International Relations

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Conventional and alternative security scenarios
Roland Bleiker

North Korea's demonstrated nuclear ambition does substantially increase the risk of a nuclear arms race in the region and an escalation of the security situation with possible global consequences. A critical approach to Korean security must challenge the equation of realist ideology with objectivity and commonsense. The confrontational approach is exemplified by US foreign policy towards North Korea. The more tolerant South Korean position of the last few years suggests a willingness to normalize relations with North Korea and integrate it into the world community. But integration and normalization are terms that indicate processes of adjustment to one standard norm; a desire to erase difference in favour of a single identity practice. The immediate objective of engagement, as articulated by the Sunshine Policy, may well be to avoid an open conflict or a sudden collapse of North Korea, but the underlying rationale remains a desire to annihilate the other side.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
James P. Pfiffner

This chapter begins with an account of the run-up to the war in Iraq. It presents a critique of the national security decisionmaking process that led up to the war. President George H. W. Bush was aware of disagreements with his seeming intention to go to war, but most of these came from outside the administration. The chapter explains the role of intelligence and how it was used before the war. The administration was so convinced that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States that it attempted to use the intelligence process to bolster its case for war. Intelligence may also have been politicized by pressure placed upon intelligence analysts to arrive at the conclusions favored by political levels of the Bush administration. The chapter also presents some lessons that might be learned about presidential decision making about going to war.

in Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq
A Singaporean tale of two ‘essentialisms’
See Seng Tan

The Singaporean state is treated as the agent of security par excellence. The notion of security studies communities based in Singapore as epistemic agents is acknowledged by analysts for their perceived contributions to knowledge constitution in ways positive and negative. The perspective that epistemic agents are instrumental agents in their own right includes affirmative and negative views. Numerous critical analyses emphasize the potential role of non-state actors generally, and epistemic communities specifically, as agents for reorienting security discourses in progressive ways. Inscriptions of epistemic agency in principally instrumental and/or abject terms are insensitive to the alternative readings because of their ultimate recourse to settlements that privilege either intellectuals-as-actors or states without enquiring into their agency. The highly limited agency which the state-centred argument affords Singapore's epistemic communities would give little credence to the aforementioned regional developments where promotion of a holistic, human-centred discourse in Singapore and the region is concerned.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
James P. Pfiffner

This chapter examines several sets of statements by President George Bush and his administration. The first statement was about the implication that there was a link between Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Second was about Iraq's nuclear weapons capacity; and third was about Saddam's chemical and biological weapons and his ability to deliver them. The administration's claims about Iraq's nuclear capacity were based on dubious evidence that was presented in a misleading manner. Although Iraq purchased most of its chemical and biological weapons materials from Europe and a few other regions, significant materials came from the United States in the 1980s. The chapter examines the possibility that the intelligence process was politicized. The chapter concludes that from publicly available evidence, the president misled the country in implying that there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11.

in Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq
Towards a critical turn?
Yongjin Zhang

This chapter argues that the 'academic' discourses are inexorably bound up with the preferences and interests of the Chinese government, and underpinned by mainstream academic thinking on security. A critical anatomy of the discourse of multipolarity and the nontraditional security discourse illustrates that discourses of security in China remain a fertile ground of dispute and confusion. It also illustrates that there is a clear deficit of Chinese scholarly engagement with critical security studies. The end of the Cold War and the opening of China's scholarly engagement with global international relations scholarship have ironically helped to entrench realism and its dominance in Chinese international relations scholarship. China's enthusiastic embrace of the 'national interest' as central in governing its foreign and security policy-making was meant to signal the changing worldview of a revisionist power and the 'normalization' of a revolutionary state.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
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
The role(s) of the military in Southeast Asia
Alex J. Bellamy and Bryn Hughes

This chapter concentrates on the role of the military in Southeast Asia as a regime protector and highlights some of the episodes of militaries using unlawful force against their own citizens. Focusing on the military's role in projecting force externally also obscures some of the political and socio-economic functions that they perform which may contain within them immanent possibilities for reform and emancipation. Military reforms in Thailand, and especially the professionalization of the military, have enabled emancipatory reform in a number of areas of public life, making a direct contribution to human security. Southeast Asian security studies has tended to focus on three sets of threats: threats emanating from China and the necessity of 'balancing' Chinese hegemony; threats relating to territorial disputes produced by decolonization; and secessionist and Islamist threats.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
Michelle Bentley

Chapter 6 demonstrates that Syria is not simply a case of misinterpretation, but one in which the taboo has intensified the conflict. The conflict is worse and more violent as a direct consequence of using the taboo as the basis of US foreign policy. It looks at the physically and politically destructive ways in which the taboo has fed the tensions underpinning the crisis, specifically where these are identified as effects that would not have occurred had the taboo not been prioritised above all other concerns. The chapter then concludes with a more comprehensive analysis of how the taboo is detrimental to international politics and whether it should even be kept as part of IR discourse.

in Syria and the chemical weapons taboo

The European Union (EU) has emerged as an important security actor qua actor, not only in the non-traditional areas of security, but increasingly as an entity with force projection capabilities. This book investigates how the concept of security relates to or deals with different categories of threat, explores the relationship between forms of coordination among states, international institutions, and the provision of European security and the execution of security governance. It also investigates whether the EU has been effective in realising its stated security objectives and those of its member states. The book commences with a discussion on the changing nature of the European state, the changing nature and broadening of the security agenda, and the problem of security governance in the European political space. There are four functional challenges facing the EU as a security actor: the resolution of interstate conflicts, the management of intrastate conflicts, state-building endeavours, and building the institutions of civil society. The book then examines policies of prevention, particularly the pre-emption of conflict within Europe and its neighbourhood. It moves on to examine policies of assurance, particularly the problem of peace-building in south-eastern Europe. EU's peace-building or sustaining role where there has been a violent interstate or intrastate conflict, especially the origins and performance of the Stability Pact, is discussed. Finally, the book looks at the policies of protection which capture the challenge of internal security.

Official inquiries into prewar UK intelligence on Iraq
Mark Phythian

This chapter considers both the reliability of UK intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and explanations for flaws in it. It assesses the effectiveness of the different forms of inquiry held into intelligence on Iraqi WMD in providing a full explanation of how the UK came to go to war on what Robin Cook famously termed a "false prospectus." The chapter focuses on the inquiries conducted by: the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), and the British government (the Butler Report). In its investigation, the ISC sought, "to examine whether the available intelligence, which informed the decision to invade Iraq, was adequate and properly assessed and whether it was accurately reflected in Government publications." The most thorough and revealing inquiry into the intelligence underpinning the UK government's case for war was that headed by Lord Butler.

in Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq