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Moral Progress and Political Limits. Liberal responsibilities in an age of shifting international power balances (MPPL)
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The project will provide a better understanding of how the international responsibilities of the liberal state are constructed in an age of shifting power balances. It is an interdisciplinary study of the ethical reasoning of Australia, the UK and the US as it relates to R2P and the ICC. This is timely given speculation concerning the decline in the relative power of liberal states and the impact that may have on the ability and willingness of international society (including European states) to protect human rights, especially in the face of opposition from the emerging powers or “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). This fault line widened during the 2011 Libya crisis and it is evident in the reaction to the ongoing crisis in Syria. It raises the question of whether and how this new context influences the pursuit of humanitarian ideals through the foreign policies of liberal states. The research questions to be answered are empirical and normative: do liberal states now conceive this diplomatic fault line as part of a ‘new reality’ that is forcing them to compromise on the moral ends / means of human protection?; is compromising on the ends / means of human protection an appropriate response? To answer these questions the project employs a ‘holistic’ approach to the study of ethical reasoning. This was set out by one of the project's supervisors, Christian Reus-Smit, with his collaborator Richard Price. It is at the cutting-edge of innovation in International Relations. Developing a competency in its application will elevate the fellow's career to a new level of maturity, enhance his international reputation and enable him to exercise leadership across the European Research Area. In addition he will receive complementary skills training from Tim Dunne and Edward Newman. This is to prepare the fellow for playing a leadership role in the creation of a European Centre on the Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute (EuroCoRPP)."
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