1st Edition

Reconstructing the Responsibility to Protect From Humanitarian Intervention to Human Security

By Michael J. Butler Copyright 2025
    184 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book revisits and interrogates the evolution of the Responsibility to Protect in search of the root cause of R2P’s failure to date.

    Employing a critical constructivist lens throughout, the book locates the origin of that apparent failure in the close association of R2P with humanitarian intervention.  In returning to the ideational underpinnings and broader ambitions of R2P’s architects, the analysis reveals that reducing R2P to little more than a ‘solution’ to the long-standing problem(s) confronting humanitarian intervention betrayed its fundamental purpose: advancing a new norm of, and for, human security provision. Employing a modified version of the norm life-cycle model as a diagnostic tool, the author uncovers the underlying dynamics of R2P’s normative stagnation over the past two decades. The book concludes with a prescriptive remedy in the form of a two-part blueprint for reconstructing and reanimating R2P’s normative agenda for an international society confronted by mounting and existential threats to humanity.

    This book will be of much interest to scholars and students of the Responsibility to Protect, human rights, security studies and International Relations in general.

    List of Figures

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    Introduction: R2P, R.I.P.?

    1          The Persistent Problem(s) of Humanitarian Intervention

    2          The R2P ‘Solution’

    3          Failure to Launch

    4          Responsibility Revisited

    5          Rethinking the Referent

    Conclusion: Reconstructing R2P


    Michael J. Butler is an Associate Professor of International Relations and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is the author/co-author or editor of six books and over two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles. He is a member of Sweden's Folke Bernadotte Academy International Research Working Group on Dialogue, Mediation, and Peace Processes, a Senior Fellow at the University of Toronto's Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and an affiliate with the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. He has served as co-editor of the International Studies Intensives book series (Routledge) since 2016.