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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 20, 2004

War and Terrorism

Sharon Anderson-Gold
Pages 155-164

Terrorism and the Politics of Human Rights

Humanitarian interventions defined as “peace-keeping” missions are becoming an increasingly common occurrence. This paper will consider the relationship between the idea of human rights and the concept of legitimate intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. I will argue that implicit within the concept of human rights are standards of political legitimacy which render all claims to sovereignty “conditional” upon adherence to these standards. After analyzing how both critics and supporters have viewed human rights interventions, I will consider how the “war on terrorism” may contribute to a further extension of the concept of legitimate intervention. I will conclude with reflections on the implications of these interventions for cosmopolitan democracy and the conditions under which it can be realized.

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