More generally, realists cannot account for the existence of an international regime that imposes non-reciprocal obligations on states. “Realist Views of International Law”. It relies on twin assumptions of liberal moral and political theory: that the primary purpose of governments is to protect human rights, and that victims of grievous injustice are entitled to outside help. Schmitt, Carl. Schmitt denounced the alleged depoliticisation of liberalism, which pretends that morality is not a debatable issue and proclaims supposedly superior universal values applicable at all times and everywhere. “The Effects of Rights on Political Culture”. Donnelly, Jack. The Concept of the Political. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Although some of these scholars occasionally wrote with others and were important providers of various collective goods, they generally worked alone. 1948. Oxford: Oxford University Press. I contend, first, that realism creates the space for a political critique of international law, which helps us understand the political reasons why certain claims get framed in the language of human rights law. Carl Schmitt himself defended this idea in The Nomos of the Earth (2006), where he contended that, at least since the 16th century, international law has derived from the progressive expansion of a Eurocentric notion of nomos, order, from the freedom of the seas, to the international law of armed conflict and the notion of state sovereignty and non-intervention. For some, Kosovo would be one case only. “Why Is American So Bad at Promoting Democracy in Other Countries?”. The liberal perspective also offers the idea of cooperation among negotiating states that oppose the realist view that cooperation has an underlining meaning behind it. Other goals can be pursued as long as order is not put at risk. Several instances which can be classified as realist act in response to the liberalist argument includes the beliefs that human being are naturally fixed, deeply flawed, and crucially selfish. Not that far from classical realism, in the English School terminology, IHRL can be seen as the product of a political tension between a certain idea of international order, defended by some states, and a certain view of global justice, advocated by independent UN experts, scholars and NGOs. Each of the liberal theorists, like the realists, makes some assumption about the interstate system, human nature and domestic society. The first section introduces the conventional view according to which realism, with its focus on the state, material power and international anarchy, would dismiss the idea that human rights could matter at all in global politics. Both government officials and human rights advocates would use the same terminology of IHRL (the same standards, the same provisions of the same treaties, etc. Realism reminds us that the legal and the political spheres do not match inside out. Schmitt, Carl. Campaigns may lose out if they depend too much on international treaties drafted and negotiated by powerful elites, court rulings concerning individuals and perhaps even isolated cases, and well-intentioned reports by unaccountable UN experts published in Geneva or New York. Realism is best read as a cautionary ethic of political prudence rooted in a narrow yet insightful vision of international politics. Lettinga, Doutje, and van Troost, Lars (eds.). Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property (Guzzini, 1998), and according to the social contract, governments must not violate these rights. The Difference Between Realists and Liberals on the other. 2002. Just as liberal institutionalism developed to challenge the dominance of realism in IR from the 1950s onwards, so legal positivism was challenged by the emerging legal process school from the 1940s onwards. Yet, he did not dismiss ideals and morality entirely. Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen. New York: Telos Press. 1985. This means that governments should feel legitimised to send their troops to countries where serious human rights abuses are taking place, even without a clear mandate from the Security Council. Twelve essays. Regardless of their personal beliefs and preferences, as academics, realists would only care about the human rights situation in other countries if that situation may result in regional instability or a shift in the balance of power. States may also set up independent human rights mechanisms (courts, criminal tribunals, committees, individual experts, etc. ABSTRACT The pandemic declared by the World Health Organization in March due to COVID-19 highlights the deepening differences between two opposed visions in the realm of international affairs. ), but they would mean different things in the above-mentioned dialectics for hegemonic contestation between utopia and apology of state action (Koskenniemi 2004 and 2005). In the wake of the Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’: liberal theory’s triumph over its soviet/communist other, and the subsequent march of ‘globalisation’ and the ascendancy of neo-liberal ideology, this article interrogates the theoretical developments Can human rights bring social justice? Oxford: Oxford University Press, 150–62. Oxon: Routledge. United Nations General Assembly. Koskenniemi chooses the word ‘hegemony’ in its Gramscian sense to refer to the predominance that requires force as much as consent and is the result of an ideological battle to set a moral direction. 2004. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/07/magazine/why-are-we-in-iraq-and-liberia-and-afghanistan.html, http://nationalinterest.org/article/america-unhinged-9639, http://foreignpolicy.com/2009/11/03/an-unnecessary-war-2/, http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/04/25/why-is-america-so-bad-at-promoting-democracy-in-other-countries/, An Overview of the English School’s Engagement with Human Rights, Tracing the Threads: Queer IR and Human Rights, Opinion – Impacts and Restrictions to Human Rights During COVID-19, The Practice of Realism in International Relations, Exposing the Universality of Human Rights as a False Premise, Reassessing the European Convention on Human Rights in the Context of Brexit, ‘The rights we live in: protecting the right to housing in Spain’. The next paragraphs will give examples in three areas where human rights analysis and advocacy could benefit from some realist thinking. Realists see states as functionally equal. 2015. The second section provides an alternative perspective. If one defends human rights the liberal perspective today, one is defending a status quo situation of specific types of institutions and more or less defending the highjacking of the theory in the interest of modern power relations. You know: kind of the way realists think about international politics. Landman, Todd. There is no single definition of R2P, but the bottom line is that humanity as a whole has a shared responsibility to protect civilians, militarily if need be, in case of serious human rights violations, like genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Halliday, Fred. For him, international law in general, and IHRL in particular, is a double-edged sword that serves two opposite purposes at once, ‘from Apology to Utopia’, as the title of his book goes. States may negotiate, draft and ratify international human rights treaties inasmuch as they do not breach the fundamental tenets of international order, among them the principle of national sovereignty. But if we’re honest, we have to admit that almost all social science theories aren’t especially powerful and that the available evidence for assessing them is often ambiguous or mixed. Th e third section follows organically from the nar-rative about the human rights story in international relations. Lastly, I’m not arguing that scholars who work in the liberal tradition are less ambitious, less driven, or less competitive than their realist counterparts. By combining conceptual analysis with an emphasis on procedures and mechanisms of implementation, this volume provides a multidimensional overview of human rights. If however, humans are essentially social individuals, individuals will gain fulfilment through society. When drawing their strategic priorities, social justice advocates may prefer to stand behind a radically leftist candidate than to spend their resources on policy papers about the legal meaning of Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. H. Carr wrote his Twenty Years’ Crisis (2001) to warn about what he saw as an excess of wishful thinking among the idealists of the inter-war period. 1965. On the one hand, international law is based on states’ will and has the virtue of concreteness, but when it is too closely related to actual state practice, and fails to create new obligations for states, it becomes ‘apologetic’ of existing power, providing an excuse or a justification for it. Mearsheimer, John. 2001. The underlying idea, Schmitt taught us, is that society’s enemies should not enjoy the rights and benefits society bestowed upon itself. 4; Posner 2014). human rights has been set up, its implementation and enforcement is far from being effective. “The Ethics of Realism”. Liberalism in a Realist World / 207 International Studies 46, 1&2 (2009): 203–19 The first ‘great debate’ was triggered by the World War I and its aftermath. E-IR is an independent non-profit publisher run by an all volunteer team. 2005. Truth be told, I am excited of the seminar considering that this is about learning human rights from a liberal perspective. Liberalism also brings the idea of democratic peace. 2009. London: Palgrave MacMillan. 2016. Classical liberals believe that the list of genuine human rights is quite short. Considering the persistent instability in the country and in the region, President Obama would later regret the American decision in relation to Libya (Goldberg 2016), which pushed him not to intervene against President al-Assad in Syria, even though credible reports confirmed that he had used chemical weapons against defenceless civilians. The Limits of International Law. Millennium – Journal of International Studies 21(3): 435–61. Edmund is a graduate of The City University of New York: City College has a keen interest in foreign policy and international relations, and is well-versed in research, & data analysis. Paraphrasing Cox, ‘to change the world, we have to begin with an understanding of the world as it is, which means the structures of reality that surround us’ (1986, 242). “Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory”. In short, realists appear to view the academic enterprise as a “self-help” system, where each scholar toils on his or her own and where scholarly standing is mostly the result of individual achievement. Krasner, Stephen. The lessons from Iraq and Libya do however suggest a change in course. Cox, Robert. Bull, Hedley. To put it another way, for realists the state has a unitary character, politics and ethics belong to different realms, and whether an act is right or wrong depends on the result of the act itself. Scholars who emphasize interdependence and institutions in their publications also seem to be more likely to work in interdependent ways, while those who tend to emphasize anarchy, insecurity, and competition approach their own scholarly work in more zero-sum terms, wary of entangling alliances. Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. “Why Are We In Iraq? In fact, the liberal institutionalists focus on human nature, while the commercial pacifists emphasize domestic society, and last but not least the liberal internationalists concentrate on the interstate system. Realism is not well placed to explain the international human rights regime, and at least in their role of interpreters of global politics, realists will not become human rights activists unless they stop being realist first. I also believe realists have a hard time explaining why states agree to the creation of independent human rights bodies they have no control over, as weak as these bodies are. At the very least, Schmitt should be read by human rights defenders to get a grip of the discourse that rapidly spread throughout Western countries after September 2001. This is what Stammers (2009) refers to as the ‘paradox of institutionalisation’, or what Koskenniemi calls the ‘colonisation of political culture by a technocratic language’ (1999, 99). Donations are voluntary and not required to download the e-book - your link to download is below. For example, Morgenthau (1965) was an ardent critic of American intervention in Vietnam, which he saw as ‘delusional’ because both the US and the Soviet Union had comparable strategic interests in South East Asia. Koskenniemi, Martti. By contrast, many of the most prominent liberal scholars have been enthusiastic collaborators. Foreign Policy, April (http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/04/25/why-is-america-so-bad-at-promoting-democracy-in-other-countries/, accessed 31/05/2017). For some R2P-promoters, this global responsibility would outplay other legal obligations, including the procedural requirements of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which regulates when and how the UN Security Council can decide on the deployment of armed forces to restore international peace and security. Ignatieff, Michael. Realism allows for a nuanced view of international law as the product of a pluralist international society. ... its Human Rights Council—or even the United Nations itself. the Divine Rights of a King. 1990. One can indeed see international law as part of a certain idea of order in international society. From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument. Introduction: when thinking about how the world works IR scholars usually subscribe to one of two dominant theories, realism or liberalism. While both sets of rights are recognised in international law, the fulfilment of ESCR is meant to be achieved ‘progressively’ depending on ‘available resources’, in the language of Article 2(1) of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Koskenniemi, Martti. 2008. Morgenthau, Hans. “America Unhinged”. This paper is not denying that realists are sceptical of normative values in global politics. Each has done important solo work, but their CVs are also full of joint publications and collaborative projects. In particular, is it possible that theoretical affinities reflect at least in part each individual’s basic personality traits or worldview? Agamben, Giorgio. When it comes to professional standing, status, career advancement, etc., everyone seems to be sensitive to relative gains. From the United States, both John Mearsheimer (2014) and Stephen Walt (2016) have sustained that abuses committed by American forces abroad pose a serious risk to national security, and that the best strategy to promote democracy and human rights abroad is to do a better job at protecting them at home. Mahanty, Daniel. No such strings are attached to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted the very same day. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The proclamation of human rights lacks analytical or explanatory value to account for state action. This paper has advocated a measured change for human rights defenders and academics to open up to what realism has to offer. This view is very much spread within and beyond realism. The Atlantic 317(3): 70–90. As noted by Donnelly (2008, 157, 159), who is not a realist. Raymond Quiocho Salas, J.D. Our beliefs about how the world works are also shaped by our life experiences, by whom we happened to meet in college or graduate school, by important real-world events, and even by purely instrumental incentives such as the availability of research funding. In general, realists are strongly sceptical about international law (Morgenthau 1940; Krasner 2002), and about the international proclamation of one ‘moral code’ over potentially conflicting others (Morgenthau 1948). Their ideological power lies in their ambiguity, not in their adherence to liberal values of individual freedom. 138-9). One might add George Kennan or Henry Kissinger to that list, as both are normally thought of as “realists” and virtually all their published work appears with a single byline. Finally, realism can also allow us to theorise about a certain idea of order guided by international rules defined by states themselves. Human rights analysts could use some realism to unravel the politics behind the different form of institutionalisation of ESCR and CPR in international law, but also to reconsider the pitfalls of IHRL-based advocacy for social justice. Freeman, Michael. With the Rwandan genocide of 1994 still in mind, a number of observers felt compelled to justify NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999, despite the Security Council’s failure to authorise it due to the Russian veto. After they mastered their territories, rulers wanted to master crafts, too. Second, Realism holds that states pursue their interests defined in terms of power as opposed to things like human rights. Goldsmith, Jack, and Posner, Eric. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. To think otherwise is to make a mistake and it such a mistake that the realist accused the liberalist of making (Baylis et al., 2008: p … This paper, however, has shown three ways in which human rights could do better with a pinch of realism. 1993. All content on the website is published under the following Creative Commons License, Copyright © — E-International Relations. This chapter appraises Realism from a human rights perspective. “Realists, Too, Can Stand for Human Rights”. International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. I. Consider that the most prominent realist scholars are all intellectual loners, in the sense that the overwhelming majority of their scholarship is sole-authored. on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR: right to housing, right to health, right to education, etc.) Taking functional equality as a given, realists are particularly interested in the balance of power. 1992. 2001. The spy agencies will still get money, but Trump’s House allies are trying to hobble much-needed reforms. Since the 1990s, liberal interventionism has taken hold within a big part of the global human rights community. For two decades, part of the human rights community has relied excessively on the military. Feminism has provided some new perspectives to the discourse on human rights over the years. This was basically the idea put forward by Hedley Bull and the first generation of the English School of the 1960s and 70s, which Fred Halliday (1992, 438) liked to call ‘English Realism’. For legal realists, the proclamation of human rights in international law has very little connection with the actual improvement of human rights around the world, which has more to do with more interdependent trade relations and with the end of the Cold War. Rosenberg, Justin. 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