Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti
Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti
Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti
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Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

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 Haiti and the Danger of R2P

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Nombre de messages : 2236
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Date d'inscription : 21/08/2006

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MessageSujet: Haiti and the Danger of R2P   Haiti and the Danger of R2P EmptySam 3 Jan 2009 - 13:21

Haiti and the Danger of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Written by Anthony Fenton

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

As an emerging lobby advocates for the institutionalization of a controversial doctrine of "humanitarian imperialism,"1 and a new administration that is friendly to this doctrine gets set to occupy the White House, a reminder of the case of Haiti points to the potential dangers posed by an "operationalized" Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm.


In 2004, Haiti's democratically-elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was overthrown by a small but well organized and funded opposition movement backed by the most powerful members of the "international community" - the U.S., Canada, and France.2

Doing what his father and Bill Clinton were unable to before him, President George W. Bush led the way in answering the question that had vexed consecutive administrations since Haiti's popular movement swept the Duvalier's totalitarian dynasty from power in 1986: "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"3

In December of 2005, Fabiola Cordova, the program officer who was overseeing the National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) burgeoning program in Haiti described how, even after more than a decade of efforts to undermine, demonize, and isolate Aristide leading up to the 2004 coup, the U.S. based their political operations on the following calculation:

"Aristide really had 70% of the popular support and then the 120 other parties had the thirty per cent split in one hundred and twenty different ways, which is basically impossible to compete [with]..."

The goal, then, was to us "even the [political] playing field' inside of Haiti under the auspices of 'promoting democracy." This translated to the establishment of policies operating in parallel fashion on several tracks. The political opposition, factions of which were linked to the 'rebel' paramilitary movement that would emerge, was bolstered in attempt to consolidate it as a united movement against Aristide. Meanwhile, Aristide's government was simultaneously isolated diplomatically, a de facto economic embargo was placed on his government, and aid money was circumvented around the government and given to NGO's, many of which helped form the opposition.

Combined with a variety of other factors, the strategy had the effect of creating an enabling environment for Aristide's extra-constitutional removal from power.

With UN Security Council authorization, the U.S., Canada, France, and Chile were the first countries to send their militaries in to "stabilize" the country. They quickly joined forces with the anti-Aristide political opposition and "rebel" insurgency. On the one hand, they set up a puppet regime that was swept clear of Aristide's Lavalas party, which was occupied by Western 'technical assistants' and Western-friendly 'technocrats.' On the other hand, the UN occupying forces joined the anti-Aristide insurgency and waged a counterinsurgency (COIN) war against Lavalas, whose members were included among those identified as anti-occupation 'insurgents.'4

By the end of the summer of 2004, the UN's Multilateral-Interim Force (MIF) had morphed into the Brazilian-led MINUSTAH. A lower intensity COIN war continued through 2006; according to various reports, thousands of Haitians – civilians, militants, non-violent activists – lost their lives to conflict during this period.5

The UN's military and policing occupation continues today, with continuing Brazilian leadership alongside the forces of ten other Latin American countries, plus Jordan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.6 Despite having largely receded from their muscular military role, the U.S., Canada, and France remain, individually, the three most powerful external political actors in Haiti.

Needless to say, the kind of 'stability' sought by the foreign interveners has not yet arrived; nearly five years of UN-sanctioned occupation has not improved life for most Haitians; incredibly, a popular movement still exists calling for the return of exiled former President Aristide.7 Few would contest the claim that, were he to return to Haiti and run in a future election, Aristide would win in a landslide.

Protecting Haitians, 'Sharing' their Sovereignty

Some comments published recently by the former commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army, Juan Emilio Cheyre, speak to the need to return our attention to the roots of the Haiti intervention. Having just returned from Haiti, Cheyre, now the director of an elite Chilean think tank, wrote a column calling for a reduction of the Haiti's sovereignty, which he thinks should be placed in "de facto trust" with the international community. Together, the foreigners and Haiti would exercise a sort of "shared sovereignty." Although a "drastic option," Haiti is, according to the retired general, after all, a "failed state." The evolution of "the conventional concept of sovereignty," Cheyre reasons, renders foreign tutelage over Haiti a necessary evil.8

Cheyre is only the latest in a long line of foreigners to publicly pontificate on the neo-colonization of Haiti.

Speaking to a Canadian parliamentary committee only a few weeks after Aristide's removal, the head of a Canadian think tank and 'democracy' promotion NGO, John Graham of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), wanted to avoid having "the stones of anti-colonialism hurled," at the foreign trustees, but at the same time felt that some measure of foreign control over the Haitian state was necessary:

"We don't want to call it a trusteeship, but we didn't call Bosnia a trusteeship. We didn't call East Timor a trusteeship. But some control has to be vested in the international community to give Haiti a beginning."9

As it turned out, the "international community" opted to officially abandon the rhetoric of trusteeship, following both the advice of Graham, as well as one of the concept's 21st century progenitors, Stephen Krasner. Writing in the NED's Journal of Democracy in 2005, Krasner reasoned that "for policy purposes," "shared sovereignty" should be termed "partnerships," in order to simultaneously undermine and pay lip service to state sovereignty.10 The distinction is important. By claiming that they are merely a collective of "donors" who are "accompanying" their "partner," Haiti, the foreign interveners try and render themselves unaccountable for their actions. If things go wrong, the blame can be placed on Haitians themselves.

Another, related concept that has been abandoned rhetorically but applied in actuality in Haiti is that of the 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P) doctrine. Alongside the multi-track process of destabilizing Haiti in the period 2000-2004, a radical reconfiguration of how state sovereignty is to be viewed began to be formalized. In the middle of this process, Haiti was characterized by some as an 'ideal R2P situation.' Since the coup, however, and since the R2P is becoming embedded in international institutions and law, Haiti has dropped off the R2P radar. Dozens of papers, panels, symposiums, and conferences seem to have studiously avoided Haiti when discussing R2P.

Although its roots go back at last as far as the conceptualization of the idea of "sovereignty as responsibility," first formulated by the elite Brookings Institution think tank's Francis Deng with generous funding from the Carnegie foundation in the early 1990s11, R2P made its most serious advancement with the 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS).12

The ICISS was spearheaded and coordinated by the Canadian government beginning in 2000, and, importantly received crucial seed money from several key U.S.-based liberal philanthropic foundations. As two U.S.-based R2P advocates, Adelle Simmons and April Donnellan wrote recently, the R2P simply "would not have come about without the support of philanthropy."13

Historically, many foundations have undertaken extensive programming abroad, at arms length but also inextricable from the interests of U.S. imperialism. In the case of R2P, philanthropy is said to possess a "comparative advantage" to the extent that they can contribute "to the larger goal of establishing norms by supporting civil society groups whose work complement[s] and reinforce[s] governments or official organizations."14

Indicative of the elitist nature of R2P's development, an American R2P advocate described how an early R2P conference he helped organize was, in effect "an insiders game to discuss and decide what some of the elements of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine should be so that the political extremists wouldn't get a hold of it before considered people were able to define it."15

R2P typifies in doctrinal form the 'evolution of the conventional concept of sovereignty' by "considered people." In short, R2P has been defined as a situation wherein "the power of the sovereign state can be legitimately revoked if the international community decides that the state is not protecting its citizens."16 Importantly, the state's power is not only taken in extreme instances, via military intervention. Sovereignty can also be undermined by policies imposed under the "preventive" and "rebuilding" phases of the R2P spectrum, often in the form of economic sanctions, "coercive diplomacy," "democracy promotion," "good governance," and structural adjustment programs.

For myriad reasons, many of which are illustrated by the case of Haiti, R2P remains relevant for die hard supporters of sovereignty, not the least of which due to the fact that the Haiti intervention is seen by some as a model for future interventions in the hemisphere.

Providing a case in point in the fall of 2005, a Canadian diplomat told a group of journalists gathered in Canada's austere Port au Prince embassy that Haiti is "an example for the crisis to come in this hemisphere. We could think, for example, what will happen when Cuba will be in transition..."17

Not only for Cuba, who, for good reason, have remained one of the few outspoken critics of R2P, but for the entire world, the case of Haiti shows that the attempted institutionalization of this doctrine carries with it serious, potential dangers.

Following the controversial inclusion of the (albeit watered-down) R2P language in the UN's 2005 World Summit Outcome document18, a veritable, well-funded "R2P Lobby" has stealthily emerged to advance and consolidate the doctrine as a 'global norm.' Some lessons from R2P's application in Haiti offer some sobering reasons to monitor, and, if necessary, counter R2P's consolidation.

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Super Star
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Nombre de messages : 17137
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Date d'inscription : 24/08/2006

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MessageSujet: Re: Haiti and the Danger of R2P   Haiti and the Danger of R2P EmptySam 3 Jan 2009 - 17:39

[b]Epi gen nèg ki vle kritike Kiben yo,kòm si pèp Kiben an ta vle pran lan yon gonm konsa.
Pase sa pito yo ta gen Fidel a vi,Raul a vi ,epitou Fidelito a vi (lol)
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