Humanity in Crisis: Ethical Responsibilities to People Displaced by War

>>From the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C. [ Silence ]>>Jane McAuliffe: Good afternoon. I’m Jane McAuliffe, the Director of
National and International Outreach at the Library of Congress, and
I’m delighted to welcome you to this afternoon’s lecture. This is of course the
point at which I ask you to silence your cellphones,
and also mention to you that this is being filmed and
will be posted on both the library and the Kluge Center websites,
because this event is being hosted by the John W. Kluge Center. The Kluge Center is located
right next door to this room. And it is the part of the Library
of Congress, very generously funded, by the philanthropist John W.
Kluge, where we support, showcase, and celebrate scholarship. We support it by hosting over a
hundred scholars in any given year. Junior scholars or senior scholars
like today’s distinguished lecturer. We showcase scholarships — we showcase scholarship
by events like this. A whole series of lectures
and panels and symposia that the Kluge Center
mounts throughout the year. And we celebrate scholarship
by awarding every few years, the Kluge prize for
the study of humanity, which was awarded most
recently last September to Jurgen Habermas
and Charles Taylor. Today’s lecture is titled “Humanity
in Crisis: Ethical Responsibilities to People Displaced by War.” And our speaker is Dr. David
Hollenbach, who was in residence at the Kluge Center this past fall. When in residence, he held
the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History. That chair was created to
enable a distinguished thinker to spend a period of residence
at the Library of Congress, exploring America’s history
with special attention to the ethical dimensions
of our country’s economic, political, and social policies. The chair was a gift to the Library
of Congress and to the nation, by Mr. Cary Maguire,
and we are delighted to have Mr. Cary Maguire
with us today. On behalf of all of us, I
would like to thank you, Mr. Maguire for your extraordinary
generosity in giving this chair to the Library of Congress
and the nation. Thank you. [ Applause ] Our lecturer, Dr. David
Hollenbach, is the University Chair in Human Rights and International
Justice at Boston College, where he is also the Director
of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice. He was educated at St. Joseph’s
University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics,
and then an MA from St. Louis University,
and finally a PhD. in Religious Ethics
from Yale University. Dr. Hollenbach has published
extensively on Christian ethics, Christian social ethics,
human rights, refugees, contemporary theories of justice, and the role of religion
in public life. He’s the author of
hundreds of articles and the author or editor
of nine books. Some of the best known
titles are, “The Common Good and Christian Ethics,” “The Global
Face of Public Faith: Politics, Human Rights, and Christian Ethics.” That was first published in 2003,
and then issued in Chinese in 2013. ” Refugee Rights: Ethics Advocacy,
and Africa,” published in 2008 and finally, “Driven from
Home: Protecting the Rights of Forced Migrants,”
published in 2010. Dr. Hollenbach’s books
have been awarded prizes. He’s been honored by major
professional societies. He’s received numerous
honorary degrees. And he is currently
the President Elect of the Catholic Theological
Society of America. At the Kluge Center last fall,
David Hollenbach’s research focused on his current book
project, tentatively titled, “Humanity in Crisis: Religious and Ethical Responses
to War and Disaster.” This book is exploring the
role of faith based communities in responding to humanitarian
crises. I think he must have
enjoyed his time in D.C., because starting this
summer, he’ll be back. He’s just been appointed the
Pedro Rupe Distinguished Research Professor, in Georgetown’s
School of Foreign Service, and also a Senior Fellow at the
Berkeley Center for religion, peace and world affairs
at Georgetown. So it will be wonderful
to have him across town. But before then, we will
hear from him this afternoon. Dr. Hollenbach. [ Applause ]>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Thank you very much. I want to express my
sincere gratitude to the John Kluge Center here at the
Library of Congress, and especially to Mr. Cary Maguire, for enabling
me to be here at the library with his support during
the past fall semester. I want to thank Jane McAuliffe, the
former Director of the Kluge Center who invited me to be here at the
Kluge Center during the past fall. I want to thank Robert
Gallucci who was — is the center’s current director,
and also the entire staff of the Kluge Center who made my time
here so congenial and so supportive. The Kluge Center here at the library
is an ideal place for research. The serenity here is, in some
ways, the very antithesis of the conditions faced by
the people who were the focus of my work, while I was here. Their struggles, the struggles of
these people whom I was working on while I was here, may
be indicated by the title of my address this afternoon,
namely, Humanity in Crisis. A recent study defined humanitarian
crises as quote, “Any situation in which there is widespread threat
to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence that is
beyond the coping capacity of the individuals and
communities in which they reside.” I can assure you from some of my
visits to places like South Sudan, Rwanda, that people displaced by
war, especially those displaced in vast numbers, often
face threats that are — go beyond their coping capacity. The very opposite of
the kind of support that I received here in the fall. My concern this afternoon is
with our ethical responsibilities to people who are facing
these humanitarian crises. And I’m using the term humanitarian,
in a way shaped by the principles of the International
Committee of the Red Cross. Some people regard the ICRC as the gold standard
of humanitarian action. But in the principles of
the international committee of the red cross, humanity is used
in a way that has two meanings. It refers first of all to
the whole of human kind. To act with humanity therefore,
calls for inclusive concern for all members of the human
family, on the basis of their need. Not because of their
nationality, race, or religion. Secondly, humanity is a spirit that
is sometimes called humaneness. It is compassion for
those who are suffering. A virtue quite similar
to Christian love. Humanity in this sense, seeks
to alleviate serious distress, especially when that distress
exceeds the coping capacity of those who are affected. The scope of humanitarian crises has
grown dramatically in recent years, and is evident from the growing
number of people displaced by war. United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees tells us that the number of people displaced by
war, intrastate strife, and human rights violations,
reached 59 and a half million globally
last year, 8.3 million more than just a year earlier. This is the largest
increase in the number of displaced persons ever
recorded for a single year. The number of displaced people, it
is estimated, will exceed 61 million by the end of this year, 2016. These people have no
choice about moving. The conditions they face,
often due to conflict, put their most basic
human rights on the line, often including their right to life. For example, the massive
displacement in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, has been caused by ethnic conflict, armed
rebellion, and resulting disease and malnutrition that
has led to more than 5 million deaths
over the past decade. Well, what can we say about our
responsibilities in the face of these crises, and the
suffering they cause? As the number of people
seeking asylum from such grave threats
has risen in recent years, secular political philosophers
such as Joseph Carens, and refugee scholars such as
Philip Marfleet, have been arguing that the time has come to consider
making borders fully open to all who are fleeing from
persecution, conflict, or disaster. In a similar way, similar
spirit, several years ago, the philosopher Martha Nussbaum
argued that a cosmopolitan community of all human beings, should have
primacy over narrower communities, defined in terms of nationality,
ethnicity, or religion. Indeed, Nussbaum called
nationality, in her words, “a morally irrelevant
characteristic of personhood.” Such a cosmopolitan vision can be
given Christian religious backing. For example, during his recent visit
to the island of Lesbos in Greece, on the border with Turkey, Pope
Francis told Syrian refugees there, who were seeking entrance
to Europe, that quote, “God created humankind
to be one family.” The pope then called
Europe to “Build bridges and to recoil from
putting up walls.” And then he turned around and took
12 Syrian refugees, all Muslim, back to the Vatican
with him in his plane. Pope Francis was drawing on
the Book of Genesis’ teaching that all persons are created in the
image of God, making them brothers and sisters in a single human family that reaches across
national borders. The universality of human
dignity in a similar way, led Pope John the 23rd back
in 1963, to insist, I quote, “The fact that one is a citizen of
a particular state, does not detract in any way from one’s membership
in the human family as a whole, nor from one’s membership
in the world community.” So, a strong defense of the
common humanity among all of us that should affect our
response to people in crisis. Nevertheless, this philosophical
and Christian universalism, calls not only for the support
of the unity of the human family, but it also calls, I would
submit, that we are obligated to respect the differences among
people’s cultures and nations. In her recent writings, Martha Nussbaum now draw upon
Rothias [phonetic] and Kant to argue that “People exercise their
freedom and express their dignity when they shape the institutions
of their own nation state.” Protecting the independence
of accountable states is thus, for Nussbaum today, a way
of protecting human dignity. In a similar way, Christian
theologians like St. Augustin and St. Thomas Aquinas,
have affirmed that “There is a Christian duty to love
all human beings as our neighbors, but also a duty in Christian
love, to show distinctive concern for those with whom we have special
relationships,” such as members of our families or
our fellow citizens. Christian ethics thus
acknowledges our special duties toward co-citizens. While also forbidding actions
that effectively treat those from other communities
who are in grave need, as if they were nonhuman
or nonpersons. A key issue for the
ethics of response to people facing humanitarian
crisis, is thus what kind of priorities should we be giving
to this universal concern for all and this special concern for those
with whom we have special relations? A special concern, a set of
priorities, that Augustin and Aquinas call the “ordo
amoris,” the ordering of our loves. The humanitarian crises of today
call us to reflect carefully on the relative weights of the
obligations and rights that arise from our common humanity and
from our distinctive identities. What I want to do today is to
suggest several priorities, focusing first on our negative
duties that are relevant to the crises caused by war today,
and then on several positive duties, to aid those who are facing crises. Key negative duties relative to
the humanitarian crises caused by conflict today can be highlighted by drawing upon the moral tradition
known as the “Just War Ethic.” This tradition distinguishes
between morally legitimate and morally illegitimate
uses of force. So it should probably be called
“The Just and Unjust War Tradition,” rather than suggesting that it
implies that all wars are just. This tradition has roots
in Christian thought, especially in Catholicism, but it
also overlaps with the tradition of the International
Law of Armed Conflict. In its modern form, the Just/Unjust
War Tradition draws a sharp line between force used in the
defense of human rights, and force used to violate
human rights. The U.S. Ad Bellum of Just
Cause, requires that requires that force be strictly
limited to defending the rights of innocent persons to
life, freedom, and security. And the rights of nation
states to self-determination and territorial integrity. Conversely, there is a negative
duty not to use force aggressively against other people’s or to
deny them their political freedom to exploit them economically or because they are
culturally different. Violation of these negative
duties is both immoral, and according to international
law, criminal. Sadly, this is just what happened in perhaps the worst humanitarian
crisis of recent times: the Rwanda genocide of 1994,
where force was massively used to deny the most basic rights
of the Tutsi people in Rwanda. It was also appallingly violated
in the slaughter at Srebrenica where thousands of
Bosnian Muslims were killed because of their identity
as Bosnian Muslims, as part of an ethnic cleansing. Similarly, the Just War
norms also forbid direct and intentional attacks
on civilians, as well as collateral harm to
civilians that is disproportionate to the good being sought. International law sets
forth similar prohibitions in the Geneva Conventions, which insist that civilians must
be distinguished from soldiers and protected, both
from direct attack and from disproportionate
collateral harm. Violations of standards are war
crimes, and can become crimes against humanity, if they are
widespread and systematic. Regrettably, some recent
conflicts in our world today, have become humanitarian crises
precisely because of violations of these moral and
legal prohibitions. For example, tactics used in the
civil war that began in South Sudan in December, 2013, just a short time after South Sudan had become
an independent country, the tactics used then have
regularly violated the rights of civilians to security. Human Rights Watch and a U.N.
panel of experts both concluded that the government of South Sudan
and the opposition forces as well, had quote, “Committed extraordinary
acts of cruelty that amount to war crimes, and in some
cases, crimes against humanity.” Because of this mayhem,
by July 2015, over 1.6 million South Sudanese
had become internally displaced, and over three-quarters of a
million had become refugees. The strategies and tactics used
by both sides in South Sudan, have themselves turned
South Sudan into a situation of grave humanitarian emergency. The Syrian crisis reinforces
the conclusion that armed conflict can
lead to humanitarian crisis when the adversaries
violate their duty not to attack the basic
rights of civilians. The U.N.’s Independent
Commission of Inquiry on Syria, concluded that quote, “War
crimes, crimes against humanity, and human rights violations,
were so severe that the Syrian reality should
shock the conscience of humanity.” These violations have led to the single largest forced
migration in recent history. The flight of refugees has
threatened the stability of neighboring countries,
including Turkey, which today hosts the single largest
number of refugees of any country in the world, Lebanon where one out of every four persons
inside the boundaries of Lebanon is a Syrian
refugee, and Jordan. Syrian displacement has also as
we know, strained the politics of the European Union
in very recent months. The International Criminal
Court was established in 1998, to hold people accountable
for violations of standards of international law, like these. The Rome Statute that created
the court, gave it jurisdiction over genocide, crimes
against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The ICC has so far not been
able to bring to trial some of those it has charged with
such atrocities, due to its lack of effective enforcement mechanisms. For example, Omar al-Bashir of
Jordan, Khartoum, a northern part of what used to be the one Jordan,
faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his
actions in the Darfur Region. But obtaining his arrest
has so far been impossible. Although he better not go back to
South Africa after a recent decision of the South African supreme court,
that he should have been arrested when he was there the last time. Charges against Uhuru Kenyatta
of Kenya had to be dropped because the International Criminal
Court prosecutor was unable to get witnesses to testify, largely because most people think
their lives are on the line, or that some of them had
been massively bribed. Nevertheless, the court has had
success in some other cases, and other international
criminal tribunals have succeeded in bringing other people who
conducted these kinds of atrocities to account for their actions. These moves by some of these
international criminal tribunals, at least encourage me to think
that accountability for these kinds of violations is increasing. Duties not to violate basic
rights in conflict are more likely to be enforced today
than in the past. Although we’re far from
where we should be. And those who violate such norms,
are less likely to get away with it today than
they were in the past, but with still a long way to go. Regrettably, we have learned
from history, and from insight in the human moral weakness
that threats to human rights of this sort are probably
going to continue. This raises the question of what
positive obligations we have to come to the assistance of those who
face crisis level suffering, because of their violation
of human rights. If people fail to follow
their negative duties not to commit these crimes, what
kind of positive duty do we have to actually take some
action to come to their aid? Here, I want to draw on
a mode of moral analysis that was originally developed in
the 1970s, in the context of debates about who had duties to
eliminate the apartheid regime that separated South African
people by race, and did such harm to so many Black South
Africans for so many years. Some maintain that those who had not
created the apartheid system had no duty to try to change it. It was the South African’s
duty to change the regime, not us Americans or Europeans. But a very different
ethical approach was proposed by several scholars
at Yale University, who argued that under certain
circumstances, persons, communities, or institutions can
have positive duties to help remedy harms they
themselves did not cause. They called their approach,
the Kew Gardens Principles, for it arose from reflection
by these group — by these scholars at Yale, on
a tragic case that occurred in the Kew Garden section of New
York City, way back in the mid-60s. According to press reports, a young woman named Kitty Genovese
was viciously assaulted, stabbed, and died a slow death while
38 nearby people watched and did nothing. Some failing to call the police. It has since been learned
that the initial reports of what happened were not entirely
accurate, but the public outrage at what happened to Kitty Genovese
stimulated by the press reports, points to the fact that most
people anyway, have a conviction that it is not enough not to
cause harm, in some situations, one has a duty to come to the
aid of people one has not harmed. A sin of omission can
in some circumstances, be as morally objectionable
as a sin of commission. Drawing on this conviction, the
Kew Gardens Principles developed by the Yale authors argues that an
agent has a positive responsibility to help others when four
conditions are present. First, there is a critical need. Second, the agent has
proximity to the need. Third, the agent has a
capability of responding. And fourth, the agent is
likely the last resort from whom help can be expected. Subsequent reflection has
added a fifth condition, namely that the action can be
taken without disproportionate harm to the one providing help. These five criteria of course,
cannot be applied mechanically, but I think they can help
us think about the scope of our positive responsibilities
in the face of the crisis level suffering
that is occurring in places like Syria and South Sudan today. For example, there can be little
doubt that grave need exists in Syria and South Sudan today. Those inside the borders of
these crisis-torn countries, are vulnerable to harms that
could lead to their deaths or to the violation of
their other basic rights. Secondly, the duty to
respond to such need, falls upon those whose proximity to
the crisis makes them more likely to have knowledge of the need,
and also better understanding of how to respond to the need. This means of course that
the government of the nation where the crisis is occurring
and the local communities within that region, bear
the prime responsibility for addressing the need involved. In South Sudan and Syria for —
therefore, both the governments and the opposition forces in each
country, have both the negative duty to stop the atrocities they are
causing, and the positive duty to help lift the burdens the
suffering has already caused. The duty to take positive
action however, does not end at the national
borders of the countries where the crisis is present. When people become aware of a
crisis in a neighboring country, or even in a country at a great
distance, this awareness leads to what might be called
“Intellectual or Psychological Proximity.” It puts people, even at a
distance in moral proximity to those who are suffering. There has been helpful,
though imperfect, response to the duties
arising from proximity by the countries neighboring
South Sudan. The regional organization of
Sudan’s neighboring countries, namely Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and Eritrea, an organization that is called
the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD,
abbreviated as, IGAD has played a diplomatic role
in seeking to mediate the conflict within South Sudan,
that began in 2013, as it did during the earlier effort to bring the comprehensive
peace agreement to Sudan that ended the conflict between
Northern and Southern Sudan, that ultimately led to the
independence of South Sudan. Regrettably, the economic
and political self-interest of these countries in IGAD has
sometimes distorted their mediation efforts, leading particularly
of Uganda and Ethiopia, which has in turn led
several countries at even greater distances outside
the region to become involved in mediating the diplomatic
efforts to bring an end to the South Sudan crisis, through
an initiative called IGAD Plus, which includes not only
South Sudan’s neighbors, but also the African Union, the
United Nations, China, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Norway,
and the European Union. A sense of moral responsibility
arose in these more distant countries, because of their proximity
through awareness. What I’m calling, moral proximity. These combined regional and global
mediation efforts have been far from perfect to be sure. However, a fragile peace process
is underway and there’s even a sign of hope that it may be
leading to a positive outcome. Even today, new news of Riek
Machar returning back to Juba with the possibility of moving
in back into the government to heal some of the
wounds that are there. At least there’s a hope
that this could happen. And it points to the fact that distant neighbors
can make a difference in addressing these crises. The criterion of capability also
sheds light on the positive duties to respond to humanity in crisis. In considering this issue,
it has become common to point out that someone who cannot swim,
does not have a duty to come to the aid of a child who is
drowning a rapidly flowing river, if aid requires swimming
some distance that the person is incapable of. On the other hand, a good swimmer,
could have a duty to come to the aid of such a child in the river. Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, are already massively
overburdened by the Syrian refugees. In my judgement, they do not
possess the economic resources to provide asylum for additional
refugees in the current situation. On the other hand, the resources
of the wealthy countries of Northern Europe, North America,
and the oil producing Gulf states, gives them the capability to
receive many more asylum seekers than they are, and to share
the burdens being carried by Syria’s already
overburdened neighbors, by providing financial assistance,
to those surrounding neighbors. The assistance being provided to
the countries bordering on Syria, financial, is woefully inadequate. Our capability it seems
to me, gives us a duty, both to receive more Syrian refugees
than we have, and especially to do much more to provide direct
financial assistance and other forms of technological and humanitarian
aid to help Syria’s near neighbors, deal with the massive number of
refugees they are dealing with. The responsibility of the Doctrine
of the Responsibility to Protect, that was affirmed at the
2005 General Assembly of the World’s Summit — General
Assembly of the U.N.’s World Summit, states that the international
community can have — do positive duties to help
protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing,
and crimes against humanity. Such crimes are clearly occurring
in Syria and South Sudan today. In the first instance, such
protective efforts should be through diplomatic, humanitarian
and peaceful meanings. But if such peaceful initiatives
do not succeed however, the use of armed force can become a
legitimate way to carry out the duty to protect people from
violations of their rights that reach the level of atrocity. The responsibility to
protect doctrine of course, has been the focus of much
controversy, heated controversy, since it was first
proclaimed by the U.N. in 2005. Political realists oppose
it because they hold that foreign policy should be
determined by the interests of one’s own people, not by a supposed moral
responsibility to other lands. Others see the responsibility
to protect, as a form of neo-imperialism, an
expansion of what the French used to call the advancement
of civilization. Still others say that
what happened in Libya, shows that that the responsibility
to protect doesn’t work. And that what’s happening in Syria
today shows that it can’t work. Despite these critiques,
it is important to note that the responsibility to protect
has been invoked on a number of occasions since 2005,
and that it has in fact led to the effective protection
of people from grave human rights violations. For example, when conflict
flared in Kenya, following the disputed 2007
elections, Kofi Annan said that he looked at the
crisis through the prism of the responsibility to protect. This led him to initiate and
to stimulate others to follow, in creating diplomatic interventions
by the U.N., the African Union, a number of other governments
from Africa and around the world, including the United States. Condoleezza Rice went there
herself to try to mediate the crisis in Kenya following the election. A power sharing agreement was
reached between the two forces that were adversaries in Kenya, and
the downward spiral into civil war and what some feared was
moving toward genocide was actually stopped. The Kenyan case illustrates in my
judgement, that the responsibility to protect can be successfully
carried out through nonviolent, political and diplomatic
initiatives. The responsibility to protect
doctrine has also been invoked on several occasions in the
past decade, to justify the use of military force to protect
people from grave atrocities. In 2012, with the U.N.
Security Council approval, France and the economic
community of West African states, took military action in
pursuit of peace in Mali. And in 2013, the Security Council
supported the use of force by France and the African Union
to stop atrocities in the Central Africa Republic. These cases, Mali and CAR, Central
African Republic, indicate to me that the responsibility to
protect can remain a viable option in grave crisis. Two other cases however,
Libya and Syria, cause others to question this. In the Libya case, the
U.N. authorized action to protect civilians when
fears arose that Gaddafi was about to commit atrocities. He had done a lot of bad things
already, but there was fear that he was even going
to do worse things. For example, when he
referred to his adversaries in Benghazi as “cockroaches.” This is the very epithet
that the Hutus used of the Tutsi during the
midst of the Rwanda genocide. And it led a number of people to
think that Gaddafi was on the verge of an extermination
of his adversaries. As a result, the Security
Council with the notable support of the Organization of the
Islamic Conference, and the League of Arab States, called
for the use of quote, “All necessary measures
to protect civilians.” NATO intervened with air power. Gaddafi was killed and
his regime was overthrown. Sadly, and this is what leads the
critics to say RtoP doesn’t work, Libya has fallen into
political chaos, with armed conflicts among several
groups, significant violations of human rights continuing
on the basis of religion, and the unsafe flight of migrants
across the Mediterranean from Libya. These consequences confirm
some in the conviction that pursuing humanitarian goals, not required by national
self-interest, is likely to do more harm than good. I would argue however, that the
intervention in Libya failed, not because it was excessive,
but because it was incomplete. Following the norms that my
colleagues in ethics today call “jus post bellum,”
justice following conflict, NATO and the U.S. should have
followed up their intervention with action to rebuild Libya and to
prevent the chaos that developed. What happened in Libya
was in my judgement, an incomplete implementation
of the responsibility to protect, not a simple failure. Syria has also been
invoked to suggest that the responsibility
to protect is dead. The political complexities
and moral ambiguities of the Syrian situation,
surely go very deep. But these complexities in my
view, do not discredit the notion of the responsibility to protect. Thomas Weiss has argued that the
“wisdom of the use of military force to protect people from atrocities is
governed by three factors: legality, moral legitimacy, and feasibility.” In Syria, it is clear that the
legal prohibitions of war crimes and of other atrocities,
have been violated. The moral legitimacy of efforts to
stop a conflict that has displaced over half the entire Syrian
population, and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians,
is also evident. The issue of course is feasibility. Feasibility of military intervention
to alleviate the crisis, and this I think is — this
feasibility is unclear. This does not undermine the idea
that there is a responsibility to protect people from atrocity. The apparent lack of a presently
feasible way to overcome the crisis in Syria I would argue, calls
for additional political and diplomatic initiatives
to find a path forward. Not only Assad and the rebels, but
also Russia, Iran, the Gulf states, and some others, are keeping
the crisis in Syria alive. The United States has a duty, in my
judgement, to engage these powers in the pursuit of peace,
through continuing political and diplomatic engagement. In my judgement, Secretary
Kerry is on the right path here. Outside of Syria itself, what is our
responsibility to the large number of Syrians presently
seeking asylum in Europe, and other parts of
the developed world? We should affirm — we should
reaffirm the United Nations 1951 Refugee Conventions Affirmation
that refugees fleeing persecution, should be granted asylum elsewhere. Countries in Europe and North
America have the capability and the resources to grant asylum
to a considerably larger number of refugees from Syria and South
Sudan than we are doing today. Indeed, the number of Syrians
seeking asylum in Europe, is not even close to
the number already within the borders
of Syria’s neighbors. For example, in the
fall of last year, when Prime Minister David Cameron
of the United Kingdom announced that is country would grant
asylum to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years, he
was appropriately reminded that Lebanon had admitted
that number of Syrian refugees over the last two weekends. Indeed, developing
countries today host 86% of all the world’s refugees. And the very poorest countries of
the world, are providing asylum to 25% of the global
total of refugees. The rich nations of the north,
like us, have the capability and therefore the responsibility
to admit a larger number of asylum seekers, and
even more I would say to assist these poorer countries who are already hosting most
of the world’s refugees. The funds being provided for this
burden sharing by us in the north, need to be substantially increased. To achieve this, the rich nations
of the northern hemisphere, will have to overcome
tendencies to racially and religiously driven xenophobia,
and overcome the mistaken fear that most terrorists
have come in as refugees. Most terrorists are actually
native born people, born within — the French terrorists who blew
up the — took action in Paris, and those who took action in Brussels were all born
in France and Belgium. A country with a history
of military involvement in another country can also
have special obligations. For example, the United States
recognized its particular duty to receive refugees from
Vietnam, after the Vietnam war. Though the U.S. intervention in Iraq
was certainly not the sole course — cause of displacement of many
Iraqis in the world today, it was surely the occasion of the huge forced migration
of Iraqis that followed. And political scientist
Steven Walt recently observed in a somewhat cynical column,
that if the United States and its allies had not invaded Iraq
in 2003, there would almost no — certainly be no Islamic state today, which would then be
raising questions about our duty toward the
people being displaced by the Islamic state. If we had not intervened,
it seems to me, there would surely be
fewer people seeking asylum from Iraq and Syria today. This deepens our duties toward
those refugees, in my judgment. Finally, I recognize
that there are reasons to wonder whether national
self-interest will not almost always overshadow the duties
that I’ve been sketching and that I then advocating. Nevertheless, I am encouraged by
the recent work of Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, two
distinguished political scientists, whose work shows the positive impact
of people who have been advocating for normative, ethical
standards in some domains of contemporary international
politics. The standards of international law
of armed conflict, where the result of normative advocacy, by
groups such as the Red Cross over the past century,
leading to the creation of the Geneva Conventions. More recently, though the
International Criminal Court is still by all means, a
developing institution, Finnemore and Sikkink have argued that,
“normative entrepreneurs,” as they call them, have
advanced the effort to hold political leaders
accountable for violating standards through the action of several
international criminal tribunals. Not only the International
Criminal Court, but the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia, etcetera. This suggests that contrary to
the standard realist argument, ethical standards can
come to have real impact on the conduct of nations. My hope is that strong ethical
pressure, including pressure from faith-based agencies like
the pressure we saw from the Pope in Lesbos, just a few day — few weeks ago, that this pressure
will lead to more action in accord with the responsibilities that I have incompletely
sketched here today. And that I hope to treat in
considerably greater depth in the book that I’m writing, thanks
to my stay at the Kluge Center. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Jane McAuliffe: Thank you
very much, Dr. Hollenbach. I think you have wetted our
appetite for some questions and you have graciously
agreed to take a few, if there are some in the audience. When you pose a question, would
you please make it a question and identify yourself
before doing so? Thank you.>>Thank you so much for
this very stimulating talk. My name is Theo Cristov. I’m a Kluge Fellow. I wanted to push more on the
philosophical question and to think about the distinction between
duty and responsibility. In my sense, from your discussion, was that you use both
interchangeably in the talk. And here’s the context. In the last 17th Century, the
German theorist Pufendorf speaks of the responsibility to protect
only on the condition that in fact that help is needed by the people who are suffering,
and that’s their call. So the distinction that he makes
between duty and responsibility that duty comes with responsibility, but responsibility does
not necessarily dutiful. So from that context, I wanted
to invite you to think about, how can we respond to the current
crisis that you are discussing, by using that distinction
between duty and responsibility? And would that change any
part of your argument? Thank you.>>Dr. David Hollenbach: Well,
that’s a very interesting question. I am not familiar with
Pufendorf’s distinction. So maybe you could give me an
illustration of what’s a duty and what’s a responsibility
so I know a little better about what you’re asking
me to clarify about the contemporary scene? I’m not fully clear on
what the distinction is.>>So the context comes
in Pufendorf — he’s attacking essentially
[inaudible] scholastic, on the question of the
[inaudible] Indians that in fact, the [inaudible] Indians, do they
have a right to be dispossessed by the Europeans, or can they just
be dispossessed without their right? So what he says is that in
fact, we can only protect people who are calling for our help, as
opposed to on humanitarian grounds, without the help of people we
can intervene at any point. And that’s the distinction
between duty and responsibility. The moral question versus the
political realism which you sort of addressed at the
very end of your talk.>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
So, you’re suggesting that responsibility is more response to a call whereas duty is
sort of initiated by me. Well, I’m not — I’d have to think
about that much more carefully. One of the ways in which I
do think about it though, is to say that the very dignity of
the person is already a kind of call to me to respond in a way
that supports that dignity. I mean, one way to think of it
is to think about the dignity of the person is already a kind
of ought toward me, that it speaks to me and says, “Don’t violate me.” Or if I am indeed being
submerged in crisis, it can call out to me the
very dignity of the person, not the words the person
uses, but the very humanity of the person is a
kind of call to me. And that’s the way I would
start thinking about this. I’d want to go back and see what’s
at stake though in the argument about indigenous Americans
and what kind of argument Pufendorf
is making there. I know that [inaudible] was very
strong in making an argument about the need to protect these
people from the kind of abuse that some of the Spanish colonial
practices were exerting upon them, but I’m not sure how
Pufendorf dealt with that one. I would certainly respond
— one way that — well, maybe that’s enough to say
and we can move to another question. Bruce Gentleson [phonetic] is
looking there to ask a question. We were neighbors when I was here
at the Kluge Center in the fall.>>Yes, absolutely, and it
was a joy talking with you, and a fabulous talk today.>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Thank you Bruce. I appreciate that.>>Let me pick up on the last point
you made about national interests, because I think the way you laid
things out was really very powerful. And I’m wondering whether the Syria
case, you know and the Rwanda case, as awful as the humanitarian
issue was, some people would say it was a
stretch to say that interests were at stake, even though you
and I might agree they were. But here in Syria,
we have a situation where the awful humanitarian
situation has impacted, as you said, the stability of many
states in the region.>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Even the E.U.>>And that of course to Europe now. And so anybody who would
say, “Well, you know, that’s a really terrible thing. It’s just about you know,
values,” could there possibly be and maybe a way towards the end of
your book to say that these really, in a globalized, interconnected
world, that the dichotomy between interests and ideals, really
holds up less, and there’s more of a kind of cross-connection
between them?>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
I fully agree with that. I certainly don’t want to make
it as if the whole response to my argument today
is all about ethics and self-interest has
nothing to do with it. I do think that there are
real self-interests involved. I mean, it’s not only
what’s happening. I mean, if this crisis with
the Syrian refugees leads to the disintegration
of the European Union, I mean that’s really
serious business. I mean the European Union has
been the source of peace in Europe for the last — since
the Second World War, or the Union more recently. But we don’t want to repeat
World War I and World War II, and finding ways to prevent that is in our self-interest,
it seems to me. Now that’s not the only
self-interested people. The response to the whole
Middle Eastern situation, if this Syria crisis
flows over and — into other regions of
the Middle East, if — especially if we weren’t producing
cheap oil the way we are right now because of fracking, which
raises another whole question, but we’ll deal with
fracking another day. But there is a self-interest
involved in keeping peace in these regions. And that means responding
to these crises. So I think they go together. The other thing is that from
a normative point of view, this probably comes from
Catholic background rather than from another approach,
I’m not entirely sure that drawing a sharp
distinction between self-interest and purely altruistic
other interest, is a legitimate way
to think about ethics. I think my well-being and
other’s well-being are inherently interconnected with each other. That goes back to Aristotle,
talking about the fact that a human being
is a social being. We are interdependent on each
other, throughout our whole lives. So to think of a pure self-interest
that’s totally dissociated from any concern for others,
doesn’t make sense in terms of the kind of being we are. We’re not little atoms,
separated from each other. And the growing globalization
and interdependence economically and culturally and politically
makes that even more obvious today, than it would have
been some time ago. So I’m very much in
agreement with your direction. Yes?>>Hello, David. I’m Jim Lund [phonetic]. I’m now with [inaudible].>>Dr. David Hollenbach: Hi, Jim. Good to see you.>>Good to see you. Let me just say that the first time
I heard you lecture was in 1977. And I still remember what you said.>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Well, that’s amazing. I don’t.>>And so I thought I’d wander up
Capitol Hill to hear you today. So thank you very much for your
insights and wisdom here today. I didn’t hear you talk
much about last resort. Now, I think the situation
in South Sudan, the situation in Syria is
self-evidently, we’re in a situation of last resort with the millions
of people that are affected. But could you talk a
little bit about that from a philosophical framework too?>>Dr. David Hollenbach: Well,
I think that probably touches on what Tom Weiss calls
“feasibility” also. Certainly, last resort is invoked
in the Just War Tradition to say, you don’t start using force if you could take another
initiative diplomatically that would solve the problem
without the use of armed force. I mean it follows from
the fact that the use of armed force involves
killing people. And you don’t do that if you really
take seriously the Thou Shalt Not Kill commandment, unless it’s the
only way to protect innocent people from being killed, and that means
last resort comes into play there. So finding steps that would take
action to — I mentioned Kenya. Kenya is an example of a diplomatic
implementation of the responsibility to protect that did not
involve the use of armed force. Following the election there,
it looked like Kenya was going to fall apart into an ethnic war. The major ethnic groups of Kenya
have been divided for a long time. It felt very much like
— it looked like that, and that’s why there was a sense
that we’ve got to do something to prevent another Rwanda. That was Kofi Annan’s position. And Kofi Annan had been the Director of Peacekeeping Operations
during the Rwanda genocide, which led him to be very sensitive
to this, because he had failed to take the action needed in Rwanda
to prevent what happened there. So, he took action, but it
was not military action. And I think to say, that’s
a good example of the use of force should be only in the
last resort, if you can find ways to take those diplomatic maneuvers
that will solve the problem and protect people, do it. Don’t intervene militarily. Now, in Syria, I think we’ve
probably reached the point of saying that if we could militarily
intervene, and do so, there’s another criterion of Just War Theory called
Reasonable Hope of Success. You don’t want to intervene
militarily if you don’t have a good
hope that it’s going to make the situation better. The fear is that a military
intervention by the United States in Syria today would
make the situation worse. And that’s where I think, last
resort, as well as Reasonable Hope of Success may point to saying,
we’ve got to take other steps to try to move in a new direction. I don’t know what those are. I know Secretary Kerry has
been really working hard on it, and he’s taken some steps that
have moved in the right direction, but we’re way far removed
from where we are. I do think our remaining obligation
is to make sure we do something more to help all these people
who are being displaced. These millions of Syrian refugees. Anyway, I’m just thinking
out loud about this. I’m not answering the question, because I don’t think there’s a
clear answer to the Syrian question that sound — that looks so perfectly beautiful
and solves the problem. Yes, sir?>>I want to compliment you
on a brilliant talk first.>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Oh well, thank you so much. I’m very grateful.>>But I also want to
introduce a new thought here. My slogan for 2016-17 is that
we cannot afford war any longer. Now just think about that. Every country in the world
seems to be consumed with debt, consumed with other projects that
are worthwhile, so I want to think about the thought, well we
can’t afford war anymore. And it’s a Catholic idea
that all need each other. Now I’m in the oil business,
so I know what the price of oil dropping is, but I also
think it’s good for the world too. And so — but on the other hand, the
last time Reagan dropped the price of oil in a war with the Saudi — the Russians, 3,000 independent
oil companies went out of business. I used to be a bank
director and I will predict, a lot of oil companies,
small oil companies, will go out of business again. Now, what’s that got to
do with the price of eggs? I say that if we can’t
afford war anymore, then we ought to be
talking about that. And from a religious point
of view, we’ve been talking about that for centuries. So, just want to throw
that out as a thought. Thank you.>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Thank you very much and I’m certainly very much in
agreement with finding alternatives to war is a very, extremely
important step. I’ve been challenged by some of
my colleagues in the ethics area for saying that I still
hold the possibility of some legitimate
use of armed force. Some people want to say it’s
totally unacceptable today. The only thing that
has led me to not move in that direction is having
spent some time in Rwanda and having seen the aftermath
of what happened there, which could have been prevented. General Romeo Dallaire who was
the Canadian General in charge of the Rwandan peacekeeping troops, said that if he had had 5,000
more peacekeeping troops, he could have saved 300,000 lives. Well, that use of armed force, I’m
in favor of, if you can do that. So, but that’s not
the same as the kind of war we’ve got in Syria today. That’s for sure.>>Jane McAuliffe: I think
we have time for one more?>>Yes, sir. I’m Ronald Wilson with Social
Security Administration. The question I have is do you ever
envision a scenario in the future when all nations would be
stable and that the burden of R to P would be adhered
to by all nations so that there would not be a
flow of refugees, or do you think because of the history of
humanity that the burden of R to P will always be on the
international community?>>Dr. David Hollenbach:
Well, I would love to think that we could move
in that direction. I’m not enormously hopeful
that we’re getting there. I do think that there’s likely to
be some continuing serious conflict and that’s one of the
reasons why I have argued for why we have these positive
duties to take action to help people who are facing these
crisis situations. Negatively, I would like to
think we could get people to be serious enough about
adhering to the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Charter and so forth, that we wouldn’t have
these kinds of conflicts. But the fact that I’m not
expecting that to happen real soon, is a reason why I’ve — arguing
for some of these positive duties to respond when crises do emerge. I do think that we have to
press much more strongly for these implementation of some
of these international standards. And I think that the United States
has been contributing to that, but we have not always stayed — we haven’t stayed in harmony
with the Geneva Conventions in what we’ve done with
torture, for example. There have been some really serious
problems there, and that’s — you can make a very strong case that the U.S. has violated the
Geneva Conventions regarding torture of Common Article 3. But anyway, my hope is that
we can move in that direction, but if you’re asking me
to make a prediction, I’m not really predicting that
it’s going to happen tomorrow. But maybe over the — the
creation of new structures of international governance is
really important in this regard. And I think that’s where the
International Criminal Court is a step in the right direction. Far from complete, but it’s a step. So I’d hope to see we can move
further in that direction. So.>>Jane McAuliffe: Thank you. Thank you again, and
please, would you join me in thanking our distinguished
lecturer this afternoon. Thank you, Dr. Hollenbach. [ Applause ]>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us at

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *