The purpose of this book is to examine the effect of US human rights conduct in the war on terror through an analysis of the legitimation claims of the Bush administration and other members of international society with respect to three norms: torture, rendition for the purposes of torture, and habeas corpus. The central research question asks whether the United States was successful in legitimating its preferences regarding these three human rights norms within international society. This is an important question because it is generally acknowledged that the United States played a pivotal role in the creation and sustenance of the post-1945 international human rights system. Additionally, the United States is the materially preponderant state within international society, and, as such, it is able to withstand the costs of illegitimate conduct to a greater degree than states with fewer resources to draw upon. Additionally, this material preponderance might help it to initiate a norm cascade to match its preferences. Some realist theorists of international politics have argued that the success of the international human rights system is only due to the presence of a superpower that believed the system was in its own interest. Absent this interest, the system will be in crisis. This is particularly the case given that the international human rights system, unlike economic agreements for instance, has very few costs associated with defection outside of the negative reactions of other states.
KeywordsUnited States International Society Bush Administration Geneva Convention Legitimation Discourse
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Ian Clark, Legitimacy in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 3.Google Scholar
- 3.Based on Hurd, “Legitimacy and Authority in International Politics,” International Organization 53, no. 2 (1999): 390–91.Google Scholar
- 4.Quentin Skinner, “Some Problems in the Analysis of Political Thought and Action,” In Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics, edited by James Tully (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988), 112.Google Scholar
- 5.Tim Dunne, “‘The Rules of the Game Are Changing’: Fundamental Human Rights in Crisis after 9/11,” International Politics 44, no. 2–3 (2007): 277, 284.Google Scholar
- 10.See Justin Morris, Nicholas J. Wheeler, Frazer Egerton, and Vincent Keating, The Rise and Fall of Norms in International Politics (Unpublished Manuscript, 2009), 5–6.Google Scholar
- 11.Ian Hurd, “Breaking and Making Norms: American Revisionism and Crises of Legitimacy,” International Politics 44, no. 2–3 (2007): 210.Google Scholar
- 14.G. John Ikenberry and Charles A. Kupchan, “The Legitimation of Hegemonic Power,” In World Leadership and Hegemony, edited by David P Rapkin (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1990), 57.Google Scholar
- 16.Lisa Hajjar, “From Nuremberg to Guantánamo: International Law and American Power Politics,” Middle East Report, no. 229 (2003): 13.Google Scholar
- 19.Travcy McVeigh, “US Tells Lies About Torture, Say MPs.” The Observer, July 20, 2008, 2.Google Scholar