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date: 15 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

R2P invokes the power-morality nexus in international relations and interrogates the rules of engagement that anchor international society. Conceptualization of R2P as a liberal Western construct can therefore be divisive, especially when operationalization of the norm—as happened during the 2011 intervention in Libya—feeds into a West-against-the-Rest narrative. This is unfortunate because the R2P doctrine has deep roots in the non-Western world—Africa in particular—and Global South perspectives continue to strengthen its conceptual development. Emerging powers challenge the status quo of structural power and their rhetoric on R2P often invokes mistrust of Western altruism in international politics. Their actions, on the other hand, prove that they are no less prone to realpolitik in the normative domain. State actors in the normative middle of international politics, including developed as well as developing countries, are well placed to bridge the West-versus-the-Rest schism and to provide leadership in the R2P discourse.

Keywords: responsibility to protect, norms, BRICS, power, international society, Security Council, humanitarian intervention

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