Contesting the International Illegitimacy of Torture: The Bush Administration's Failure to Legitimate its Preferences within International Society

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Abstract

This article examines the effect of Bush administration's human rights preferences during the war on terror with respect to torture by analysing a large-n sample of public legitimation strategies of both the United States and other members of international society. The article asks two questions: first, has the defection of the United States from these human rights norms led to a ‘norm cascade’ that delegitimized the norms? Second, did the material preponderance of the United States help it to legitimate its preferences in international society? The article argues that despite initial ambiguity in the response to the Bush administration's preferences from key liberal states, there is little evidence by the end of the Bush administration's term that a core group of states supported their preferences, nor did its material preponderance help the Bush administration to legitimate its position.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Volume16
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-27
ISSN1369-1481
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Feb 2014

Keywords

  • human rights
  • international relations theory
  • legitimacy
  • Bush administration
  • torture

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