Manchester Security, Conflict & Peace

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‘War is never civilised’

Civilisation, civil society and the Kosovo war

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen

War is never civilised', British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared on 10 June 1999, 'but war can be necessary to uphold civilisation.' In the context of the debate on the futures of European order, Blair's construction of the Kosovo war may be seen as an illustration of Samuel Huntington's scenario of some forthcoming 'clash of civilisations'. Adam Ferguson coined the term 'civil society' in An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Ferguson suggested that civil society was the vehicle of civilisation, being the result of what Norbert Elias was to term the 'civilising process'. Like other constitutive texts of the post-Cold War world, Huntington suggests that the end of the Cold War has been a moment of becoming. The West will have to realise, Huntington argues, that 'its Europe' is fundamentally different from 'Orthodox Europe', the Europe of Russia and, indeed, of Serbia.

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‘vvv.nato.int.’

Virtuousness, virtuality and virtuosity in NATO’s representation of the Kosovo campaign

Andreas Behnke

Jean Baudrillard's diagnosis of the Gulf War applies to the expression of organised violence in contemporary politics. This chapter describes that Kosovo campaign lends evidence to the suspicion that war as such no longer 'takes place', but that it has transmogrified into a different game with a different logic. As Paul Patton argues in his Introduction to Baudrillard's The Gulf War, virtual war, the war over truth rather than territory, is an integral part of modern warfare. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has conducted an epistemic war to secure its privileged moral status, fighting against the systemic anarchy of the international system, the inherent ambivalence and undecidability that necessitates and demands the political designation of identity. The chapter analyses NATO's virtuoso campaign to virtualise Operation Allied Force in order to represent itself as the virtuous actor in the messy reality of war.

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Eşref Aksu

This study explores the normative dimension of the evolving role of the United Nations in peace and security and, ultimately, in governance. What is dealt with here is both the UN's changing raison d'être and the wider normative context within which the organisation is located. The study looks at the UN through the window of one of its most contentious, yet least understood, practices: active involvement in intra-state conflicts as epitomised by UN peacekeeping. Drawing on the conceptual tools provided by the ‘historical structural’ approach, it seeks to understand how and why the international community continuously reinterprets or redefines the UN's role with regard to such conflicts. The study concentrates on intra-state ‘peacekeeping environments’, and examines what changes, if any, have occurred to the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. One of the original aspects of the study is its analytical framework, where the conceptualisation of ‘normative basis’ revolves around objectives, functions and authority, and is closely connected with the institutionalised values in the UN Charter such as state sovereignty, human rights and socio-economic development.

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Understanding environmental security

Water scarcity, the 1980s’ Palestinian uprising and implications for peace

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Jeffrey Sosland

In this chapter, the term 'environmental security' is most appropriate when states or domestic groups are experiencing intense renewable resource scarcity and where a lack of effective domestic or international institutions further aggravates the problem. It explains the concepts that have led to confusion in the water scarcity and environmental security literature. The chapter differentiates between domestic and international water conflicts and also explains the causal relationship between water scarcity and conflict, and clearly defines the terms 'violent water conflict' and 'environmental scarcity'. It offers arguments why water scarcity rarely causes war and considers how scarcity under certain circumstances can nevertheless lead to acute conflict. The chapter focuses on warlike acts in relation to water disputes prior to the advent of the 1987 Palestinian uprising. The chapter examines the implications of water scarcity for the ongoing Middle East peace process.

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The UN’s role in historical context

Impact of structural tensions and thresholds

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter examines the history and evolution of the United Nations' (UN) response to intra-state conflicts after World War 2. It identifies the most significant ‘material’ and ‘ideational’ configurations that evolved in connection with the UN as an institution and impacted on the behaviour of and prescriptions for the UN as an actor in peacekeeping environments. This chapter describes how the Cold War and the North-South confrontation manifested themselves as part of the structural evolution of the international system, which both constrained and facilitated the relationship between international actors and the UN.

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UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts

Evolution of the normative basis

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter analyses the normative change dimension to account for the historical trends that affects or influences the United Nations' (UN) peacekeeping function. It suggests that the early 1960s and early 1990s constituted critical thresholds in intra-state peacekeeping, each with its own particular normative resolution as to the UN's objectives and authority. This chapter describes how the interests and normative preferences of key actors interacted in intra-state peacekeeping environments in the early 1960s and discusses the ensuing normative synthesis with the ideational attributes of the 1990s.

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This chapter analyses the intervention of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the intra-state conflict in Cyprus. It considers different interpretations of the Cyprus conflict and discusses the ambiguous nature of UNFICYP's mandate which arose out of the tensions between the different interests at stake and the normative preferences that accompanied them. This chapter suggest that the UN's involvement in the Cyprus conflict reflected a dominant preoccupation with the maintenance of regional stability, and in that sense international peace and security.

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This chapter examines the shift in the United Nations Operation in the Congo's (ONUC) role in the Congo from inter-state to intra-state peacekeeping. It analyses the objectives and underlying dynamics of the operation and the extent and scope of the authority assigned to the United Nations (UN) in the ‘boldest’ intra-state peacekeeping mission of the 1960s. This chapter suggests that in normative terms, the resolution that emerged in the context of the Congo operation was more of a spontaneous synthesis than a lasting resolution or reconciliation. The positions adopted by virtually all relevant actors pointed to contradictory interests and value preferences.

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This chapter analyses the intra-state peacekeeping operation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in Cambodia. It explores the local, regional and global interests that impacted on the development of the idea of UN peacekeeping and the way these interacted to form a seemingly coherent normative framework for UN action. This chapter suggests that the normative basis of the UN's response to the Cambodia conflict emerged from a painfully slow process of informal bilateral and formal multi-lateral negotiations over more than a decade, in which the predominant concern was to accommodate the strategic interests of the actors involved.

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This chapter examines the second phase of the United Nations' (UN) operation in Angola, the UN Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM II). It explains that UNAVEM II marked a transition from inter-state peacekeeping to intra-state peacekeeping and that the scope and size of UNAVEM were significantly altered during this transitional period. This chapter investigates whether the tension between the norms of state sovereignty and human rights were resolved in favour of the former.