Does America Have a Responsibility to Stop Mass Killings?

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic:

AmericaDoes the U.S. have a responsibility to intervene abroad to stop egregious human rights abuses? The so-called “responsibility to protect” was the subject of a panel that my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg moderated Sunday in Aspen. He shared the stage with Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served in the Obama Administration as Directory of Policy Planning in the State Department, and is known to advocate for interventions like the one in Libya. In fact, all of the panelists were, broadly speaking, advocates of American intervention, at least in situations like the Rwandan genocide. To spur a more wide-ranging conversation, law professor Steven Carter was briefly assigned to channel the perspective of Sen. Rand Paul, a leading non interventionist.

“The spirit Rand Paul captures goes deeply in American history,” he said, adding that in situations like the killings in Darfur, a lot of Americans think it's tragic, but nevertheless feel as though we've got our own problems to address, and that it would be good if someone else did something.

The conversation then turned away from Sen. Paul.

What followed was a survey of the various moral and practical questions interventionism raises. Is it fair to send U.S. troops who volunteered to protect American interests into conflicts like Rwanda where our national security isn't at risk? What measures, short of combat troops on the ground, can be effective? Should authoritarian leaders who've committed atrocities be given amnesty and political asylum if it'll result in fewer lives lost? Is assassination ever legitimate?

Read the rest here.