China, Russia, and the Failure of the Responsibility to Protect in Syria: Does the Fear of Regime Change Offer a Serviceable Explanation?

1 Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai: Studia Europaea (2013), pp. 63-88

26 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2013 Last revised: 12 Feb 2015

Ralph R. A. Janik

University of Vienna - Section for International Law & International Relations; Webster University - Vienna Campus

Date Written: December 12, 2013

Abstract

The following pages analyse the motivations behind the Russian and Chinese vetoes that prevented three Security Council resolutions from entering into force. In particular, the commonly accepted argument according to which they used their veto power in order to prevent a repetition of the regime change as it happened in Libya will be challenged on various grounds. In particular, it seems that it was not an outright rejection of regime change but rather the frustration of having been left aside during the post-Gaddafi scramble for oil and other economic benefits, that led to their voting behaviour. In addition, Russia almost had no other option than using the veto because of its close ties to the Assad regime. Here, Libya rather created an environment of distrust that compelled Russia to cling on its ally due to the well-grounded fear that a newly-imposed regime would not continue this special relationship.

Keywords: Syria, Responsibility to Protect, Russia, Assad, Regime Change, Arab Spring, Libya, Humanitarian Imperialism

Suggested Citation

Janik, Ralph R. A., China, Russia, and the Failure of the Responsibility to Protect in Syria: Does the Fear of Regime Change Offer a Serviceable Explanation? (December 12, 2013). 1 Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai: Studia Europaea (2013), pp. 63-88 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367065

Ralph R. A. Janik (Contact Author)

University of Vienna - Section for International Law & International Relations ( email )

Schottenbastei 10-16
Vienna, 1010
Austria

Webster University - Vienna Campus ( email )

Berchtoldgase 1
Vienna, 1220
Austria

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