Date of Award/Publication


Document Type



International Studies


American foreign policy makers are rejecting international cooperative endeavors in protective human rights treaties because they are committed to a realist philosophy of international relations that suggests that national interest is determined by the accumulation of power and force. Realists do not take into account new dynamics in international relations evolving from globalization such as the growing role of nonstate actors and the ineffectiveness of force. National interest is the first priority of foreign policy, but realists do not recognize the potential benefits of international cooperation because of their focus on power through military strength to the exclusion of any alternatives. Detrimental efforts of realism can be discerned by exploring three human rights treaties that the U.S. has abstained or withdrawn support: the establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court, the Land Mine Ban Treaty and the Anti-Torture Treaty. American foreign policy appears hypocritical because it does not live up to standards that it criticizes others for in human rights. A different approach in foreign policy, such as complex interdependency, would be more effective in dealing with these human rights treaties. Through this approach national interest can be enhanced and damaging international criticism can be avoided.

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