The duty to prevent
DOI link for The duty to prevent
The duty to prevent book
The branding of certain regimes as “rogues,” “outlaws,” or “pariahs,” and the concomitant attempt to curtail the sovereign privileges of these states is not an exclusive feature of US foreign policy but has waxed and waned throughout the history of the modern international system – witness for instance the nineteenthcentury “standard of civilization” which created a system of unequal sovereigns (Gong 1984). However, with the adoption of the UN Charter the notion of unequal sovereigns was – at least theoretically – abandoned in favor of a model based on the notion of the equivalence of regimes. In practice, however, attempts to marginalize particular states by demonizing their leaders and characterizing them as enemies of civilization persisted even after the founding of the UN. Successive US presidents have, for instance, resorted to the rhetorical device of depicting international relations as a struggle between the forces of good and evil in order to garner support for controversial foreign policy decisions. In 1985 President Ronald Reagan labeled Cuba, Iran, Libya, Nicaragua, and North Korea “a confederation of terrorist states,” i.e., governments who were actively seeking to undermine US foreign policy through the use of terrorist attacks against American citizens abroad (Reagan 1985).