Intervention in Libya : resistance and co-option in the emerging hegemony
Cory Daniel Rand
May 7, 2013
Department or Program
This thesis examines why the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved the 2011 "humanitarian intervention" in Libya and the subsequent neoliberal reconstruction, despite the strong global resistance to both humanitarian intervention and neoliberalism. This thesis studies the connection between capitalism and humanitarianism, the two threads of resistance to humanitarian intervention and neoliberalism, the drafting process of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine of humanitarian intervention, and UNSC and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting transcripts and press releases relevant to the intervention and reconstruction process in Libya. This thesis concludes that humanitarianism operates as a mechanism of consent for an emerging transnational neoliberal hegemony. Recent changes to the governance structures of this hegemony, the UN ratification of Responsibility to Protect and governance reforms within the IMF, have co-opted subordinate resistance to hegemonic expansion. This co-option allowed the UNSC to approve the 2011 Libya intervention and reconstruction, but the actual intervention process proved both changes to be superficial, and re-ignited resistance. The failure of this hegemonic co-option suggests that leading actors within the emerging hegemony must truly accommodate subordinate interests in order to survive.