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Durham e-Theses
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‘You Break It, You Own It’: 30 Years of Foreign-Imposed Regime Change.

RAAFS, EVERHARD,ALBERTUS,HENDRIK (2021) ‘You Break It, You Own It’: 30 Years of Foreign-Imposed Regime Change. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis assesses the foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC) phenomenon as it has occurred in the past three decades, and in doing so highlights the important contradictions between liberal states’ global ambitions and the problematic realities of FIRC. It rejects the often-heard ‘Pottery Barn’ analogy (i.e. ‘you break it you own it’) in favour of an ‘orthodox’ or ‘Walzerian’ Just War Theory perspective. As the Pottery Barn Rule leaves many aspects of FIRC unexamined, its unquestioned acceptance results in an impoverished understanding of modern-day regime change, the thesis emphasises FIRC’s moral omplexity as well as the ethical challenges its practice poses.

The thesis argues that since the end of the Cold War, the prominence of liberal discourse has facilitated the US-led world order’s distinction between democratic states, which are perceived as legitimate, and ‘illiberal’ or ‘rogue’ states, which are not. This has resulted in attempts to overthrow and replace these states’ regimes, ostensibly in the name of global security and humanitarian concerns. In examining this phenomenon, the thesis employs a casuistic ‘historical illustrations’ approach, which is used to propose a distinction between superficial and radical variations, and which highlights the importance of interveners’ intentions and motives. Subsequently, the potential for a just regime in the presence of a regime’s culpability for the large-scale violation of basic human rights is examined. In assessing potential interventions to halt such abuses, the thesis splits the overarching responsibility concept (including the ‘Responsibility to Protect’) into aspects of ‘duty’ and ‘obligation’, which also relate to postwar responsibilities in imposing ‘minimally just’ regimes. Ultimately, since the majority of recent regime change attempts have been nothing short of cautionary tales,establishing the conditions for a regime change which is both more just and more effective is crucial to an improved understanding of both liberal interventionism and post-conflict ethics.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 May 2021 14:05

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