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On non-Western norm shapers: Brazil and the Responsibility while Protecting

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2016

Cristina G. Stefan*
Affiliation:
School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds
*
*Correspondence to: Cristina G. Stefan (formerly Badescu), University of Leeds, School of Politics and International Studies, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS29JT, UK. Author’s email: c.stefan@leeds.ac.uk

Abstract

Drawing on a notable example of a non-Western normative initiative, Brazil’s ‘Responsibility while Protecting’ (RwP), this article contributes to broadening the scope of the norm dynamics literature beyond its common Western-centric focus. Post-2011 Libya intervention, Brazil proposed RwP to clarify what ‘using force’ means under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) banner, but then withdrew from visible norm sponsorship, only to return to this as part of a collective exercise to institutionalise R2P at the United Nations. First, the article highlights the significant role of non-Western agents whose contributions usually go overlooked, yet carry the highest potential to address the legitimacy deficit of norms like R2P. Second, the article proposes adding a new conceptual tool when investigating the role of agency in norm dynamics, one that incorporates a wider range of norm ‘shaping’ processes and highlights enabling, contingent circumstances. The latter, is argued, best captures the anomalies in contemporary norm contestation. This is illustrated through an empirical analysis of the conditions under which Brazil was able to advance RwP, despite the subsequent emergence of unfavourable circumstances. This article emphasises how significant an alignment of enabling circumstances is to non-Western agents in terms of shaping norm contestation and normative exercise completion.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© British International Studies Association 2016 

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References

1 UN Doc. A/63/677, Ban Ki-moon, ‘Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Report of the UN Secretary-General’ (12 January 2009).

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10 These interviews, from June–July 2014 and June–August 2016, covered various aspects related to Brazil’s initiatives and diplomatic efforts at the UN, and included eight Permanent Missions: the UK, US, Netherlands, Australia, Slovenia, India, The European Union Delegation to the UN, as well as several Brazilian diplomats at different ranks, from the Brazilian Mission to the UN.

11 Several IR scholars discuss the discipline’s Western-centrism, for example Acharya, Amitav, ‘Dialogue and discovery’; Arlene Tickner and Ole Wæver (eds), International Relations Scholarship Around the World (Oxon: Routledge, 2009)Google Scholar; Bilgin, Pinar, ‘The ‘Western-centrism’ of security studies: ‘Blind Spot’ or constitutive practice?, Security Dialogue, 41:6 (2010), pp. 615622 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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32 Jeffrey Checkel was one of the first to differentiate between ‘norm makers’ and ‘norm takers’, see Checkel, J., ‘Norms, institutions, and national identity in contemporary Europe’, International Studies Quarterly, 43:1 (1999), pp. 84114 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 Acharya, ‘How ideas spread: Whose norms matter?’; Acharya, ‘Norm subsidiarity and regional orders’; Acharya, ‘The R2P and norm diffusion’.

34 Zwingel, ‘How do norms travel?’.

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36 Stuenkel, Oliver, ‘The BRICS and the future of R2P: Was Syria or Libya the exception?’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 6:1 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kenkel, Kai and Stefan, Cristina, ‘Brazil and the Responsibility while Protecting initiative: Norms and the timing of diplomatic support’, Global Governance, 22:1 (2016), pp. 4158 Google Scholar; Stuenkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’.

37 Patrick, Stewart, ‘Libya and the future of humanitarian intervention: How Gaddafi’s fall vindicated Obama and RtoP’, Foreign Affairs (26 August 2011)Google Scholar; Christensen, Steen, ‘Brazil’s foreign policy priorities’, Third World Quarterly, 34:2 (2013), pp. 271286 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

38 Hehir, Aidan, The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), pp. 180206 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

39 Oliver Stuenkel, in particular, has written on this topic, see Stuenkel, Oliver, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur: the Responsibility while Protecting’, in Eduarda P. Hamann and Robert Muggah (eds), Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: New Directions for International Peace and Security? (Brasilia: Igarape Institute, 2013)Google Scholar; Stuenkel, ‘The BRICS and the future of R2P’; see also, McDougall, Derek, ‘Responsibility while Protecting: Brazil’s proposal for modifying Responsibility to Protect’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 6 (2014), pp. 6487 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Thakur, Ramesh, ‘R2P after Libya and Syria: Engaging emerging powers’, The Washington Quarterly, 36:2 (2013), pp. 6176 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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42 See Epstein, Charlotte, ‘Stop telling us how to behave: Socialisation and infantilization?’, International Studies Perspectives, 13:2 (2013), pp. 135145 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

43 See, for example, Acharya, Amitav and Buzan, Barry, Non-Western International Relations Theory: Perspectives on and Beyond Asia (London: Routledge, 2010)Google Scholar.

44 Mohamed Sahnoun, ‘Africa: Uphold Continent’s Contribution to Human Rights, urges Top Diplomat’ (21 July 2009), available at: {www.allAfrica.com}.

45 Badescu, Cristina, Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect: Security and Human Rights (Oxon: Routledge, 2011), pp. 122123 Google Scholar.

46 Badescu, Cristina and Bergholm, Linnea, ‘The African Union’, in David Black and Paul D. Williams (eds), The International Politics of Mass Atrocities: The Case of Darfur (London: Routledge, 2010), pp. 108110 Google Scholar.

47 This resolution welcomed the Secretary-General’s Report on R2P and promised to hold annual debates on R2P, around the subsequent Reports’ themes, see UN Doc. A/RES/63/308 (14 September 2009).

48 For more on this, see Rotmann, Philipp, Kurtz, Gerrit, and Brockmeier, Sarah, ‘Major powers and the contested evolution of a Responsibility to Protect’, Conflict, Security & Development, 14:4 (2014), pp. 355374 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Badescu, Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect, pp. 101–29.

49 Brockmeier, Sarah, Kurtz, Gerrit, and Junk, Julian, ‘Emerging norm and rhetorical tool: Europe and a Responsibility to Protect’, Conflict, Security and Development, 14 (2014), pp. 429460 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 See Badescu, Cristina and Bergholm, Linnea, ‘The Responsibility to Protect and the conflict in Darfur: the big let-down’, Security Dialogue, 40:3 (2009), pp. 287309 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

51 Badescu, Cristina, ‘Authorizing humanitarian intervention: Hard choices in saving strangers’, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 40:1 (2007), pp. 5178 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

52 UN Doc. S/RES/1894, ‘On Protection of Civilians (POC)’ (11 November 2009).

53 See, for example, Reinhold, Theresa, ‘The Responsibility to Protect – much ado about nothing?’, Review of International Studies, 36:Special Issue 1 (2010), pp. 5578 CrossRefGoogle Scholar (p. 65).

54 See McDougall, ‘Responsibility while Protecting’; Thakur, ‘R2P after Libya and Syria’.

55 See, for example, Thorsten Benner, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur: “Responsibility while Protecting” initiative’, GPPi Working Paper (Global Public Policy Institute, 2013); Stuenkel, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur’.

56 Stuenkel, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur’, p. 59.

57 While the norm maker, shaper, setter, and taker terminology is often used in the literature, the norm shaper category is rarely defined or discussed in detail. For some recent exceptions, see Sidhu, Waheguru Pal Singh, Mehta, Pratap Bhanu, and Jones, Bruce, ‘A hesitant norm shaper?’, in Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, and Bruce Jones (eds), Shaping the Emerging World: India and the Multilateral Order (Washington, DC: Brookings, 2013), pp. 321 Google Scholar; and Job, Brian and Shesterinina, Anastasia, ‘China as a global norm shaper’, in Alexander Betts and Phil Orchard (eds), Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 144159 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

58 Steunkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’, p. 392.

59 UN Doc. A/66/551–S/2011/701, Brazil, Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, ‘Responsibility while Protecting: Elements for the Development and Promotion of a Concept’ (11 November 2011).

60 Kenkel, Kai M., ‘Brazil and R2P: Does taking responsibility mean using force?’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 4:1 (2012), pp. 532 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, see also Kenkel and Stefan, ‘Brazil and the Responsibility while Protecting initiative’.

61 Stuenkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’.

62 Ibid., p. 385.

63 Kenkel, ‘Brazil and R2P: Does taking responsibility mean using force?’, p. 15.

64 Ibid., p. 5.

65 Interviews conducted in New York, with Brazilian diplomats, June 2014.

66 Patrick, Stewart, ‘Irresponsible stakeholders? The difficulty of integrating rising powers’, Foreign Affairs, 89:6 (2010), pp. 4453 Google Scholar.

67 Kuperman, Alan, ‘A model humanitarian intervention? Reassessing NATO’s Libya campaign’, International Security, 38:1 (2013), pp. 105136 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

68 Maria L. Viotti, ‘Informal Interactive Dialogue: The Role of Regional and Sub-regional Arrangements in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect’ (12 July 2011), available at: {http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/brazil-stmt.pdf}.

69 Brazil, ‘Statement at the Opening of the General Debate of the 66th Session of the UNGA’ (21 September 2011, available at: {http://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/66/BR_en_0.pdf}.

70 UN Doc. S/PV.6650, Brazil, ‘Statement at the Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’ (9 November 2011), pp. 15–17.

71 UN Doc. A/66/551–S/2011/701, Brazil, Permanent Mission the UN in New York, ‘Responsibility while Protecting: Elements for the Development and Promotion of a Concept’ (11 November 2011).

72 Ibid., points 11(a)–(i), which sum up the substance of the ‘Responsibility while Protecting’ proposal, emphasises: (a) the importance of preventive diplomacy; (b) the need ‘to exhaust all peaceful means available in the protection of civilians’; (c) the right authority, with the use of force authorized by the Security Council or by the General Assembly in exceptional circumstances; (d) that authorized military action ‘must abide by the letter and the spirit of the mandate conferred by the Security Council’; (e) the proportionality of means; (f) the judicious and proportionate use of force, which is ‘limited to the objectives established by the Security Council’; and (g) that guidelines ‘must be observed through the entire length …’. Point 11 also stresses the need for (h) ‘enhanced Security Council procedures … to monitor and assess the manner in which resolutions are monitored and interpreted’, and (i) the Council to ensure the accountability of those to whom authority is granted to resort to force’.

73 During a private lunch Ambassador Viotti hosted in New York in November 2011, about twenty Permanent Representatives from the Global South, Simon Adams, the Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and Ed Luck, the UN Special Adviser on R2P, rallied support behind RwP, which motivated Brazil to hold the follow-up meeting in February 2012.

74 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2014. See also Stuenkel and Tourinho, who call this ‘the apex of Brazil’s activism’, in ‘Regulating intervention’, p. 396.

75 Statement by the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, at the Opening of the General Debate of the 67th Session of the UNGA, New York (25 September 2012), available at: {https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/67/BR_en.pdf}.

76 Maria L. Viotti, Statement during ‘Informal Interactive Dialogue’ on R2P at the UNGA, New York (5 September 2012), available at: {http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/brazil-statement-2012.pdf}.

77 Statement by Brazil’s Minister of External Relations, Antonio Patriota, at the UNSC Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (12 February 2013), available at: {http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/Brazil%20english(1).pdf}.

78 Stuenkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’, p. 393.

79 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2016.

80 Interview with Western diplomat from one of the eight Permanent Missions part of the cross-regional group that worked on the draft UNGA resolution on R2P in 2015–16, New York, June 2016.

81 Betts and Orchard, ‘Introduction’, in Betts and Orchard (eds), Implementation and World Politics.

82 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2016.

83 My gratitude to Simon Adams, the Executive Director of the Global Centre for R2P, for this formulation.

84 Patriota, Antonio de A., ‘Forward’, in Kai Kenkel and Philip Cunliffe (eds), Brazil as a Rising Power: Intervention Norms and the Contestation of Global Order (Oxon: Routledge, 2016), p. xxGoogle Scholar.

85 Brazil, ‘Responsibility while Protecting’, points 11(h)–(i).

86 Operative Paragraph (OP) 13, in the text of the draft UNGA resolution dated 11 January 2016, links military mean to mandates that are ‘clear in their goals, their expected duration and procedures for monitoring implementation and reviewing progress’.

87 Interview with Western diplomat from a P5 Permanent Mission that opposed the idea of the UNGA resolution on R2P as expressed in the 11 January 2016 draft text (especially because of OP 12 and 13), August 2016.

88 This came up in interviews with two UN officials, New York, June 2014.

89 Launched in May 2013, the Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency (ACT) group comprises 27 small and mid-sized countries working to improve the working methods of the UN Security Council, and to increase its accountability. France has been at the forefront of this initiative, with François Hollande, the President of France, first asking the P5 to ‘collectively renounce their veto powers’ in cases of mass atrocity crimes in his address to the 68th Session of the UNGA, in September 2013. In his September 2015 address, Hollande announced France will lead the way in voluntarily giving up using its veto in mass atrocity situations.

90 See, for instance, Acharya, ‘The R2P and norm diffusion’, p. 466.

91 Interview with Western diplomat, part of the cross-regional group co-sponsoring the draft UNGA resolution on R2P, New York, June 2016.

92 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2016.

93 ‘OP 12 Emphasizes that the responsibility to protect … must be implemented responsibly’; and ‘OP 13 Emphasizes that, should Security Council conclude that military means are necessary … mandates must be clear in their goals, their expected duration and procedures for monitoring implementation and reviewing progress.’ Draft UNGA resolution on R2P, 11 January 2016, copy with author.

94 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2014.

95 McDougall, ‘Responsibility while Protecting’, pp. 78–81.

96 India, ‘Statement at the 2012 UNGA Informal Dialogue on R2P’, New York (5 September 2012), available at: {http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/India.pdf}.

97 Zongze Ruan, ‘Responsible Protection: Building a Safer World. China Institute of International Studies’ (2012), available at: {www.ciis.org.cn/english/2012-06/15/content_5090912.htm}.

98 R2P advocates invited to this event in Moscow, namely Simon Adams, the Executive Director of the Global Centre for R2P, and Jennifer Welsh, the UN Special Adviser on R2P, explained Brazil’s RwP added value in terms of raising ‘important questions about the methodology and motivations of civilian protection operations’, see ‘Remarks Delivered by Dr. Simon Adams at a Conference on “State Sovereignty and the Concept of Responsibility to Protect”: The Evolution of the International Situation and Russia’s Interests’, p. 2 (30 October 2013), available at: {http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/adams-r2p-speech-russia.pdf}.

99 Ralph, Jason and Gallagher, Adrian, ‘Legitimacy faultlines in international society: the Responsibility to Protect and prosecute after Libya’, Review of International Studies, 41:3 (2015), pp. 553573 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

100 Interview with UN diplomat, New York, June 2014.

101 UN Doc. A/66/874, Ban Ki-moon, ‘Report of the Secretary-General Responsibility to Protect a Timely and Decisive Response’ (25 July 2012). Section V is entitled ‘Responsibility while protecting’, pp. 13–15.

102 This specific quote came up in interviews with UN officials from the Joint Office for the Prevention of Genocide and R2P, and analysts from the Global Centre for R2P, New York, June 2014.

103 Interview with UN official, New York, June 2014.

104 Stuenkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’, p. 395.

105 See, for example, Crawford, Neta, Argument and Change in World Politics: Ethics, Decolonization, and Humanitarian Intervention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 88 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

106 Canada is one example of a Western state that has been instrumental in bringing forward the R2P agenda, especially in terms of sponsoring the ICISS in the first place and then promoting R2P around the critical 2005 UN endorsement moment. It subsequently withdrew from norm sponsorship, with the change in government, see Badescu, Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect, pp. 126–8.

107 See Finnemore and Sikkink, ‘International norm dynamics’, p. 896.

108 Acharya, ‘How ideas spread: Whose norms matter?’

109 Acharya, ‘Norm subsidiarity and regional orders’, p. 97.

110 Interview with Brazilian diplomats, New York, July 2014 and June 2016.

111 Job and Shesterinina discuss what they call ‘bottom-up-and-back’ processes seen in norm shaping exercises, in regard to China’s engagement with R2P, see Job and Shesterinina, ‘China as a global norm shaper’, pp. 155–9.

112 Pu Xiaoyu, ‘Socialisation as a two-way process’.

113 Acharya, ‘The R2P and norm diffusion’.

114 See Betts and Orchard (eds), Implementation and World Politics, especially ‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusions’.

115 This is in line with Betts and Orchard’s approach to implementation as ‘a political process of contestation’, see ‘Conclusions’, in ibid., p. 281.

116 Stuenkel, Oliver, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur: “Responsibility while protecting”’, in Brooke A. Smith-Windsor (ed.) Enduring NATO, Rising Brazil (Rome: NATO Defence College, 2015), p. 129 Google Scholar.

117 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2016.

118 Interview with diplomat from a Western Permanent Mission to the UN, New York, July 2016.

119 Patriota, ‘Forward’, in Kai Kenkel and Philip Cunliffe (eds), Brazil as a Rising Power, p. xx.

120 Christian Bueger and Frank Gadinger discuss such ‘points of contention’ around ‘change’, in C. Bueger and F. Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice: Minimalism, pragmatism and critical theory’, International Studies Quarterly, 59:3 (2015), p. 450.

121 Duvall, Raymond and Chowdbury, Arjun, ‘Practices of theory’, in Emmanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot (eds), International Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 335354 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

122 Adler, Emmanuel and Pouliot, Vincent, ‘International practices’, International Theory, 3:1 (2011), p. 6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

123 Jason Ralph and Jess Gifkins, ‘The purpose of United Nations Security Council practice: Contesting competence claims in the normative context created by the Responsibility to Protect’, European Journal of International Relations (OnlineFirst, 2016).

124 Ibid., p. 10.

125 Benner, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur’, p. 6.

126 McDougall, ‘Responsibility while Protecting’, p. 75.

127 Benner, ‘Brazil as a norm entrepreneur’, pp. 8–9.

128 Stuenkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’, p. 395.

129 Interview with analyst from the Global Centre for R2P, New York, June 2014.

130 See this argument on norm shapers in regard to India, Baru, Sanjaya, ‘Strategic consequences of India’s economic performance’, in Baldev Raj Nayar (ed.), Globalization and Politics in India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)Google Scholar.

131 Interview with diplomat from a Western Permanent Mission, New York, July 2016.

132 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, June 2016, who mentioned this in the context of Patriota’s personal interest in the topic.

133 As suggested in interviews with Brazilian diplomats and analysts from the Global Centre for the R2P, working closely with the Brazilian Mission at the time, New York, June 2014 and 2016.

134 Thanks to Simon Adams for clarifying this point to me on the personal dynamic between Patriota and Evans and the initial promotion of RwP as a joint effort between the two.

135 Barnett, Michael and Duvall, Raymond, ‘Power in international politics’, International Organization, 59 (2005), pp. 3975 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

136 Ibid., pp. 55–7.

137 Stuenkel and Tourinho, ‘Regulating intervention’, p. 393.

138 When opening the general debates in September 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively, Dilma Rousseff, then President of Brazil, strongly urged for expansion of the UN Security Council, ‘in its permanent and non-permanent categories … to make it more representative, legitimate and effective’, see statements by the president of Brazil at the 68th, 69th, and 70th Sessions of UNGA (24 September 2013, 24 September 2014, and, respectively, 28 September 2015). At the 71st session of the UNGA in September 2016, Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, also reiterated Brazil’s call for Security Council reform. However, RwP was never mentioned again in Presidential statements opening the yearly general debates at the UN after Rousseff’s September 2012 speech.

139 Interview with Brazilian diplomat, New York, July 2014.

140 As suggested in several interviews, the UK and US were not on board and saw no particular value in having such a UNGA resolution on R2P, passing by consensus, interviews with diplomats from several Western and non-Western Permanent Missions, New York, June and July 2016.

141 It didn’t help that Brazil voted in 2010 against a resolution on Iran the US had fought hard for.

142 For details on the separation of the two, see Betts and Orchard (eds), Implementation and World Politics.

143 Thakur, Ramesh, ‘How representative are BRICS?’, Third World Quarterly, 35:10 (2014), p. 1802 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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