This book looks at the reasons why and how some states promote human rights internationally (i.e., become 'Global Good Samaritans'), risking their citizens' lives, considerable portions of their national budgets, and repercussions from opposing states to protect helpless foreigners--often in countries with no resources or ties to their own. The book argues that humanitarian internationalism is more than episodic altruism--it is a pattern of persistent principled politics that shows that even in a world of security dilemmas, some societies will come to see the linkage between their long-term interest and the common good. At the same time, countries lacking in hard power leverage their positions as promoters of international human rights to become global 'moral superpowers.' Human rights as a principled foreign policy defies the realist prediction of untrammeled pursuit of national interest, and suggests the utility of constructivist approaches that investigate the role of ideas, identities, and influences on state action. Hence, Brysk argues that human rights policy should be systematically analyzed like any other state policy area. Brysk takes a historical view of the human rights policies of Sweden, Canada, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Japan, and South Africa to determine what conditions are necessary to states becoming Global Good Samaritans. Moreover, she shows that shortfalls in these conditions are systematically linked to lower levels of human rights policies, even among generally supportive states. She concludes that state promotion of global human rights may be an option for many more members of the international community and that the international human rights regime can be strengthened at the interstate level, alongside social movement campaigns and the struggle for the democratization of global governance.

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