Chapter 5 analyses the ways in which the taboo has had a detrimental impact on the Syrian conflict. In particular, it focuses on the how specific weapons are perceived within a conflict, where the taboo causes chemical armaments to be prioritised over others via inappropriate hierarchies of threat. The way in which the taboo has dominated understanding of Syria has seen other threats ignored – notably the vast numbers being massacred with conventional devices, but also the significant biowarfare threat that exists in the country. This means that policymakers have focused on the wrong issues in respect to Syria, a situation that precludes ever finding workable solutions to the crisis. Simply put, policymakers are not seeing the real problems. The taboo blinds them; or rather, applies a lens through which they can only see the chemical threat and none of the other issues driving this conflict.

in Syria and the chemical weapons taboo

This chapter analyses the chemical weapons taboo – the idea that chemical weapons are so abhorrent that they cannot be tolerated. In particular it engages with the work of Richard Price. It reinterprets the taboo from the perspective of Quentin Skinner and his concept of the ‘innovating ideologist.’ Instead of viewing the taboo as a social construction, this analysis argues that actors can exert significant agency over the taboo and the way in which it is employed in political discourse.

in Syria and the chemical weapons taboo
Explaining foreign policy variation

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

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
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Securing Europe in the twenty-first century

From its inception, European integration has served first and foremost the national interests of its member states. The push for deeper integration also reflected the desire to find an internal solution to the security dilemma vexing Europe since German unification in 1871. The milieu policies of prevention and assurance possess a high degree of publicness; the rationale for the EU as a security actor is compelling; and the Community method prevents free-riding. Institutional innovations in the policies of prevention have primarily assumed the character of instruments managing the preaccession process and implementing the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and economic development policies. The goals that the Commission and the member states have set for the EU in the security policy arenas serve as the benchmarks for measuring the EU's performance.

in EU security governance
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Ten theses on culture and international conflict resolution

John Burton's conflict and conflict resolution theories demonstrate the use of human needs theory and medical metaphors in peace and conflict studies. Implicit denial of the importance of culture in human affairs is at the very core of his theory of international conflict resolution. The strong universalising tendencies constitute his theory as a form of totalist theorising in the social sciences. In order for a problem-solving conflict resolution attempt to be successful, a dialogical community is necessary in which the parties can scrutinise each other's views of reality. In such a community the understanding of the uniqueness of the characteristics of the conflict at hand is developed by the facilitator and the parties themselves. The conceptual and theoretical framework suggested in this book can be translated into ten practical non-totalist guidelines for international conflict resolution, and especially for problem-solving conflict resolution. This chapter summarizes these for international problem-solving conflict resolution.

in Culture and international conflict resolution
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in Syria and the chemical weapons taboo
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Politics, violence and resistance

This conclusion presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book details the causes of political violence. Through a careful analysis of the official language of counter-terrorism, it argues that the discursive strategies employed by the American and British administrations to construct the 'war on terrorism' were the same as those used by leaders and political entrepreneurs in these other conflicts. Importantly, the observation that large-scale political violence is a discursive construction is more than simply ontological; if a campaign of violence like the 'war on terrorism' can be socially and politically constructed, it can also be deconstructed. And, the discourse of counter-terrorism is vulnerable and full of instabilities; it contains contradictions, moral hypocrisies, deliberate deceptions, fabrications and misconceptions which can be exploited.

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Emancipating security in the Asia-Pacific?

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book talks about security and states in the Asia-Pacific, and about human security or insecurity in a diverse region. Because the human security of much of the population of the Korean peninsula is tied into the relic of the Cold War, nuclear bombs and the possibilities of extremely violent combat near population centres remain a substantial risk there. The book considers the dilemmas and difficulties under three loose headings: the geopolitical context and the political economy; identity and security; and the relationships between human security as a political desideratum of emancipation and critical security studies as an intellectual project. Insurgencies, not only in Indonesia but also in Thailand, Burma and the Philippines, suggest the importance of 'domestic' political violence as a cause of numerous insecurities.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific

This chapter examines the erroneous US intelligence prediction regarding the likely presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq in 2002. It also examines why lawmakers in Washington, D.C., failed to question these estimates more thoroughly before they led the nation into war in the Persian Gulf the following year. It provides a sense of the many potential pitfalls in the conduct of intelligence that make some degree of failure inevitable. A useful analytic construct for understanding the hazards of intelligence is the so-called intelligence cycle, which traces how America's secret agencies gather, interpret, and disseminate information. The chapter suggests that members of Congress have displayed a range of responses to the call for greater intelligence accountability. One of the main catalysts for motility has been a sense of injured institutional pride, when lawmakers perceive that intelligence officials have failed to treat Congress with appropriate respect.

in Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq