(This article was originally published on ‘Normblog’, 27 August 2013)
The signs are now clear that Washington * and other Western powers, † including Britain, are considering military action against Syria on account of the regime’s apparent use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. ‡ Would such action be justified? In the debate about this at least three types of issue are centrally involved: (1) whether there is a basis in international law for militaryintervention; (2) whether it is likely to do any good; and (3) whether it might be merited in
Sweden, militaryintervention and the loss of
Annika Bergman Rosamond and Christine Agius
Since the 1990s, Sweden has gradually changed from a neutral country to
one that is ‘militarily non-aligned.’ It has taken active part in international
peace operations under the command of NATO and the EU, and contributed forces to operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya. In 2015 Sweden
also set aside resources to train Kurdish troops in Northern Iraq in the fight
against ISIS (Dagens Nyheter 2015). At the 2014 NATO Summit in Warsaw,
Britain is often revered for its extensive experience of waging ‘small wars’. Its long imperial history is littered with high profile counter-insurgency campaigns, thus marking it out as the world's most seasoned practitioners of this type of warfare. Britain's ‘small wars’ ranged from fighting Communist insurgents in the bamboo-laden Malayan jungle, marauding Mau Mau gangs in Kenyan game reserves, Irish republican terrorists in the back alleys and rural hamlets of Northern Ireland, and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's Helmand province. This is the first book to detail the tactical and operational dynamics of Britain's small wars, arguing that the military's use of force was more heavily constrained by wider strategic and political considerations than previously admitted. Outlining the civil-military strategy followed by the British in Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Aden, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, Defending the Realm argues that Britain's small wars have been shaped by a relative decline in British power, amidst dramatic fluctuations in the international system, just as much as the actions of military commanders and civilian officials ‘on the spot’ or those formulating government policy in London. Written from a theoretically-informed perspective, grounded in rich archival sources, oral testimonies and a reappraisal of the literature on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, Defending the Realm is the definitive account of the politics of Britain's small wars. It will be of interest to political scientists and historians, as well as scholars, students, soldiers and politicians who wish to gain a more critically informed perspective of the political trappings of war.
Africa was a key focus of Britain's foreign policy under Tony Blair. Military intervention in Sierra Leone, increases in aid and debt relief, and grand initiatives such as the Commission for Africa established the continent as a place in which Britain could ‘do good’. This book critically explores Britain's fascination with Africa. It argues that, under New Labour, Africa represented an area of policy which appeared to transcend politics. Gradually, it came to embody an ideal state activity around which politicians, officials and the wider public could coalesce, leaving behind more contentious domestic and international issues. Building on the story of Britain and Africa under Blair, the book draws wider conclusions about the role of ‘good’ and idealism in foreign policy. In particular, it discusses how international relations provide opportunities to create and pursue ideals, and why they are essential for the wellbeing of political communities. The book argues that state actors project the idea of ‘good’ onto idealised, distant objects, in order to restore a sense of the ‘good state’.
Norman Geras's work on the subject of Karl Marx's antisemitism involved significant dissent from the Marxist tradition in which he located himself, precisely because unvarnished honesty prevented him from glossing over the many troubling ideas and notions that, simply, are there. His Normblog demonstrated how Geras, as a Marxist, took on the shibboleths of the postmodern left, and in particular the relativism whose malign influence he had noted when writing his book on Marx's conception of human nature. 'The principle of self-emancipation', wrote Geras in 1971, 'is central, not incidental, to historical materialism.' This book shows how the materialist usage of 'powers of human nature', 'natural desires', 'natural character' play an important role in the formulation of Marx's theory of history. It explores Richard Rorty's various usages on the question of human nature and the tensions and anomalies as well as then theses on utopia. The book also reviews a fast-growing sector of the current literature on Karl Marx, i.e. whether Marx condemn capitalism in the light of any principle of justice, and the controversy that has fuelled its growth, and distinguishes three meanings (personal, intellectual and socio-political) of 'being a Marxist'. It discusses the significance of the Euston Manifesto, antisemitism on the left anti-Jewish stereotypes, and Marxism before the Holocaust. The book concludes with insights into the 9/11 incident, the principle of humanitarian intervention and international law for military intervention.
party or the international community to conceal a militaryintervention or, on the contrary, to create a diversion, reassure public opinion and hide political impotence in the face of the real problem. Several authors have analysed, for example, the policy of mass humanitarian aid provision in Bosnia in 1992 as a diversionary strategy due to the lack of politico-military initiatives to end the conflict ( Jean, 2004 ). As pointed out earlier, there are also situations where calls for humanitarian corridors or cross-border mechanisms are considered ways to circumvent
militaryintervention in the 1990s, most notably in
Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda, eventually settling for an evidence-driven
témoignage, which sought to promote change through
reasoned arguments shored by medical data. Despite its limitations,
témoignage managed to combine reason and emotion at
different stages of its evolutions, although it rarely managed to achieve a balance
between the two. It was partly so because it got caught between emotion
The first major post-Cold War conflict, the 1991 Gulf war, indicated how much had already changed. Saddam Hussein had enjoyed Western support in Iraq's war against Iran in the 1980s, but was abruptly cast as the 'new Hitler' after his invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. This book is about how the media have interpreted conflict and international intervention in the years after the Cold War. By comparing press coverage of a number of different wars and crises, it seeks to establish which have been the dominant themes in explaining the post-Cold War international order and to discover how far the patterns established prior to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks have subsequently changed. The key concern is with the legitimacy of Western intervention: the aim is to investigate the extent to which Western military action is represented in news reporting as justifiable and necessary. The book presents a study that looks at UK press coverage of six conflicts and the international response to them: two instances of 'humanitarian military intervention' (Somalia and Kosovo); two cases in which the international community was criticised for not intervening (Bosnia and Rwanda); and two post-9/11 interventions (Afghanistan and Iraq). There were a number of overlapping UN and US interventions in Somalia in the early 1990s. Operation Restore Hope was the first major instance of post-Cold War humanitarian military intervention, following the precedent set by the establishment of 'safe havens' for Iraqi Kurds and other minorities at the end of the 1991 Gulf war.
pulled out in March 1994 and all other UN troops had
left by March 1995. Operation Restore Hope, the largest operation,
deployed over 30,000 US and allied forces, with the declared objective
of protecting the delivery of humanitarian aid against looting, and was
the first major instance of post-Cold War humanitarian militaryintervention, following the precedent set by the establishment of
that were later
supported by other international actors.
In this chapter, I analyse EPC activities in three case
studies: the EC Monitoring Mission, the Hague Peace Conference and the
non-decision about militaryintervention. Both the decision-making and
the implementation phases are explored, except in the case of the
non-decision about militaryintervention where the implementation phase