This essay examines United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s rhetoric concerning the responsibility to protect doctrine (R2P). This essay seeks to rhetorically map the arguments concerning the nature of R2P and what its specific components are. Specifically, I argue that Ban Ki-Moon’s rhetoric serves to redefine and update sovereignty and the responsibilities of statehood for a twenty-first century world. The rhetoric of R2P has important implications for the debates surrounding military intervention on “humanitarian” grounds.

Author Bio(s)

Jason A. Edwards is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University. He is the author of Navigating the Post-Cold War World: President Clinton's Foreign Policy Rhetoric and The Rhetoric of American Exceptionalism: Critical Essays. His work has also appeared in Presidential Studies Quarterly, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Southern Journal of Communication, Communication Quarterly, The Howard Journal of Communications, as well as other journals and books. He has begun a line of research focusing on the evolving rhetorical arguments for military intervention within U.S. foreign policy and international political rhetoric. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2009 National Communication Association Conference, Chicago, IL. Email: jasonedwards57@hotmail.com.


military intervention, post-Cold War world, responsibility to protect doctrine (R2P), sovereign immunity, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

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