Expanding the circle of protection: the evolution of use of force norms within the UN Security Council
Marlier, Grant Alexander
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During the past decade, a significant change in use of force norms took place within the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The United Nations (UN) is founded on a collective security agreement, which gives the UNSC the power to authorize the use of force to protect UN member-states. The UN Charter explicitly provides the UNSC with a mandate to keep peace between states, not within them. In 2006, however, the UNSC unanimously adopted the "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) doctrine, which expanded what I call the UNSC's circle of protection to include "human protection." Further, in exceptional circumstances, R2P gives the UNSC the power to authorize the use of force in a country without the consent of its government. Many UNSC members initially resisted institutionalizing R2P, especially those with contested territory and a history of foreign intervention, such as China. This dissertation attempts to explain how and why this change in use of force norms developed. I argue this macro-level change was principally due to two often overlooked factors: an epistemic community pushing the Council to become more empathetic and altruistic, and Council members wanting to gain social status. In order to adequately explain the development of R2P you must explain the significant role the epistemic community played. And to adequately explain the significance of the epistemic community you must explain the significant role empathy played. Further, to sufficiently explain the UNSC's decision to adopt R2P you must explain the significance of China's acceptance. And to sufficiently explain China's acceptance you must explain the significant role status-seeking played. Explanations for the adoption of R2P that do not acknowledge the significant role of empathy and social influence are incomplete and insufficient. Although others have argued emotion and social influence are important causal variables in international relations, few offer specific mechanisms or micro-processes demonstrating how these factors work. This dissertation attempts to fill this gap. The implications are that empathy and status-seeking matter far more to international relations than many suggest.