chapter  17
International Human Rights, Political Leadership and the Problem of Normative Change in the International System
ByShaun Narine
Pages 22

With the end of the Cold War, the international system entered a new era of cooperative possibilities, but also profound challenges to the existing international order. Nowhere is the challenge more pronounced than in the debate surrounding the spread and importance of ‘human rights’ (HR) values and their associated impact on the concept of ‘humanitarian intervention’ (HI). during the Cold War, most states supported and promoted – however unevenly – the commonly understood interpretation of ‘Westphalian state sovereignty’. In this conceptualization, the sovereignty of a state was – in theory – absolute. Whatever happened within its borders was the concern of the government of that state. Interference in domestic affairs by outside actors could be legitimate only under very restricted conditions.