, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 197-199,
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Date: 07 May 2008

Costas Douzinas, Human Rights and Empire. The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism

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Today, to use Richard Rorty’s expression, “human rights are a fact of the world”.

Richard Rorty, Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality, 116. Rorty here popularises the formulation of Ernesto Rabossi, La theoría de los Derechos humanos naturalizada, 5 Revista del Centro de Estudios Constitucionales (1990), 159.

Following the end of the Cold war, human rights gained prominence in international law, in (international) legal and political theory as well as in popular parlance. Moreover, human rights have increasingly entered the corridors of power. Wars have been fought in their name, military alliances have redefined their core business in terms of human rights, while large scale reconstructions of domestic societies have been undertaken for the sake of humanity. After 2001, the link between human rights and (international) security became even closer. The Bush government, for example, has casually identified the lack of human rights protection by ‘failed’ or ‘rogue’ States as an is ...