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Constructing security in historical perspective
Jonathan B. Isacoff

This chapter examines the concept of security through discursive contestation at the leadership level in a critical Middle Eastern case, that of Israel. It examines the specific discourses of security employed by opposing political groups during key periods in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The chapter argues that failure to resolve the fundamental dispute among Palestinians and Israelis stems directly from the victory during the 1950s of the more hard-line militaristic Israeli approach towards state security and development. It discusses the shortcomings of a systemic or structural realist approach to the question of the Palestinian-Israeli peace. The chapter establishes a historical basis for the dispute between Israeli militarism and moderation with a focus on the critical period of the early to mid-1950s. It assesses the contemporary implications of the doctrines of militarism and moderation with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the 1990s.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
Open Access (free)
Reflections in a distorting mirror
Christoph Zürcher

This chapter presents an anatomical comparison of the conflicts in Chechnya and Kosovo, emphasising the remarkable similarity between the two. It focuses on to the responses of Russia and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to the respective Chechen and Kosovo problems. The chapter discusses rationales and motives can, in the absence of any convincing Realist interests, best explain NATO's and Russia's decision to go to war. It shows how Chechnya and Kosovo are linked, both by Realpolitik and, perhaps more directly, by each being the focal point of an on-going war of interpretation. The outcome of each of these wars of interpretation may influence the European security landscape more than the 'hot war' in Kosovo. Both the Chechen and the Kosovo conflict are essentially a by-product of the breakdown of the Soviet and Yugoslav ethno-federations.

in Mapping European security after Kosovo
Rousseau as a constitutionalist
Mads Qvortrup

Often presented as a proto-totalitarian, Rousseau has traditionally been seen as an opponent of constitutionalism, checks and balances, and the separation of powers. Following a brief overview of the history of constitutionalism (from Moses to the French Revolution), this chapter compares Rousseau's political writings with the writings of constitutionalists like James Madison and Baron de Montesquieu. It shows that Rousseau shared the view that checks and balances are necessary for preventing the corruption of power and that he advocated a system of the separation of powers (and spoke highly of the British constitution. Yet, contrary to the other constitutionalists, Rousseau was a democrat. Whereas Montesquieu and Madison wanted the elites to check the elites (through the introduction of second chambers and constitutional courts), Rousseau emphasised that the executive ought to be checked by the people. He thus anticipated the political system that was instated by the American populists (including Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson). However, unlike other constitutionalists, Rousseau did not believe that institutions themselves would be sufficient for creating a good polity. He ceaselessly emphasised that political education was necessary for creating a good society.

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau’s and nationalism
Mads Qvortrup

Previously unrecognised by scholars of nationalism, Rousseau was, in fact, the founder of the modern doctrine of nationalism. This chapter shows how Rousseau succeeded in developing a case for social cohesion and the necessity of having a common culture in a society. In developing a case for nationalism as a ‘civic profession of faith’ he continued—and redeveloped—a doctrine begun by Machiavelli, which was later to be further elaborated by Alexis de Tocqueville and present-day theorists and practitioners of social capital, like the political scientist Robert Putnam and the English politician David Blunkett. It is argued that Rousseau accomplished the feat of developing a new doctrine of civic religion (i.e., nationalism) and that he succeeded in combining a defence for this doctrine with a new place for Christianity (which was consistent with the original apolitical teachings of Christ). The chapter also presents an account of Rousseau's thinking on international politics, including something as timely as an account of his opposition against the establishment of a European superstate.

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Sarah Hale

The development and academic study of the 'Third Way' since the mid-1990s represents the most consistent and durable attempt to develop those overt beliefs on behalf of the 'Centre-Left' in general and New Labour in particular. Five names crop up when communitarian philosophy is cited by Third Way commentators: Alasdair MacIntyre; Michael Sandel; Charles Taylor; Michael Walzer and John Macmurray. These philosophers are the subject of this chapter. The obvious connection between Tony Blair and Macmurray is the importance for both of them of the idea of community. For Macmurray, individualism is an expression of fear, while society is an expression of mutual need, and community an expression of love. Sandel's approach has been seen as epitomising a communitarianism in which justice and community are in conflict. MacIntyre's criticism of liberalism is far broader than Sandel's.

in The Third Way and beyond
Open Access (free)
Individuals acting together
Keith Graham

This chapter articulates the idea of one kind of community, pertinent to social and political questions, which is present in many areas of actual human life. It explores a specific conception of community as a collective agency. The chapter suggests that the membership of a collective agency raises important questions about loyalty, allegiance and dissociation. Where an individual is participating in collective action with others, a space must always be left for critical reflection, options of identification with or dissociation from the CA and even actual detachment from a CA. The chapter also suggests that the existence of collective agencies casts doubt on the adequacy of the doctrine of the distinctness of persons. According to the doctrine, it is particularly important to bundle together the desires of a single individual. By contrast, no special importance attaches to a bundle which represents the desires of different individuals for the same end.

in Political concepts
Explaining foreign policy variation
Raymond Hinnebusch

This chapter uses comparative analysis to elucidate how the interaction between the system level and particular state formation paths shapes similarities and differences in states' international behaviour. What explains the similarities and differences in the foreign policy behaviour of Middle East states? As this chapter shows, neither state features nor systemic forces alone have an impact on foreign policy but the interrelation between a state's specific position in systemic structures and its particular internal features determines its foreign policy behaviour. The level of consolidation determines whether a state remains a victim of its systemic environment or becomes an effective actor in it. Finally, leadership, by virtue of its location at the intersection of the systemic and the domestic, can make choices that set states on new tangents.

in The international politics of the Middle East
Israel and a Palestinian state
Lenore G. Martin

This chapter outlines the paradigm and applies it to a preliminary analysis of the national security of Israel and a nascent Palestinian state. The problem with the realist approach to conceptualizing national security was vividly demonstrated by the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Adopting the state as the level of analysis creates a problem for exploring the national security of the Palestinian entity, which at time of writing has not achieved de jure recognition as a state. In contrast to a number of Middle Eastern states that have serious ethnic divisions, the Palestinian state is blessed with a relatively homogeneous ethnic that is Arab, population. The Palestinian economy ranks among the poorer economies of the developing world, being even below the average for the Middle East and North Africa.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
Open Access (free)
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’?