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collectively from a long battle within the American establishment, in which the military has, for
the time being, gained the upper hand over civil servants and career politicians, with their
cosmopolitan project of liberal order and rules-based global governance, initiated after the
Second World War and expanded after the Cold War. If this victory is consolidated, it will bring
an end to the American messianism of the twentiethcentury, with its division of the world
between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, its globalising imperative to reorganise
the world through the
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian
But of all our contemporary illusions, the most dangerous … is the
idea that we live in a time without precedent .
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten TwentiethCentury
( Judt, 2008 )
If some humanitarian-organisation spokespeople are to be believed, the norms and
principles underpinning their action have been under attack since the end of the
44 – 62 , doi: 10.1080/14616742.2011.534661 .
( 2020 ), ‘ Humanitarian Masculinity,
Desire, Character and Heroics ’, in E.
Gendering Global Humanitarianism in the TwentiethCentury Practice
The modern global humanitarian system takes the form it does because it is underpinned by
liberal world order, the post-1945 successor to the imperial world of the nineteenth and early
twentiethcenturies and the global political and economic system the European empires created.
Humanitarian space, as we have come to know it in the late twentiethcentury, is liberal space,
even if many of those engaged in humanitarian action would rather not see themselves as liberals.
To the extent that there is something constitutively
, have also shed their former social-democratic responsibilities ( Boltanski and Chiapello, 2005 ). Jobs for life,
intergenerational career structures, apprenticeships, subsidised canteens, social clubs, sports
facilities and company pensions have disappeared. In the mid twentiethcentury, for the white
working class at least, welfarism together with a Fordist employment culture provided a high
degree of protection against market forces. Indeed, this was a defining political feature of the
West’s racial- and gender-inflected Cold War social
settings, direct observations of humanitarian responders, public health practitioners, human rights defenders, and policy and academic researchers complement other sources of information. This can notably fill gaps resulting from shortages of data and lack of evidence.
A case in point is violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) protecting humanitarian health workers. Article 14 under the Geneva Convention guaranteed the protection of healthcare workers, transport, and facilities, and those injured during war. Since the start of the twentiethcentury the