How Does Nationalist Selfishness Creep into Cosmopolitan Protection?

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
Timo Kivimäki University of Bath, UK,

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This article investigates how selfish justifications enter cosmopolitan rationales in the political plane of the discourse. It makes sense of the ways in which selfish ideas are allowed to meddle in and merge with morally-based cosmopolitan norms. The article commits to the ontological and epistemological premises of critical discourse analysis, and focuses on us presidential papers since 1989. It substantiates the claims it makes by using computer-assisted discursive process tracing method as a supporting tool for qualitative analysis of texts. The computerised analysis of discursive entanglements reveals that cosmopolitan protective operations are in fact mainly framed nationalistically. The roots of such selfish nationalistic arguments for international protective military operations can be traced in the realist and hegemonic fallacies that emphasise the naturality of national selfishness and the need for global hegemony. Furthermore, the article shows how the entanglement of discourse strands about ‘protection’ and ‘innocent victimhood’ as well as the entanglement between ‘crime prevention’ and ‘terrorism prevention’ legitimate selfish internationalist arguments in the us political debate.

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