Author profile: Mary Ellen O’Connell

Mary Ellen O’Connell holds the Robert and Marion Short Chair in Law and is a fellow of the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She has published widely on international law, especially the law on the use of force and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

How to Lose a Revolution

How to Lose a Revolution

Some are calling the coalition intervention that began 19 March 2011, in Libya a success. I call tens of thousands of deaths and injuries a tragedy. When such casualties occur owing to a military intervention never shown to be necessary, the intervention is a failure.

How to Save a Revolution

How to Save a Revolution

The Libyan opposition has shown great courage and serious miscalculation. Principally, they failed to take into account the loyalty, training, and resources of Colonel Ghaddafi’s forces. They also failed to realize that revolutions such as theirs depend on non-violence. Influenced perhaps by calls for no-fly zones and other forms of foreign military intervention in Egypt, they have failed to understand both the importance of non-violence and the importance of self-reliance.

Sri Lanka Needs Peace, Not R2P

Sri Lanka Needs Peace, Not R2P

Proponents of “responsibility to protect” or “R2P” have been linking their concept in recent weeks to the waning civil war in Sri Lanka. Are they right to do so? Talk of R2P may well distract from what should be a clear and unified demand to both sides: Cease fire.

Conflict in the Caucasus: Restoring Peace and Principle

Watching for signs of war with Iran, many of us probably took our eyes off other hot spots where President Bush’s imminent departure is a strategic consideration. Georgia’s Saakashvili launched his military action to regain control of South Ossetia, no doubt with the departure in mind and probably thinking America’s pro-war administration would back him. Yet his decision was unlawful and foolhardy.

No More Unlawful War: The Case Against a US Attack on Iran

If America learns nothing else from the misadventure in Iraq, it should learn the high price of unlawful war. Yet, in an eerie atmosphere of déjà vue, we are hearing the drumbeat for war once again—this time against Iran. Only now we hear virtually nothing about the legal right to go to war. This is particularly odd since the law against attacking Iran is even clearer than the law against invading Iraq.

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