Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2014
Current human rights discourse and practice has a choice, a fork in the road, as Kofi Annan put it with regard to the UN: it can either insinuate itself with hegemonic international law or it can serve as an important tool in developing and strengthening a counter-hegemonic international law. By ignoring the history of resistance to imperialism, by endorsing wars while opposing their consequences, and by failing to link itself with social movements of resistance to hegemony, the main protagonists of the Western human rights discourse are undermining the future of human rights itself(Rajagopal 2008, 71).
The world is perilously close to resembling medieval Europe, a time and place when every distinct interest group employed its own private army. As the ability of individual developing countries to govern effectively diminishes, as the market in the industrialized countries for narcotics grows increasingly, as the interests of weapons manufacturers to find new outlets is spurred by East-West detente, as the likelihood for economic equity diminishes, the political stability of the developing countries appears in many instances to be disturbingly remote. That instability, inexorably, affects the stability, the welfare, and the interests of the industrialized countries as, directly and indirectly, the violence and the terrorism spill across boundaries. The usual Northern response of still more weaponry is as immoral as it is bankrupt of results(Head 1991, 174).