“Duty to Prevent” Focus of Lawrence University International Studies Address

Lee Feinstein, deputy director of studies and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., discusses the international community’s responsibility to prevent security as well as humanitarian disasters in the second installment of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series “Pariah States and Policy Responses.”

Feinstein presents “A Duty to Prevent” Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium, 613 E. College Ave., Appleton. The event is free and open to the public.

With international concerns growing almost daily over the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction by Iran, North Korea and the unprecedented threat posed by terrorists, Feinstein will examine the principle of a collective “duty to prevent.” The principle is aimed at nations that are run by rulers without internal checks on their power and designed to keep them from acquiring or using WMD, even if it means violating national sovereignty.

Feinstein argues the “duty to prevent” principle would complement the United Nations’ 2001 “The Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, which says U.N. member states have a responsibility to protect the lives, liberty and basic human rights of their citizens, and that if they fail or are unable to meet those obligations, the international community has a responsibility to step in.

The “duty to prevent” principle is based on three critical features: control both the proliferation of WMD and the people who possess them; emphasize prevention by calling on the international community to intervene early in order to be effective; and collective implementation through a global or regional organization.

An international lawyer who specializes in national security affairs, weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations, Feinstein served in the Clinton administration from 1994-2001, first as a senior advisor for peacekeeping policy in the office of the secretary of defense and later as principal director of policy planning under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Feinstein served as the co-director of the 2002 independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and Freedom House on Enhancing U.S. Relations with the U.N. He has written widely on national security and foreign policy issues and is a frequent guest commentator on television public affairs programs.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Vassar, a master’s degree in political science from City University of New York Graduate Center and holds a law degree from Georgetown University. Fluent in Russian and French, Feinstein also studied at the State Pushkin Institute of Russian Language in Moscow.

Other scheduled speakers in this year’s lecture series include:

• March 1 — Jack DuVall, president and founding director of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Washington, D.C., “The Right to Rise Up: People Power and the Virtues of Civic Disruption.”

• April 4 — John Merrill, chief of the Northeast Asia Division, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. State Department, “North Korea.”

The “Pariah States and Policy Responses” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.