Does the responsibility to protect doctrine allow for the toppling of regimes? A recent Clinton Global Initiative panel discussion refocused the debate about the conditions under which one nation is justified in intervening in the internal affairs of another nation.
Michael Gerson, a George W. Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist, made a strong case for intervening only when our national interests are involved. I agreed but argued for an exception, what might be called a moral minimum. I suggested that indeed if our interests are not significantly affected, we should stay out, both because otherwise we undermine the most elementary foundation of the international order—the Westphalian norm—and because once we march in, we tend to leave behind a sociological mess when we finally find an exit.
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