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CPSA/ISA-Canada section on International Relations

C14(b) - Military Intervention and Post-conflict Resolution

Date: Jun 5 | Time: 03:45pm to 05:15pm | Location: SWING 406

Chair/Président/Présidente : Yvon Grenier (St. Francis Xavier University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Yvon Grenier (St. Francis Xavier University)

R2P at 10 Years Plus: Dead, Alive and Well – Or Somewhere In-Between: Walter Soderlund (University of Windsor), Tom Najem (University of Windsor)
Abstract: The reputation of the international humanitarian protection principle, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), was tarnished by two recent events: 1) the ill-fated UN Security Council authorized intervention in Libya (2011), and 2) the failure to sanction intervention to address the humanitarian crisis in Syria. In the early days of the Libyan intervention supporters of R2P expressed hope that success would strengthen the concept. However, in the years following, expectations for R2P changed, with supporters in retreat questioning its relevance, while critics predicted its demise. Despite being on its supposed deathbed, R2P continued to (largely) provide the basis for three further UN authorized Chapter VII “use of force missions” into intra-state conflicts occurring in sub-Saharan Africa: Côte d’Ivoire (2011), Mali (2012) and the Central African Republic (2013). Importantly, we argue these conflicts were different from the one in Libya, and caught up in what Edward Azar identified as “Protracted Social Conflict”. Moreover, they had the potential for large-scale mass violence. While the use of R2P to deal with the unique set circumstances confronting Libya had failed, when it was applied to a lower-intensity array of conflicts, R2P demonstrated promise in offering protection to at risk populations. The paper examines the sub-Saharan interventions to identify what worked and what was problematic in the way in which they were carried out. Performance on the pillars of R2P - prevention, reaction, rebuilding - is assessed, and improvements for future applications suggested. We conclude that R2P is somewhere in-between and worth further investment and


A Bridge to Somewhere: Strengthening Weak and Latent Ties in Multi-Ethnic, Divided Societies After Protracted Conflict: Joanna Quinn (Western University)
Abstract: After a period of protracted conflict or structural violence in multi-ethnic, divided societies, ethnic groups become siloed and often live in relative isolation from other ethnic groups. Stereotypes and fear drive these communities to look inward, where there is relative safety. The result is that such ideas and opinions are often not challenged. Attempting to “speak truth” to these deeply held beliefs is often completely ignored by the person or group who hears it. Building on Putnam’s (2007) work on bridging social capital, and Haythornthwaite’s (2002) work on weak and latent ties, the paper considers what connections could be built between estranged communities, and how. The paper explores this bridging/tie-building work through two cases: The first, Uganda, has experienced a series of conflicts since 1962 that have used ethnic division as a wedge to secure and entrench political and economic power for a small group. The second, Canada, has kept in place the settler colonial infrastructure that keeps non-Indigenous Canadians from interacting with Indigenous people living in Canada. The paper argues that these divisions serve to reinforce the deeply-held perceptions that exist, and that efforts to build ties between such disparate communities will help to dispel the myths and lead to greater positive interaction between groups.

Examining the Immanent Dilemma of US Drone use for Civilian Safety and International Security: Francis Okpaleke (University of Waikato)
Abstract: Abstract Recent development and increasing sophistication in military technology is altering the nature and dynamics of war by enabling the enactment and use of ‘mundane’ and regular violence of military forces to be further separated from human emotions. Drones with increased levels of precision and autonomy are increasingly replacing soldiers in battlefields. Advocates of this argue that these programmed machines are more capable of operating precisely and flexibly under stressful battle conditions than are human actors in the field, and are less likely to shoot non-combatants or unidentified targets, thereby reducing the danger of human losses and possible violations of war. However, recent events involving the use of these weapons by the United States in Pakistan, Yemen and Syria suggests the contrary, evidenced by the glaring figures of civilian deaths left following coordinated drone strikes. This paper makes the case that pro-drone advocates must confront an empirical record of increasing deaths from drones, and implores critical consideration of its implication for civilian safety in non-designated battlefields. Drawing from recent events, this paper will examine how current drone use by the US is altering the perception of modern warfare and challenging the notion of civilian safety. Key words: Civilian Safety, Drones, International Security, War.