The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was created in the hope of overcoming the barrier that state sovereignty, as a principle, had become to actions of humanitarian intervention. It was imagined that as mass atrocity crimes were coming to the attention of the international community, that, on the whole, they were willing, able and eager to intervene in order to stop the violence in question. Holding them back was sovereignty as both a legal and normative barrier. This was always a bad explanation for the pervasive lack of humanitarian intervention; accordingly R2P, as a bad solution, has failed almost entirely. The problem is, and always has been, that when faced with mass atrocity crimes, the international community is plagued by a near-permanent lack of political will to action.
As the months and years creep by, you become increasingly desensitized to the noise. He still screams, and provokes, and seeks a reaction, but you have learned to drown him out. Sure he is unpleasant, and occasionally a threat, but what else is there to do other than ignore him?
This becomes such a normal part of your daily life – and having seen it for so many years – when people hear the threats your neighbour makes, and witness his erratic behaviour, it is now often You that acts as mediator, and downplays the problem. A strange contradiction forms: people looking in from a distance, are more interested, and more concerned, by your neighbour and his antics, than you are.
After enough people had died, and there was finally enough food to go around, North Koreans moved-on and quietly left the potato revolution behind them. And the propaganda followed. The imagery stopped, the film industry moved on to new things. But the lasting impact wouldn’t be insignificant. North Korean propaganda had road-tested a range of new techniques, the lessons learnt from this would lay a solid foundation around future campaigns, and with it the regime as well.
The famine came fast, but it had been quietly building for years. Leeching off their Soviet big brother, and pushing through a series of fast-gain agricultural policies worked… until it suddenly didn’t. As the Soviet Union began to collapse, so did North Korea. By 1994, it was all over, nothing could be done; a famine so deep and wide-reaching that it needed its own moniker – the ‘Arduous March’ – had settled over the country.
Like other types of humanitarian intervention before it, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has suffered in practice from a pervasive lack of political will. This represents a failure of moral motivation, but also a failure to accept the often steep political, material and human costs associated with intervening to try and halt mass atrocity crimes. In order to ease this second barrier to intervention, we need a reform agenda that will limit the prevalence, intensity and duration of mass atrocities as well as the crisis situations that make them possible, thereby reducing the various costs associated with any specific intervention. This can be achieved through certain aspects of the work of cosmopolitan philosopher Thomas Pogge.
Hardest of all to swallow, he tells a different story about your years of separation. He thinks you could have ended his imprisonment if only you had reached out to him, and tried a little harder. Looking around at the life you have built in his absence – and the friends you have made – he accuses you of abandonment, and a lack of commitment to him.
Soon, with very little in common, you are both passing your days in silence, pretending the other is not there; wishing that you had never been reunited. But there is no going back now. So when people ask how things are in your marriage – not wanting to admit to your regrets – you smile and tell them things are great!
With ‘North Korean House of Cards: Leadership Dynamics under Kim Jong-un’, Ken Gause blends old, established details, with large leaps of inference. And in doing so he falls into many of the same problems that other authors on the topic have done. Raw speculation doesn’t carry the same opportunity costs in North Korean studies as it does in other academic fields, for obvious reasons.
Azzam consciously deconstructed his faith, labored over its scripture, and tried to reinspire its history. He built it back up in a way that only led to violence. He was carefully setting bombs that would take time, would lie dormant yet eventually explode across the Muslim world. Modern terrorism belongs to Abdullah Azzam, and his words echo among groups like ISIS: “We shall continue the jihad no matter how long the path, until the last breath and the last beat of the pulse — or until we see the Islamic state established.”
As counterintuitive as it might sound, “sustainability” and the commitment to “problem avoidance” rather than “problem solving” are, at least according to David Deutsch, very dangerous ideas. And in this regard, our near-universally pursued policy direction in response to the problem of global warming—that of trying to limit carbon emissions by means of limiting economic activity—is also very dangerous because it represents, at its core, a commitment to both those ideas. e best explanation for why we are making this mistake is the “debtor-creditor” and “pleasure-driven” conception of punishment, as it is explained by Friedrich Nietzsche
Indian Maoism – or Naxalism as it has come to be called – is the largest terrorist movement in India today. Built upon layers of political, social and economic grievance, it is an insurgency that has gripped the country since independence. However, although Maoism may have had its origins fighting against injustice, it has since evolved into a predatory movement, with a malleable attachment to ideology; a movement that pursues violence for its own sake, is happy to self-cannibalise dissenting elements, and often actively works against the interests of the communities it claims to be fighting for.
In the centre of Pyongyang, as a monument to the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung, stands the Juche Tower – a 150 metre high red flame, reaching into the sky. But, as it now hangs gangrenously from its Songun host, Juche, as an ideology, is dead! And just as with the communist insignia before it, the tower will likely be removed at some future date, in the dead of night, never to be spoken of again. Now all the talk is of ‘military first’ – of leering enemies, looming conflicts, missile launches, nuclear tests, and threats of war. And it has to be. It is the last thing that justifies the lingering scarcity, the daily suffering, and the memory of the famine – it is the only thing keeping the regime alive.
It all boils down, apparently, to a misunderstanding of what ‘meaning’ actually is. There just isn’t a ‘nausea’ at the heart of life –as Sartre described it –driving people ever closer to the roof’s edge. ‘Meaning’ –as it so happens – has a rather unsexy, sober backstory: apparently it’s just a process of finding challenges, creating knowledge and solving problems. Which is exactly why they want to bring us with them, to avoid a situation where all the problems in our lives are outsourced to more competent beings. The only danger for us,they say, is to remain as we are. Though as they wrapped things up, I did sense a certain smug undercurrent bubbling to the surface: ‘If life is meaningless’they said, ‘then suicide must be also’.
Consumed by the idea of protecting the house, the dog begins searching evermore desperately for potential enemies. It begins to turn its attention inward. Every sniff of unease, doubt, or argument inside the house, is ended by the dog’s bite; terrorising either party out onto the street with the same practiced savagery that it was once taught – never to be allowed back in.
It creeps up on you slowly, but eventually, you are, once again, alone inside the house. Just you, your principles, and the dog. It catches your glance and jumps to its feet. Stepping forward closer to your face, ears erect, it tilts its head to the side trying to get a read on you. It pauses… then it begins to growl.
Then you discover he has been phoning around town, airing the details of your relationship, and trying to isolate you from your own friends and family. He convinces other people to chastise you on his behalf, and to try persuading you that you are a fool for leaving him. And then you find out he is contesting the divorce. Instead of letting his calculation that you will be worse off without him play out, he actively begins trying to, in his own words, 'make you suffer'.
It is a sad fact about philosophy that physicists tend to do it better... David Deutsch does it better! A pioneer in the fields of quantum computation and the many universes interpretation of quantum mechanics, Deutsch also thinks that we have it all wrong on climate change.Not the science! He agrees with the consensus regarding our CO2 admissions and the warming of our planet. But when it comes to the philosophical implications of that scientific understanding, we are entirely confused.
The path forward – even more so than before – needed energy rather than thought. The mere whisper of the need to apply some nuance, and someone would be fired. It just showed me that they didn’t get it. The new business model for brand Trump was act on impulse, always! And I had a great time! Predictions about my downfall came and went, my children returned to me and to the brand, and I remarried once again. Only this time I wasn’t so complacent. This time I wasn’t going to let my celebrity drain away quite so easily. I knew, soon enough, I would need something new. I didn’t have to search too hard though, in fact, I didn’t have to search at all. It was election season, and a season like no other, just as was the one before, and the one before that. Politics was becoming entertainment, what was old was new again, and I definitely wasn’t going to ignore such a captive audience. So brand Trump went political, and didn’t we fit well! Sure, I was a little too late to the party at first, so I just bided my time. I kept the noise up, but essentially went on vacation, for four whole years. But I had reached new heights and definitely new audiences... so I was always coming back.
Which brings us back to the coffee shop, with the young woman now edging her way sheepishly towards the door under a torrent of abuse. Her social infraction, it seems, was of imagining a less-than-perfect future – a world where small, innocuous mistakes might have huge, unintended, and undeserved, consequences. She recognised that just like anyone else, luck could have fallen against her at any moment in her life – that she could be in a prison cell rather than a coffee shop at that moment... She remains one of the few friendships from that period in my life that I maintain today.
Something non-religious, non-spiritual, and something standing on its own weight will have to be extracted from the Gita – in the same way as many Christians today have extracted the historical Jesus and the Sermon on the Mound from the Bible as a whole – if the text is going to survive modern audiences and moral progression. I believe that this can, and perhaps has to be, Just War Theory and the moral importance of sympathising with enemies.
The memory is not my own. So I can only assume it was the movement that made all the difference. I was young, three at the time, and still in those dark, unconscious years of early life. So when I try to picture it, my mind reflexively changes the context. I am in my childhood home, with white walls, and the spider draws my attention because it seems out of place. The contrast jumps out like a flower against an earthy background.
Indeed, almost all that Nietzsche did throughout his life, and through his philosophy, can be seen as the lighting of a signal fire – a hopeful call in the dark for kindred souls. He believed that he had found such people in the pages of history – asserting that Voltaire “was above all a grandee of the intellect: precisely what I am also” – but Nietzsche’s eyes were firmly on the future. And his Basel Lectures were a call to arms for this “renewal of the German spirit”.