2013 Plenary 3: If Democracies Won’t, Alternatives Will: Reviving Global Responsibility

Considering recent international involvement and intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and others, panelists diverged on whether or not international action is best facilitated under the leadership of one country or under the rubric of an international organization like NATO or the UN to address ongoing and future regional conflicts such as the one in Syria. In addition, they discussed what kind of action is most effective: direct military intervention or training to build local military and police capacities that create local structures to deter conflict. There was discussion on the development of international law, the responsibilities of abiding by the rule of law and the consequences of failure to adhere to agreed-upon standards. With the recent news about Ukraine’s relationships with the European Union and Russia, panelists asserted that the West needs to continue defending its Cold War victory to protect Western values and interests. A conversation on Afghanistan was ignited when a female member of the Afghan Parliament, from the floor, thanked NATO allies for their continued efforts and work in her country. The session concluded with an exchange on the responsibility to help alleviate civilian suffering in Syria and refugee camps in the region.