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Luke Glanville, ‘Special Problems III: The Question of Using Military Force in the Frame of the Responsibility to Protect’, in James Turner Johnson and Eric D. Patterson, eds, The Ashgate Research Companion to Military Ethics, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015, pp. 89-99.
This chapter examines the ethics and politics of using military force to protect populations from mass atrocities. I trace the emergence of the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), observing its deep historical roots as well as its rapid development in recent years. I then explore ongoing ethical and political debates concerning R2P and the use of force. I observe that, while virtually all states agree that the suffering of vulnerable populations should be a matter of international concern, some states continue to be reluctant to endorse a right of military intervention for their protection. They do so for both principled and pragmatic reasons. Meanwhile some other states, while accepting that there is such a right, resist suggestions there may be a duty to act to protect the vulnerable when such action does not coincide with their vital interests.