Achieving Human Rights

In This Review

Achieving Human Rights
By Richard Falk
Routledge, 2008
256 pp. $29.95
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The global human rights revolution began with the United Nations' adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Since then, dozens of covenants, treaties, and proclamations have extended its principles, and countless political struggles around the world have flown the flag of universal human rights. Falk has been one of the most articulate champions and chroniclers of this global revolution, and his book offers new dispatches from the field. He is inspired by the social movements, transnational communities, norms of humanity, and globalizing technologies that are pushing and pulling the world toward a post-Westphalian system of human rights. But he is also skeptical of the idea that the time has arrived for such an epochal transformation. He argues that the United States may reacquire its moral standing as a global hegemon and that the liberal international order may be rebuilt and extended in the decades ahead. He does not, however, see a path forward to a more inclusive and democratic form of global governance. Falk's contribution is to imagine new and futuristic forms of citizenship and world democracy that someday may push beyond the Westphalian frontier.