The Responsibility to Protect and Habermas’ Theory of Constitutionalisation with a ‘Cosmopolitan Purpose’

  • Samuel James Wyatt
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


This chapter assesses R2P’s legal cogency within the framework of Habermas’ constitutional cosmopolitan approach. It argues that the doctrine is part of the establishment of a ‘new’ hierarchy of law; establishes a clear jurisdictional relationship between the authority of the international community and the authority of sovereigns; and is a novel construct that uses pre-existing legal principles as ‘building blocks’ for a new international order. Furthermore, the chapter articulates that progress under R2P has been evidenced in practice, with the doctrine occupying a space at the high end of the norm cascade spectrum. Consequently, through its locus as a novel and nascent international legal principle, R2P has strengthened the claim that the UN embodies the foundations of a weak yet emerging global constitutional order resembling something analogous to a legally constituted political community of states and citizens, tacitly extending Habermas’ constitutional cosmopolitan approach. At the same time, R2P has come to provide a platform for the constitutionalisation and grounding of cosmopolitan ethical norms, engendering a sense of optimism surrounding the evolution towards a more cosmopolitan approach to human protection in the post-Cold War period.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel James Wyatt
    • 1
  1. 1.SheffieldUK

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