Questioning Intervention in Syria: A Response to Anne-Marie Slaughter
Before making the jump from academia to the world of policy making and punditry, Anne-Marie Slaughter compiled an impressive body of scholarship on law and international society. Her early work linking the common threads of international relations theory and legal research was nothing short of groundbreaking, and contributed meaningful insights to both fields of study. Later, Slaughter’s A New World Order revolutionized intellectual understandings of global governance by introducing network analysis and her anatomy of “disaggregated states” to mainstream academic circles.
When Slaughter has recently offered her ideas in public, however, they have been less impressive. This has been especially pointed with regard to the unfolding horrors in Syria. In an extended meditation for the Atlantic, Slaughter forcefully advocates for the application of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine, arguing that the minimum requirements for triggering intervention have been met. On top of that, she claims, failure to act would expose R2P “as a convenient fiction for power politics or oil politics, feeding precisely the cynicism and conspiracy theories in the Middle East and elsewhere that the U.S. spends its public diplomacy budget and countless diplomatic hours trying to debunk.”