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Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

7. Contemporary Critiques of Human Rights  

David Chandler

This chapter examines contemporary critiques of human rights, focusing on the downside of human rights claims — what is commonly understood by advocates of human rights to be the ‘misuse’ or ‘abuse’ of human rights. It first considers how human rights claims conflate ethical and legal claims because the subject of rights is not a socially constituted legal subject. It then discusses the rise of human rights as well as the relationship between human rights claims and international interventions such as humanitarianism, international law, and military intervention. In particular, it analyses the ethical, legal, and political questions raised by the Kosovo war. The chapter shows that there is a paradox at the heart of the human rights discourse, which enables claims made on behalf of victims, the marginalized, and excluded to become a mechanism for the creation of new frameworks for the exercise of power.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

23. Humanitarian Intervention  

Alex J. Bellamy and Stephen McLoughlin

This chapter charts the debate between those who believe that the protection of civilians from genocide and mass atrocities ought to trump the principle of non-intervention in certain circumstances and those who oppose this proposition. This has become a particular problem in the post-Cold War world where atrocities in places like Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur prompted calls, in the West especially, for international society to step in to protect the victims with military force if necessary. While intervening to protect populations from mass atrocities does have moral appeal, humanitarian intervention causes problems for international security by potentially compromising the rules governing the use of force in world politics. Since the end of the Cold War, a broad international consensus has emerged around a principle called the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P). The R2P holds that states have a responsibility to protect their populations from genocide and mass atrocities and that the international community has a duty to help states fulfil their responsibilities and use various measures to protect populations when their own states are manifestly failing to do so. In 2011, the principle helped the UN Security Council authorize the use of force against a sovereign state for human protection purposes for the first time in its history.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

16. Humanitarian Intervention and Political Self-Determination  

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter argues that there is a just cause to intervene militarily in a state that systematically violates the human rights of its members. It rejects the views of those who contend that there is no justification for humanitarian intervention because there are no universal moral values. The chapter accepts that the value of political self-determination can explain what is wrong with humanitarian intervention in some cases. However, appeals to this value are decisive less often than many critics of intervention suppose. One concern with adopting a permissive attitude towards humanitarian intervention is that this might be open to misuse. The chapter then articulates a role for international law in authorizing intervention to minimize this risk. It concludes by clarifying how these arguments fit within a wider set of considerations pertinent to the justifiability of humanitarian intervention.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

12. International Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter explores the international forces that shape democratic development. International dynamics influence the balance of power among domestic actors, which can shape a country's prospects for the onset and deepening of democracy. In fact, a large and growing body of research underscores that factors taking place outside a country's borders have played a significant and under-examined role in regime change and democratic development. These external factors include diffusion, foreign intervention, linkages (like trade and cross-cultural contacts), and foreign aid. One of the key takeaways of is that geopolitics matter. When the international system is led by a single democratic power, the democratic super-power and its partners can use trade, aid, and other linkages to encourage the onset and consolidation of democracy. Once competing authoritarian regimes emerge, however, these dictatorships can use the same tools in ways that dilute democratic leverage.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of International Law

10. International law and the use of force  

This chapter explores the justness, legitimacy, and legality of war. While 1945 was a key turning point in the codification of jus ad bellum (i.e. international law on the use of force), that framework did not emerge in a vacuum. Rather, it was the product of historical political contingencies that meant that codification of the laws of war was contemporaneous, both geographically and temporally, with the solidification of the norms of sovereign nation-statehood and territorial integrity. The chapter focuses on the UN Charter regime and how it has shaped the politics of war since 1945. Importantly, the Charter establishes a general prohibition on the use of force in international relations. It also grants two exceptions to the prohibition: actions undertaken with Security Council authorization and actions taken in self-defence. Today, many of the most serious challenges to the Charter regime concern the definition and outer limits of the concept of self-defence. Another set of challenges to the Charter regime concerns the contested concept of ‘humanitarian intervention’. The chapter then looks at the development of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine.

Book

Cover Foreign Policy

Edited by Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne

This text provides an introduction to the ever-changing field of foreign policy. Combining theories, actors, and cases, chapters provide an interesting introduction to what foreign policy is and how it is conducted. With an emphasis throughout on grounding theory in empirical examples, the text features a section dedicated to relevant and topical case studies where foreign policy analysis approaches and theories are applied. Chapters clearly convey the connection between international relations theory, political science, and the development of foreign policy analysis, emphasizing the key debates in the academic community. New chapters focus on such topics as public diplomacy, and media and public opinion. A new case study on Syria examines the forms of intervention that have and have not been adopted by the international community.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

6. Security and Insecurity  

This chapter assesses the general concept of security and the way in which issues come to be ‘securitized’. The security of the sovereign state, in a system of states, and existing under conditions of anarchy, has been the traditional focus of studies in global or international politics. Security in this context has therefore been concerned largely with the threats that states pose to each other. Over the last few decades, however, the agenda for security in global politics has expanded, and so too has its conceptualization. The chapter looks at traditional approaches to security and insecurity, revisiting the Hobbesian state of nature and tracing security thinking in global politics through to the end of the Cold War. This is followed by a discussion of ideas about collective security as embodied in the UN, paying particular attention to the role of the Security Council and the issue of intervention in the post-Cold War period. This period has also seen the broadening of the security agenda to encompass concerns such as gender security, environmental security, cyber security, and the diffuse concept of ‘human security’. Finally, the chapter provides an overview of the ‘war on terror’, raising further questions concerning how best to deal with non-conventional security threats.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

15. Canada and antipersonnel landmines  

The case for human security as a foreign policy priority

Lloyd Axworthy

This chapter examines the impact of the Ottawa Process on the use of antipersonnel landmines as well as its significance to foreign policy analysis. The Ottawa Process led to the signing of an international treaty to ban the use and trading of landmines in 1997. It also contributed to the concept of human security and the emerging global principle of responsibility to protect. The chapter first considers the dynamic between governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) leading up to the launch of the Ottawa Process before discussing how middle power countries worked with NGOs and used soft power diplomacy to achieve a ban on landmines. It also explores the utility of the Ottawa Process as a model for recent international efforts, including the Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the establishment of the International Criminal Court, and the treaties on cluster munitions and the trade in small arms.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

2. Ideas about environmental protection  

This chapter explores the ideas and debates which shape global environmental politics. At least three types of socially constructed ideas play a key role in international environmental governance: world views, causal beliefs, and social norms. However, ideas are not universally shared, which means that ideological clashes are a feature of global environmental governance. The chapter looks at five of the major ideological debates that have marked the evolution of global environmental governance. The first two debates present conflicting world views: the first concerns the scope of environmental values, while the second examines the intrinsic values of non-human organisms. The following two debates concern causal beliefs: one is about the relationship between human intervention and environmental protection, while the other concerns the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation. The last debate considers different social norms related to environmental justice and the appropriate behaviours expected towards historically marginalized populations.