This article sets out a new way of understanding how resilience works as a form of governmentality with specific focus on international interventions. It argues that resilience governs though failure and denial, suggesting that it builds on both failures to govern complex systems and past failures of intervention, in order to promote a new governance through denial that further shifts responsibility onto the governed. It suggests that resilience, rather than being a radical new approach, fits with existing discourse and practices, but offers something new in terms of its approach to knowledge, the social, and the human. Running this through the themes of failure and denial, the article suggests that resilience offers certain possibilities for human action, but that its emancipatory potential is largely constrained by the way it limits how we understand the bigger picture. This is explored in relation to international interventions and the way that resilience contributes to global governmentality.