This chapter surveys the political and intellectual landscape within which this book’s exploration of the cosmopolitan military is situated. The post-Cold War period and the continued advance of globalisation have provided significant openings for a rethinking of political community, the boundaries of moral responsibility and the ways in which the world’s most vulnerable human beings might be protected from harm. The chapter argues that these openings have led to the development of new ideas about community, security, moral responsibility and the role of the military, but also pose some challenging questions. Intellectually, a plethora of different conceptualisations of cosmopolitanism have emerged, alongside debates on ethical commitments in foreign policy and on how security is conceptualised and for whom. Corresponding policy developments have also reflected these reconsiderations of moral community and an increasingly human-centred diplomatic discourse. The concept of human security has sought to reframe security debates with individual human beings, rather than states, as key security referents. In doing so, a more complex security environment is revealed, highlighting the latent threats overlooked in traditional security discourse. Similarly, debates on humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) opened up a discussion on whether we have responsibilities to protect vulnerable non-citizens from large-scale human rights violations.
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