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Cosmopolitan DystopiaInternational Intervention and the Failure of the West$
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Philip Cunliffe

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526105721

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526151452

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

What should we do? The politics of humanitarian exceptionalism

What should we do? The politics of humanitarian exceptionalism

(p.100) Chapter 3 What should we do? The politics of humanitarian exceptionalism
Cosmopolitan Dystopia

Philip Cunliffe

Manchester University Press

This chapter uses a conceptual framework developed by Jef Huysmans to show how political exceptionalism transforms the character of liberal internationalism, with the result that humanitarian emergency is seen as a permanent condition of international order, necessitating the institutionalised and recurrent use of global military force. As a result, international institutions have been restructured around destructive anti-diplomacy and a new form of law as embodied in human rights doctrine. The chapter begins by justifying the application of exceptionalism to international politics, despite the fact that it is more commonly used in relation to domestic politics. In this framework of international exceptionalism, military force to rescue imperilled humanity is taken to represent a higher vision of solidarity, superior to a world of state-based interests, institutions and egotistical national politics. This explains specific characteristics of the global humanitarian order, in which political pluralism is suppressed in favour of a cosmopolitan monism, and the superpower claims limitless and universal jurisdiction.

Keywords:   exceptionalism, humanitarianism, genocide, emergency, R2P

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