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International intervention and the failure of the West

Liberal cosmopolitanism promised a humane and progressive vision of global reform and improvement, in contrast to the terrible utopian projects of the twentieth century. Yet the efforts to globalise human rights and democracy through force have subverted the liberal international order and produced a new type of cosmopolitan dystopia, in the form of permanent war, jihadist insurrection and a new paternalism embodied in transnational protectorates and the paradigm of ‘sovereignty as responsibility’. Cosmopolitan Dystopia explains how this came about through the rise of humanitarian exceptionalism. The book argues that humanitarian exceptionalism saw humanitarian emergencies as opportunities to develop deeper forms of human solidarity that went beyond nation states, thereby necessitating military responses to each new crisis. This in turn helped to normalise permanent war. As the norm and exception have collapsed into each other, the rules-based order envisioned in traditional liberal internationalism has corroded away. Efforts to embed humanitarian exceptionalism into the international order have undermined the classical liberal ideal of self-determination, with the spread of protectorates and a new paternalist legitimisation of state power in the ‘sovereignty as responsibility’ paradigm.

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The rise of cosmopolitan dystopia

Introduction: the rise of cosmopolitan dystopia While I was putting the finishing touches to the manuscript in early 2019, I was in touch via WhatsApp with a journalist who was in Syria, reporting from the front line in the final offensive by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Baghouz enclave, the last redoubt of Islamic State (IS), near the Syrian border with Iraq. The question of what to do about Western citizens who had joined IS and were now languishing in Kurdish-run refugee camps was also very much in the news: the front cover of

in Cosmopolitan dystopia
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The politics of humanitarian exceptionalism

peacekeepers be deployed? The compulsive resort to force followed by recurrent amnesia about its consequences repeats across countries, governments and parties of both left and right – and it has lasted for thirty years, protracted under governments whose democratic pledges have included criticism of interventionism – notably the Obama and Trump administrations. Such pathological behaviour cannot be explained merely by the strategic ineptitude or crusading zeal of 100 Cosmopolitan Dystopia.indb 100 06/01/2020 16:21:42 The politics of humanitarian exceptionalism particular

in Cosmopolitan dystopia

fate of a small new nation of two million in the Balkans became entwined with the terri­ torial integrity of a country some distance to the east, of forty-five million? How did ethnic conflict in the Balkans become inter­ dependent with ethnic conflict in the Caucasus? That the fates of these disparate peoples and states have been tied together reflects their origins in competing military interventions East and West, with the result that they have together ushered in an new era of 146 Cosmopolitan Dystopia.indb 146 06/01/2020 16:21:43 Failed states, failed empires

in Cosmopolitan dystopia

‘revisionist powers’ and claims that China threatens the sovereignty of states in the Indo-Pacific region.2 Russia in particular has been singled out for its military expansionism and interference, from supporting the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to supporting secessionist rebels in eastern Ukraine, reaching back to its intervention in Georgia in 2008, 24 Cosmopolitan Dystopia.indb 24 06/01/2020 16:21:39 Inverted revisionism and it was denounced long before Trump took the White House. Richard Haass, president of the US Council on Foreign Relations, insisted that

in Cosmopolitan dystopia
The new critics of intervention

on Syria by stressing that they were not intended as an intervention in the civil war, but were purely for the purposes of humanitarian protection – to prevent chemical weapons attacks on civilians.4 US president Donald Trump bombed Syria, then withdrew US forces, then made to seize Syrian oil fields.5 If the champions and executors of liberal intervention are so chastened and restrained, is it even possible to muster opposition and critique? Regime change 63 Cosmopolitan Dystopia.indb 63 06/01/2020 16:21:40 Cosmopolitan dystopia is derided as a policy goal by

in Cosmopolitan dystopia
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Waiting for the Americans

the Americans ‘were bound to find a way’. The protagonist of Wyndham’s novel is fascinated by ‘this Micawber fixation on American fairy godmothers’ and its imperviousness to reason in the face of cataclysm. Wyndham’s protagonist is particularly fascinated by one of these survivors, an upper-class young woman, ‘quite the least troubled person I had encountered since the catastrophe took place’. Her apathy reflects not only her social background, with ‘no real surprise 176 Cosmopolitan Dystopia.indb 176 06/01/2020 16:21:44 Conclusion: waiting for the Americans over

in Cosmopolitan dystopia

). I also do not subscribe to Marquand’s new constitutional doctrine that national self-determination is justifiable only if it is also an instrument for something worthier. Even so I shall outline an argument that Marquand’s disdain for the English is unwarranted insofar as they are generating a cosmopolitan England of growing prominence and rich potential. England is notably

in These Englands
Simone de Beauvoir and a Global Theory of Feminist Recognition

3 Ambiguity, Existence, Cosmopolitanism: Simone de Beauvoir and a Global Theory of Feminist Recognition Monica Mookherjee Introduction Given the diverse violations of human rights affecting women throughout the world, and the likelihood that such violations misrecognize their moral worth, a

in Recognition and Global Politics

way in which the British elite freely mixed elements from a variety of cultures in their houses in order to demonstrate their cosmopolitan tastes. 3 This process of cultural interchange was not generic, for it related to Britain’s imperial interactions with the world in this era. An inventory of Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk from 1771, for example, lists ‘14 Mahogany chairs’, ‘a very fine India Screen

in Country houses and the British Empire, 1700–1930