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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the context of broader debates in International Political Theory. First, it suggests that central to the appeal—and success—of R2P is that its central premises strike a plausible balance between statist and cosmopolitan concerns. Second, it argues, notwithstanding, that R2P still faces challenges from statism and cosmopolitanism, including the apparent statism of R2P’s pillar II and the worries amongst certain non-Western states that R2P still has an unduly strong liberal cosmopolitan bent. Third, it argues that much of the recent debate on R2P about the efficacy of the norm is somewhat unproductive because this depends on a tricky counterfactual judgement about the utility and feasibility of potential alternative norms. The chapter concludes by arguing that a far more pertinent (and neglected) issue is how much political will should be invested in R2P, relative to other, morally valuable agenda.

Keywords: Responsibility to Protect (R2P), statism, cosmopolitanism, norms, comparative efficaciousness, political will, alternative agenda

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