Edited by Steven C. Roach
Chapter 18: The responsibility to protect: the rise of liberal authoritarianism
The chapter argues that the responsibility to protect represents a paternalistic model of state power and political authority, embodying the most conservative understanding of political responsibility – responsibility for, rather than responsibility to, people. It aims to analyse the growing sentiment of progress in human rights through the responsibility to protect and how this constitutes a mirage, optical illusion only visible from the vantage point of surveying the international order. It shows that the international perspective of the responsibility to protect looks different from within the state, which is where the domain of the responsibility to protect is supposed to apply. In doing so, it asks: how does this reality affect existing structures of power and political authority within the state? Instead of the teleological vantage point of international relations, the chapter analyses the responsibility to protect from the vantage point of domestic political order. Thus, it treats the responsibility to protect not as a theory of intervention but as a model of state power and authority.
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