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The Mask It Wears

Pankaj Mishra: The Wrong Human Rights

21 June 2018
The People v. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It 
by Yascha Mounk.
Harvard, 400 pp., £21.95, March 2018, 978 0 674 97682 5
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Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World 
by Samuel Moyn.
Harvard, 277 pp., £21.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 73756 3
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... American liberals​ , SamuelMoyn wrote last year in Dissent, have never broken ‘with the exceptionalist outlook that cast the United States as uniquely virtuous’, but having Trump in the ‘cockpit of American power’ will ...

Imperial Graveyard

Samuel Moyn: Richard Holbrooke

27 January 2020
Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century 
by George Packer.
Cape, 592 pp., £25, May 2019, 978 1 910702 92 5
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... Richard​ Holbrooke is the only American diplomat since the Vietnam War to have become a full-throttle celebrity, as likely to appear in the tabloids clutching a woman as putting forward a policy proposal in Foreign Affairs. In his thirst for publicity and enthusiasm for the pantomime of statesmanship, only Holbrooke’s nemesis, Henry Kissinger, compares. Since his death at the age of 69 in 2010 ...

Heresy from Lesser Voices

Andrew Preston: The Helsinki Conference

20 June 2019
The Final Act: The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War 
by Michael Cotey Morgan.
Princeton, 424 pp., £27, November 2018, 978 0 691 17606 2
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... in the West, articulated in a discourse that prioritised individual freedoms and sought protection for the individual against the power of the state. But as historians such as Thomas Borstelmann, SamuelMoyn and Daniel Sargent have pointed out, if one side of the individualist coin bore the impression of human rights, the other side was stamped with neoliberalism.* By this time Western countries ...

Un Dret Egal

David A. Bell: Political Sentiment

15 November 2007
Inventing Human Rights: A History 
by Lynn Hunt.
Norton, 272 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 0 393 06095 9
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... in the age of revolutions, she finishes off the rest of their history, to the present day, in a breezy 38 pages, concentrating on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The historian SamuelMoyn has taken her to task for these omissions, and particularly for ignoring the 1960s and the Helsinki process, which arguably brought the concept of ‘human rights’ to the centre of modern ...

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