Featured Article: National Security and the Responsibility to Protect
National Security and the Responsibility to Protect
by John Gartside, Elliott B. Burns and Tim Downing
In response to the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and the persistent threat of regional diseases turning into pandemics, some have called on the international community to take a more proactive approach to countering uncontrolled disease in countries that are unable to contain such events. While cooperative measures will undoubtedly continue and likely increase in such areas, what options are open to the international community should such an outbreak occur within a state that refuses help despite being unable to contain an outbreak? Some have called for the use of the UN “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine as a tool for addressing such an issue. This article is an argument against the application of R2P in such a situation because of the legal, ethical, and implementation challenges it creates, and it identifies more suitable justifications for international and interagency humanitarian crisis interventions.
On December 2, 2013, a two-year-old boy named Emile Ouamouno fell ill with a strange disease he likely contracted from contact with a fruit bat. He was treated in his village of Meliandou in southern Guinea, near the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The treatments were to no avail.
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Major John J. Gartside is an active duty Army officer and family medicine physician. He received a master’s degree in Military Art and Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a doctorate in osteopathic medicine from Midwestern University. Gartside has served during multiple deployments to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2013.
Major Elliott B. Burns is an active duty Army infantry officer who has spent more than three years deployed to operations in the Middle East. He is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Major Timothy Downing holds a bachelor’s from the U.S. Military Academy and a master’s from Kansas State University. Downing is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Maneuver Captains Career Course, Command and General Staff Officer Course, and currently attending the School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
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