International Relations

Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

The modern global humanitarian system takes the form it does because it is underpinned by liberal world order. Now the viability of global liberal institutions is increasingly in doubt, a backlash against humanitarianism (and human rights) has gained momentum. I will argue that without liberal world order, global humanitarianism as we currently understand it is impossible, confronting humanitarians with an existential choice: how might they function in a world which doesn’t have liberal institutions at its core? The version of global humanitarianism with which we are familiar might not survive this transition, but maybe other forms of humanitarian action will emerge. What comes next might not meet the hopes of today’s humanitarians, however. The humanitarian alliance with liberalism is no accident, and if the world is less liberal, its version of humanitarian action is likely to be less liberal too. Nevertheless, humanitarianism will fare better than its humanist twin, human rights, in this new world.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister
Juliano Fiori

In this interview, Celso Amorim, former Brazilian foreign minister, discusses changes in global governance and their likely impact on international cooperation. He critically reflects on his experiences in positioning Brazil on the world stage and democratising human rights. And he considers whether the influence of Brazil and other Southern states is likely to continue expanding.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A dialogue with Islam as a pattern of conflict resolution and a security approach vis-à-vis Islamism
Bassam Tibi

In this chapter Islamism is viewed as a variety of religious fundamentalism. The religion of Islam must be differentiated from the many varieties of Islamism as political ideology. In view of the developments in the post-bipolar Middle East, there is a clear connection between fundamentalism and security. Domestic and regional stability in the southern Mediterranean is needed, and the Islamization of politics is viewed as a security threat to peace in this region. Samuel Huntington recognizes what is termed the 'cultural turn' in seeing how cultures and civilizations play an increasingly important role in international politics. The major problem with his approach is that he believes civilizations can engage in world political conflicts. The chapter focuses on the attitudes of Islamic fundamentalists vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli peace process. It examines the impact of the working hypothesis on the negative connection between peace and Islamism in the case of the Maghreb.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
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
What contribution to regional security?
Panagiota Manoli

The architects of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) identified economic development as the main pillar of regional security and promoted three objectives: cooperation rather than conflict, regionalism as a step towards global integration, and avoidance of new divisions in Europe. Declarations and treaties adopted by the BSEC during its ten years of existence are important tools in identifying and assessing mechanisms for dealing with security issues within the BSEC framework. In 1996, the Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU) issued a call for security to be incorporated into the existing subregional cooperation structures, including the BSEC. The internal weakness of most BSEC countries in transition and their vulnerability to outside pressures, as well as their inadequate or absent integration into new security frameworks, have intensified the overall climate of regional insecurity.

in Limiting institutions?
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
Douglas Blum

This chapter investigates both the state in post-Soviet Eurasia as the primary site of institutionalisation and the state's concerted international action in the sphere of security. This investigation requires a major caveat: state-centric approaches to security impose analytical costs by obscuring substate and transnational actors and processes. The construction of Others in Eurasia has taken place through intertwined processes which Graham Smith has called essentialisation, historicisation, and 'totalisation' or the use of absolute categories. In Russia, the discourse of national identity reproduction overwhelmingly includes the explicit identification of hostile Others abroad, such as Islamic fundamentalists and organised criminal gangs. In addition to analysing the way in which national identity determines the direction of foreign policy, it is necessary to consider state strength (or weakness). State capacity directly bears on the viability of state-brokered international institutions.

in Limiting institutions?
Open Access (free)
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
Brent E. Sasley

This chapter is a clarification of the difference between political liberalization and democratization. It formulates the theoretical arguments, namely that regimes and societies are two important referent objects of security which, though neglected by traditional security studies literature, are consequential; and that the two are inextricably linked. This is followed by the chapter's empirical case study, the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. The chapter offers some preliminary thoughts on the usefulness of this addition to security studies in the light of the Middle Eastern context. An examination of regime-society relations in the developing world in general and the Middle East in particular highlights the inadequacies of traditional formulations of security. Demands for social, economic and political rights across the Middle East have threatened the positions, indeed the very safety and perhaps even the survival, of regimes that have been in power for many years.

in Redefining security in the Middle East