The UN authorization of a no-fly zone in Libya gives teeth to the much-heralded “responsibility to protect." But the intervention poses legal and ethical dilemmas that will plague policymakers in the weeks and months ahead.
The United States and its coalition partners’ decision to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya seemed to be a vindication of the fragile “responsibility to protect” norm. But just how strengthened RtoP will be depends on how well the intervention turns out.
Although the Libya mission has been effective in averting a humanitarian debacle so far, it has been ugly in some ways. But as Ivo Daalder and I argued about the Kosovo war a dozen years ago, an ugly operation is not the same as a failed operation.