Oxford Essay Crisis

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He was a senior executive in BBC TV, and a member of the government’s Annan Committee on the Future of Broadcasting.In the 1980s he wrote the hugely successful comedies Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister.Muammar al Gaddafi’s public announcement to commit a massacre in the town of Benghazi generated particular pressure on the part of UN members to act.

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UN members wished to protect these investments they saw at stake, should country relapse into civil war.

Finally, former President Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters were too weak to effectively resist outside intervention in in the country.

Why is it that the UN has taken strong action to respond to some crises, like those in Northern Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Sierra Leone or—more recently Libya—but not to other like those in Colombia, Myanmar, Sudan, or—currently—Syria?

The scholarship on humanitarian intervention often argues that each humanitarian crisis (and the responses to them) is historically unique and therefore requires a case-by-case explanation.By the time the UN decided to authorize military action, large parts of the country were controlled by forces loyal to Gbagbo’s opponent Alassane Ouattara.Libya As in the crises in Bosnia and in Côte d’Ivoire, humanitarian intervention in Libya was driven by more than one factor.Explaining limited UN action (or inaction) A limited response of the UN to a humanitarian crisis, such as UN observer missions, humanitarian assistance, or even complete inaction of the UN, is best explained by the ability of a potential target state to resist outside intervention (e.g., through military capabilities). Military capabilities must be either complemented by a low level of previous UN involvement; or by a relatively low level of human suffering and spill over effect to neighbouring countries.A few brief examples may help to illustrate how these four factors interact to lead to strong or limited UN action.Moreover, the substantial and longstanding involvement of the UN in the country generated an additional institutional dynamic pushing towards intervention.The UN had invested heavily in the resolution of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire—most notably through peacekeeping and peacebuilding.Some scholars and observers heavily criticize this practice, arguing that the selectiveness of humanitarian interventions undermines their legitimacy and ultimately their success; that the uneven response to humanitarian emergencies suggests that these intervention are motivated not by humanitarian concerns but by the military and economic interests of powerful states; and that the selective enforcement of human rights norms undermines the emerging rule of law in international politics (for examples see Chomsky 1999) Others disagree and claim that selectivity is not only unavoidable for the UN but also desirable.The selectivity of humanitarian intervention, so the argument goes, reduces the risk of over commitment; it helps to maintain cooperation among the great powers; and it prevents the UN from becoming involved in ill-conceived operations (see Roberts and Zaum 2008) But what explains why UN humanitarian interventions remain selective in the first place?This variation in Security Council action raises the important question of what factors motivate United Nations intervention.The United Nations (UN) selective response to humanitarian crises—as evidenced most recently by the organisation’s uneven reaction to the conflicts in Libya and Syria—is arguably among the most contentious issues in international politics.

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