The contestation of nonintervention : international order and emergence of the responsibility to protect (R2P)
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This thesis examines how the norm of nonintervention has interacted with the norm of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to construct a new normative architecture of international order. Nonintervention has long served as a deeply embedded norm in the international normative architecture. However, conflicting interpretations of how to respond in cases of egregious intra-state human rights abuses have fuelled contestation surrounding the potential for international protection measures including the projection of force. Drawing from international relations theory, I embrace a social constructivist approach with insights from the English School to explore the nature of normative structures and their role in undergirding international society. While foreign policy decisions reflect a spectrum of normative and non-normative considerations, norms serve as resources that guide and shape the behaviour of actors. Outlining the emergence of R2P and its invocation through empirical cases of mass atrocities in Sri Lanka (2009), Libya (2011), and Syria (2011-2015), this thesis traces the contestation of nonintervention through cases of intra-state humanitarian crises. I conclude that nonintervention has recurrently challenged R2P as a means of securing international order and the rights of independent political communities, with its persistent salience serving as a barrier to intervention and more expansive interpretations of R2P.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy