The Responsibility to Protect, Imperialism and Military Intervention in Libya

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


This chapter contends that R2P has reduced the likelihood of human protection being used as a cover for the pursuit of imperialist and, more specifically, self-motivated inclinations germane to powerful states. It argues that R2P reflects a budding international legal principle endorsed and re-affirmed by a number of non-Western states that transcends and ‘dethrones’ the lexicon of humanitarian intervention. Moreover, the practice of R2P has similarly lessened the prospect of human protection concerns being used as a cover for the pursuit of state-defined interests, with Operation Unified Protector in Libya representing a genuine application of R2P’s principles and motivated by primarily humanitarian concerns. Subsequently, the doctrine has provided a framework through which the failure of cosmopolitan human protection in practice to weaken the prospect of intervention being used as a cover for the pursuit of objectives apposite to powerful states can begin to be addressed. In the process, R2P has helped to reinforce the sense of enthusiasm that already surrounds 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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