Human Rights and the Foreign Policy of Great Powers
Publication Year: 2008
Many foreign policy analysts assume that elite policymakers in liberal democracies consistently ignore humanitarian norms when these norms interfere with commercial and strategic interests. Today's endorsement by Western governments of repressive regimes in countries from Kazakhstan to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the name of fighting terror only reinforces this opinion. In Just Politics, C. William Walldorf Jr. challenges this conventional wisdom, arguing that human rights concerns have often led democratic great powers to sever vital strategic partnerships even when it has not been in their interest to do so.
Walldorf sets out his case in detailed studies of British alliance relationships with the Ottoman Empire and Portugal in the nineteenth century and of U.S. partnerships with numerous countries-ranging from South Africa, Turkey, Greece and El Salvador to Nicaragua, Chile, and Argentina-during the Cold War. He finds that illiberal behavior by partner states, varying degrees of pressure by nonstate actors, and legislative activism account for the decisions by democracies to terminate strategic partnerships for human rights reasons.
To demonstrate the central influence of humanitarian considerations and domestic politics in the most vital of strategic moments of great-power foreign policy, Walldorf argues that Western governments can and must integrate human rights into their foreign policies. Failure to take humanitarian concerns into account, he contends, will only damage their long-term strategic objectives.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Writing a book does a lot to one’s own humanity. In my case, I havebeen personally stretched and challenged through the comments and en-couragement of many colleagues, family members, and friends along theway. Most of the contributions that led to this book, I owe to them. AnyI am especially indebted to those at the University of Virginia who en-...
IntroductionHuman Rights and Foreign Policy
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The conventional wisdom in international relations is that human rightsmatter little, if at all, in the foreign policy of great powers, especially whenthat policy involves strategic endeavors like the war on terror. U.S. behaviorsince 9/11 seems to reflect this belief. In addition to its own abuses at AbuGhraib and Guantanamo Bay, Washington appears to be overtly endorsing...
Humanitarianism andCommitment Termination
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Democratic states sometimes terminate commitments to strategic part-ners. Why does this occur? In my effort to answer this question, I specificallydraw on three approaches to international politics: realism, institutional-ism, and humanitarian norms—this being a hybrid liberal-constructivistframework. Each approach presents unique explanations of commitment...
Suffering Christians inBritish-Ottoman Relations
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Throughout most of the nineteenth century, Russia stood as a leadingstrategic challenger to Great Britain’s foreign policy goals. For Britain, thiscompetition revolved around India, the center of its global empire. In thiscontext, the Balkans and the broader issue of the integrity of the OttomanEmpire took on special meaning for London. The vast territory controlled...
Torture and Summary Execution inU.S.–Latin American Relations
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Guided by the goal of avoiding “another Cuba,” the foreign policy ex-perts in the United States moved Latin America to the top of the list inCold War planning after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution. Security assis-tance (military grants, sales, and training) became the primary tool inWashington’s arsenal for achieving this end.1 This chapter grants primary...
Apartheid in U.S.–South African Relations
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Cold War perceptions dominated patterns of U.S. engagement in post-war southern Africa. Not surprisingly, U.S. pledges of trade privileges,economic aid, and export promotion assistance to countries in the regioncame with expectations. These included the responsibility to use assis-tance for agreed-upon development goals and projects as well as more...
Human Rights and Vital Security
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This chapter focuses on humanitarian norms in cases where partnersare believed to be especially vital, contrasting decisions by the UnitedStates to terminate aid to Turkey, Guatemala, and El Salvador with Wash-ington’s preservation of military assistance to South Korea, the Philip-pines, and Greece. Many of these latter cases are mentioned by critics...
The Implications of EnforcedHumanitarian Norms
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Most international relations scholars assume that human rights mattervery little in the foreign policy of great powers. This book demonstratesthat such assessments are too pessimistic. The prominence of humanitar-ian concerns in the strategic commitments of Great Britain and the UnitedStates, two of the greatest powers in history, serves as the main body of...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs