R2P: Implications for World Order

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

According to supporters of R2P the principle now enjoys almost universal acceptance and the remaining challenges concern operationalization and implementation. In contrast, this article argues that R2P remains controversial both as a principle and in terms of its application, and these controversies reflect broader tensions in international politics related to international order and normative authority. Diplomatic debates related to R2P suggest that rising powers are resistant to aspects of the normative ‘rules of the game’, and that there are fundamental disagreements regarding the relationship between human rights and international order. This can be understood as a tension between pluralist and solidarist worldviews, but also a manifestation of friction regarding control of international institutions and decision-making. Although R2P is defined narrowly, therefore, this article argues that the controversies surrounding the principle must be understood within a wider political context. In conclusion, the article offers a number of suggestions as to the future of R2P based upon this analysis.

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    Alex J. Bellamy‘The Responsibility to Protect – Five Years On’Ethics and International Affairs24/2:143-169 (2010); Cristina G. Badescu, and Thomas G. Weiss, ‘Misrepresenting R2P and Advancing Norms: An Alternative Spiral?’ International Studies Perspectives, 11/4:354-374 (2010).

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    Barry BuzanFrom International to World Society? English School Theory and the Social Structure of Globalisation, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press2004), p.xviii.

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    Barry BuzanFrom International to World Society?, p.8.

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    Zhongying Pang‘China’s Non-Intervention Question’Global Responsibility to Protect1/.2: 237-252 (2009); Liu Tiewa, ‘China and Responsibility to Protect: Maintenance and Change of Its Policy for Intervention’, The Pacific Review, 25/1:153-173 (2012); David Capie, ‘The Responsibility to Protect Norm in Southeast Asia: Framing, Resistance and the Localization Myth’, The Pacific Review, 25/1:75-93 (2012); Jun Honna, ‘Japan and the Responsibility to Protect: coping with human security diplomacy’, The Pacific Review, 25/1: 95–112 (2012).; Keokam Kraisoraphong, ‘Thailand and the Responsibility to Protect’, The Pacific Review, 25/: 1-25 (2012); Noel M. Morada, ‘The ASEAN Charter and the Promotion of R2P in Southeast Asia: Challenges and Constraints’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 1/2: 185–207 (2009). Some have suggested, however, that China is not fundamentally opposed to the R2P in principle; see Sarah Teitt, ‘Assessing Polemics, Principles and Practices: China and the Responsibility to Protect’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 1/2: 208–236 (2009).

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     See, for example, Tony Blair‘Doctrine of the International Community: Ten Years Later’Yale Journal of International Affairs4/2:5-14, (2009).

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    UNGA Res. 63/308, 7 October 2009.

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     See also Kai Michael Kenkel‘Brazil and R2P: Does Taking Responsibility Mean Using Force?’ Global Responsibility to Protect4/1:5–32 (2012).

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    Zhao Shengnan‘Beijing defends UN vote on Syria’China Daily18 Feb 2012.

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    James Traub‘Will the Good BRICS Please Stand Up?’Foreign PolicyMarch 9, 2012. See also C. Raja Mohan, ‘Seeing Syria straight’, The Indian Express, 11 February 2012; Sandipani Dash, ‘Responsibility to Protect: The Case of Libya’.

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    Barry BuzanFrom International to World Society?, pp.49-50.

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    Anthony Burke‘Against the New Internationalism’Ethics and International Affairs19/2: 73-89 (2005), p.86.

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