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Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd

Politics takes place within a framework of ideas and concepts, ideological and religious beliefs, and social and political institutions moulded by the struggles arising from their interplay. This chapter focuses on religion and politics, disabled rights movements, gay rights movements and animal rights movements. Religious identity plays a very important role in the creation of the national identity of most countries. 'Fundamentalism' was originally applied to an approach to religion in which it was assumed that the original purity of the faith had been compromised and that purification by means of a return to the well springs was required. In Europe and particularly in Britain, fundamentalism seems to have virtually no mainstream political impact. Radical secularism and the political pseudo-religions of fascism and communism have created as much misery and death as has religion during the twentieth century.

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Open Access (free)
Harold Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson: a ‘special relationship’?
Jonathan Colman

The year or so from late 1967 to the end of 1968 had important implications for the Lyndon B. Johnson-Harold Wilson relationship, as it saw the devaluation of sterling and the demise of the remaining British commitment East of Suez. There has been the suggestion that the Anglo-American 'special relationship' died or at least went into some form of diplomatic hibernation with the end of the John F. Kennedy-Harold Macmillan era in 1963, reemerging with the close personal bonds between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Thomas Schwartz has suggested that Johnson and Wilson managed to 'compartmentalise' their relationship, learning to live with their differences over Vietnam in particular and cooperating on issues in which their views coincided. The personal relationship between Wilson and Johnson cannot be described as 'special', although their mutual dealings were unlikely to prosper when British weakness was felt so painfully in Washington.

in A ‘special relationship’?
Open Access (free)
Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith

When the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) undertook military action without an explicit mandate from the United Nations Security Council, it entered a kind of international no-man's land between upholding the sanctity of state sovereignty and that of human life. While NATO members asserted that the humanitarian and strategic imperatives of saving Kosovar Albanian lives and preventing destabilisation in South East Europe drove the action, states such as Russia and China saw the Kosovo conflict as an unacceptable violation of the former Yugoslavia's state sovereignty. NATO's military action best met the description of being an intervention, but this descriptor itself was full of variations, including the one that has been subject to the widest debate: humanitarian intervention. This book has argued that the Kosovo crisis played a smaller and more indirect role in helping initiate the development of the European Union's European Security and Defence Policy than many have assumed. It has also discussed the Atlantic Community, the Euro-Atlantic Area, and Russia's role and place in European security affairs.

in The Kosovo crisis and the evolution of post-Cold War European security
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Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture
Kerry Longhurst

This chapter addresses the issues and debates that were presented in the previous chapters and studies them in relation to the three main questions posed in the Introduction. The first question is on identification, the second question is on change, and the third question is about behaviour. This chapter concludes that while Germany's strategic culture has not changed since its creation after the Second World War, a more self-assured Germany, in terms of security issues, seems to be emerging.

in Germany and the use of force
Open Access (free)
Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd

Conservatism is one of the major intellectual and political strains of thought in Western culture. Originating as something of a 'reaction' to the radical, liberal and, later, socialist movements during the early period of industrialisation in Britain and Europe, conservatism remains a powerful ideological force in Western societies. This chapter explores conservatism from its intellectual and cultural roots in the eighteenth century to developments in the early twenty-first century. Considerable attention is given to the historical experiences of conservative parties, especially in Britain, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, experiences that have been at least as significant in the development of conservative ideology as particular individual thinkers. The chapter emphasises conservative themes such as patriotism, freedom under the law, order, hierarchy, discipline, inequality and traditional institutions.

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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The international system and the Middle East
Raymond Hinnebusch

The nineteenth-century expansion of capitalism and imperialism into the Arab region reflected a combination of superior Western technological, market and military power which penetrated and eventually reduced the Middle East to an economic periphery of the core and imposed a very flawed Western state system on it. External intervention and its often-damaging consequences stimulated an on-going reaction manifested in nationalist and Islamic movements. To many Arabs and Muslims, the struggle with imperialism, far from being mere history, continues, as imperialism reinvents itself in new forms. The Middle East has become the one world region where anti-imperialist nationalism, obsolete elsewhere, remains alive and where an indigenous ideology, Islam, provides a world view still resistant to West-centric globalisation. This dynamic explains much of the international politics of the region.

in The international politics of the Middle East
Open Access (free)
Emilio Santoro

This chapter explores the link between the weakening of states and the changes in criminal policies and outlines their implications for individual rights. Zygmunt Bauman and Loïc Wacquant regard the criminalisation of poverty by western states as the paradoxical outcome of their weakened capacity for social intervention due to the erosion of their political sovereignty by global pressures. From Cesare Beccaria in the eighteenth century to H.L.A. Hart and John Rawls in the twentieth, liberal theories of punishment have attempted to combine the general deterrence of crime with due retribution against actual criminals. The early liberal theories of punishment assumed a conception of individuals as owning themselves and freely choosing and taking responsibility for their own conduct on the basis of a calculus of its personal and social consequences.

in Political concepts
Will Leggett

This chapter reviews existing critical strategies towards the Third Way. It divides the various criticisms from what are broadly the neo-Marxist and the social democratic Left into those which dismiss the Third Way as a 'smokescreen'. The smokescreen approaches highlight important issues about the relationship between ideological projects and material interests. The chapter identifies and elaborates the productive critique of the Third Way. Too often third-wayers treat the dramatic social transformations they have identified as a fact of nature, rather than historical constructions that can be steered by purposeful political interventions. The desire to recreate a traditional Labour Party based on the male bread-winner model neglects what the Third Way recognizes. The chapter suggests that Third Way theory itself, particularly the earlier work of Anthony Giddens, contains the basis of a more progressive vision than that which is being pursued by current practitioners.

in The Third Way and beyond
New polity dynamics
Dimitris N. Chryssochoou, Michael J. Tsinisizelis, Stelios Stavridis, and Kostas Ifantis

This chapter provides a critical summary of the Amsterdam and Nice reforms, reflecting on the Union's post-Nice agenda and the current debate on the future of Europe. It notes that the intense debate that occurred during the period leading up to the Treaty of Amsterdam continued with a publication of the Commission under ‘Agenda 2000’. The chapter also provides the possible prospects for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2004, which are the allocation of competences, simplification of the treaties and the remodelling of the legislature.

in Theory and reform in the European Union
Jonathan Colman

The period August 1966-September 1967 saw a decline in Harold Wilson's commitment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and to the United States, both personally and in the wider context of British foreign policy. On 21 April, a State Department analysis suggested that Wilson attached 'the highest importance to his relations' with President Johnson 'and to a continuation of a close relationship between our two countries'. However, the phase A-phase B affair had tested Wilson's commitment to the White House. Wilson's odd request was probably designed primarily to bolster his own standing with the White House rather than for any other purpose, because George Brown had never concealed his commitment to Europe, and, of course, Wilson had himself given Brown the post of Foreign Secretary. East of Suez, as well as British economic troubles and Vietnam, would remerge in the next and final phase of Anglo-American relations under Wilson and Johnson.

in A ‘special relationship’?