the military response has failed...

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