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Reading: A Just and Lasting Peace- Obama- notes.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Lilach Gilady

A JUST AND LASTING PEACE- OBAMA: - KOREA, NAZI GERMANY, BOSNIA NORMs: - sovereignty - how does the concept of sovereignty change? - a belief that progress is possible - a belief in just war - agreements among national, strong institutions, support for human rights. - there is an ambivalence of the public in war and intervention as a tool of peace – people are uneasy when military forces invade, even if their mandates are peaceful - “ our actions matter and can bend history in the direction of justice - questions of morality and war - nowadays a lot of moral consideration is given to even the most violent of human activities- war - the costs of armed conflict have grown to be a lot greater in our eyes - modern warfare has expanded to affect more people- WWII, more civilians died than soldiers increasing the need for the practice of war to be more streamlined, regulated - war is not as socially acceptable as it was before - war has trumped diplomacy as the main form of interaction/ communication between states - codes of law seek to control violence within groups - wars between armies  wars between nations  “ distinction between combatant and civilian becomes blurred” - codes of morality applied to war to “ regulate the destructive power of war” - the innocent are increasingly carrying larger burdens in war - perceptions of war change through time - UN efficiacy is exemplified in the fact that we have not seen the outset of a third world war ( require a comparison of destruction of world wars to other wars that have transpired after it) - Following WWII we have witnessed higher standards of living, the liberation of peoples, human rights, liberty and self determination have advanced - Despite the existence of international institutions that are meant to maintain and facilitate peace, we must work as a collective to maintain these institutions and ensure that their peace making capacities remain, that their rules are enforced and respected---- he acknowledges the decline of their authority in the international fear - “ the old architecture is buckling under the weight of new threats” - nuclear arms proliferation, terrorism—an insignificant few can make a big impact increases the extent of potential catastrophe ( the stakes are higher now than ever before” echoes of the words of Martin Luther King when he maintains that violence never brings peace, nor solves social problems - violence and its role in the creation of additional problems - however, he does not ignore the necessity of war and violence under certain, specified conditions - “ I cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people” - evil exists in the world, and sometimes force is necessary to overcome it --- citing Hitler and his armies ( under a regime so brute and ruthless, diplomacy and negotiation was not the answer” - “a non violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their armies - Diplomacy and negoation are futile with hostile, rogue powers who choose to so flagrantly violate international law and disregard the rules of the game- the rules of morality that should govern modern warfare - “ to say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason - this is especially true, as the US has not shied away from the use of force to protect its interest, which they sometimes perceive to align with those of the global community: ensuring democracy, free markets, fighting against oppressive regimes ( despite supporting them) INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: - international institutions have to have teeth, what they say has to be respected, stronger enforcement mechanisms have to be introduced - the bare existence of international institutions, treaties and declarations is not enough - “ the USA has helped underwrite global security for more than 6 decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms” - they sacrifice in the name of democracy and human rights ( citing Balkans) - US involvement is not borne out of their desire to impose their will and strengthen their global influence, but out of a desire to ensure freedom and prosperity for people everywhere for generations to come - Blunt statement “ so yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving peace” - War is sometimes necessary - Gradual evolution in human institutions - Humans will forever be falliable - International standards will strengthen those who follow and weaken those who don’t - All nations big or small, weak or powerful must follow - It’s not about isolation, it’s also about engag
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