Death Toll Rises in Iraq Book Review

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In the middle of these two extremes is an internationalist view, focusing on consensus-limited restrictions on states suspected of perpetrating human rights violations.

In Chapter Three the author uses national-level studies to illustrate why human rights actually should be a major international concern. The Southern Cone of South America includes Argentina, southern Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The modern historical development of these nations has greatly enhanced the study of international human rights. Human rights violations in the Southern Cone of South America included torture, disappearances, and forms of brutality that "reflected pure sadism," (44). Moreover, internal struggles for liberation and freedom that were often launched by religious or social service groups were labeled as "subversive" and promptly squelched. The rise of the NGO in helping secure human rights in this region brought attention to the importance of creating effective organizations that could act on a global level to prevent and stop human rights violations. Moreover, grassroots reforms and violent struggles were also necessary to bring about the end to oppressive military regimes in southern South America.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Chapter Four outlines the role and relevance of international human rights regimes. Similar to Chapter Three, Chapter Four uses specific case studies to show why the study of international human relations is relevant to global politics. Donnelly defines his terms, such as "international regime," pointing out how and why many organized human rights commissions and coalitions are weak and impotent. In particular, the author examines and critiques the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a division of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Donnelly notes the "slow pace" at which such international regimes operate (59). He also touches on the controversial and difficult processes of monitoring and reporting human rights violations. Furthermore, Donnelly discusses how NGOs handle human rights issues in regards to multilateral politics, addressing their successes and their potentials, as well as their failures, and faults. As in previous chapters, the author includes political cartoons to underscore his points, such as the one on page 61. In addition to discussing the role, function, and impact of NGOs on international human rights, the author devotes a substantial section of this chapter to regional human rights regimes. Notably, Donnelly discusses Western European regimes such as the Council of Europe and briefly touches on the weaker regimes in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, showing how difficult it can be to develop an overarching yet effective multilateral policy of human rights. Donnelly also includes mention of the informal yet relevant Helsinki Process.

Also in this chapter, Donnelly addresses single-issue human rights regimes, ones that focus exclusively on one aspect of human rights such as labor, women's rights, torture, or racial discrimination. As a case study, Donnelly includes a full discussion of apartheid in South Africa.

The first four subsections of Chapter Five deal directly with the United States and its complex and controversial policies regarding human rights and international relations. Donnelly emphasizes the post-World War Two American position of radical anti-communism and American exceptionalism, the "belief that the United States is different from (or generally superior to) most other countries, in large part because of its domestic commitment to individual rights," (100). Donnelly shows how this policy is ironic given that the United States has some marked flaws in domestic human rights policies such as the neglect of a substantial number of poor and homeless people as well as the perpetration of police brutality. The United States in fact theoretically supports their domestic human rights policy based on the greater weight the nation places on civil and legal rights than on economic rights.

Donnelly also defines American foreign policy as being interventionalist exceptionalism, a topic that will be addressed in further depth in the analysis portion of this review. In short, Donnelly demonstrates in this chapter that he is highly critical of American foreign policy, which he states "has often been associated with a narrow and self-serving definition of human relations," (101).

The United States international human rights policies rely on relatively weak demonstrations of caring such as quiet diplomacy and symbolic gestures that do little in terms of actually ensuring human rights. Also included in the final chapter of International Human Rights is a summary of other Western approaches to international human rights, notably the policies of the so-called "like-minded" states. Donnelly specifically focuses on the Netherlands, Norway, and Canada. These nations, although small and with a fraction of the wealth possessed by the United States, have made human rights a top priority in their foreign policy procedures. Donnelly admits that often economics or self-interest will trump human rights but in general the track records of these nations far surpass that of the United States. Donnelly offers some plausible explanations for the differences in ideology between developed nations like America and Japan that view human rights as a low-priority issue and nations like the Netherlands and Norway that view human rights as a high-priority issue.

Donnelly does an excellent job with International Human Rights discussing the ramifications, implications, and importance of developing global policies. The strengths of the book are many; therefore, its weaknesses can be discussed briefly. Chapter Two probably poses the greatest problems for the critical reader. Donnelly attempts to address some of the underlying philosophical and theoretical issues surrounding international human relations. Such a discussion is absolutely necessary and well within the scope of the book. However, the author but glossed over notions such as utilitarianism and the categorical imperative. He could either have left these portions out entirely or expanded on them more fully. However, his brief summary of the theoretical challenges to human rights policy, especially power politics and the preservation of sovereignty, are excellent. Again, there are few flaws in Donnelly's work. His writing style is straightforward, direct yet not dry or overly academic. His opinions are well supported by the facts and examples he provides. In fact, one of the main strengths of this book is his inclusion of specific examples and case studies that bring home the importance of human rights; often it is because of the horrors and violations of human rights that people wake up. Finally, Donnelly courageously attacks American foreign policy and offers alternative viewpoints, especially ones from the "like-minded" nations.

His analysis of the like-minded nations particularly presents questions and potential solutions for future foreign policies. The objective of International Human Rights is not to offer policy makers a guide; rather, it is a book geared for students and interested readers. However, these readers might be inspired to enter a career in human rights advocacy, in which case a book like Donnelly's would be a great asset. International Human Relations at once offers tremendous summary, history, and analysis while it also invites discussion and dialogue and welcomes the many changes that will come about in the future of international relations. These issues will definitely become increasingly more relevant as the United States is losing its credibility on the world stage due to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Death Toll Rises in Iraq" Book Review in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Death Toll Rises in Iraq.  (2004, December 1).  Retrieved September 21, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Death Toll Rises in Iraq."  1 December 2004.  Web.  21 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Death Toll Rises in Iraq."  December 1, 2004.  Accessed September 21, 2020.