This paper constitutes a component of a larger research project. The larger project attempts to address two issues in international relations - one substantive and theoretical, the second epistemological and ontological. The first issue, which will be the focus of this paper, considers the puzzle of variance in the successful application of global norms. It seeks to explain the conditions under which global norms become part of the agenda of global governance and thus consequential to the actions of state and non-state actors alike. In that sense, the paper focuses on the critical factors that explain variance in the adoption of norms onto the agenda of global governance, their widespread acceptance as legitimate, and their enforcement. I outline three explanatory variables and, according to their configuration, eight possible combinations. The second aspect of this project attempts to apply some of the theoretical aspects of the project to the case of the development of the norm of preventative intervention in intrastate conflicts. In doing so I seek to understand both how, and the extent to which, the concept has evolved during the course of the last decade. Specifically, to what degree has the idea of preventative intervention become widely discussed and part of the policy agenda, and to what degree and how is it implemented?