International Relations

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Michelle Bentley

Chapter 4 demonstrates the sheer extent to which this strategic process was agency-driven and calculated. Obama did not merely use the taboo to limit policy, but to actively control it. This is not merely a case in which Obama drew on conventional understandings of the taboo, but in which he dug deep into that construct to exploit specific aspects in the promotion of his own self-interest. This was a manipulative and deliberate process, one in which Obama exercised significant control over the idea of the taboo itself. Far from the inevitable adherence to the taboo that this situation has been portrayed as, this was in fact the opposite – a case in which Obama effectively reversed that normative expectation in order to manipulate it for his own gain.

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Nuclear weapons in the Asia-Pacific

A critical security appraisal

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Marianne Hanson

This chapter examines the issue of nuclear weapons with a view to understanding the origins and consequences of nuclear policies, as opposed to simply describing these or calculating their strategic effects. It explores three key factors associated with use of nuclear weapons: ethical and humanitarian concerns; the implications of nuclear deterrence and nuclear use on citizen, state relations; and the implications of nuclear war for environmental and development projects. The chapter proposes the state of nuclear issues in the Asia-Pacific, focusing on the nuclear crisis in North Korea, proliferation in India and Pakistan, and the status of nuclear weapons in the US, China and Russia. Traditional security policies that have established nuclear weapons as a means of achieving security among states have led to a fundamental nuclear insecurity, that is, the constant fear that such weapons might actually be used, exposing human populations to unprecedented destruction.

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John Dumbrell

This chapter provides a reasonably cool and rational account of the development of neoconservative views on US foreign policy, culminating in the decision to invade Iraq. Most of the leading first generation neoconservatives, including Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer and Daniel Bell, attended the City College of New York in the 1930s. The neoconservative role within the George H. W. Bush administration, however, was rather more equivocal. Generally, the admistration neocons were second-level "junior ministers," much as they had been in the Ronald Reagan or Bush senior administrations. Bushite pragmatism was seen as much in Bush senior's resolve to "avoid dancing on the Berlin Wall," as in the allowing of Saddam Hussein to remain safe in Baghdad two years later. The pragmatic realism of the 1991 decision to cease action in Iraq was defended in the memoirs of Colin Powell, the elder Bush and Brent Scowcroft.

Open Access (free)

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Raymond Hinnebusch

This chapter assesses the renewed destabilising impact of international attempts to reshape the regional order in an age of unipolarity and globalisation. For much of the world, globalisation is associated with growing interdependence and the spread of ‘zones of peace’. In the Middle East, the decade of globalisation was ushered in by war, was marked by intrusive US hegemony, renewed economic dependency on the core and continuing insecurity, and ended with yet another round of war in 2001. In the latest case, the 11 September events, the particular character of the crisis was shaped by the dominant features of the current international system, namely US hegemony and globalisation. The US response, an intensification of its military intervention in the region, appears likely to exacerbate the problem it seeks to address.

Open Access (free)

Limiting institutions?

The challenge of Eurasian security governance

Edited by: James Sperling, Sean Kay and S. Victor Papacosma

Eurasian security governance has received increasing attention since 1989. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the institution that best served the security interests of the West in its competition with the Soviet Union, is now relatively ill-equipped resolve the threats emanating from Eurasia to the Atlantic system of security governance. This book investigates the important role played by identity politics in the shaping of the Eurasian security environment. It 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 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon marked the maturation of what had been described as the 'new terrorism'. Jervis has argued that the western system of security governance produced a security community that was contingent upon five necessary and sufficient conditions. The United States has made an effort to integrate China, Russia into the Atlantic security system via the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The Black Sea Economic Cooperation has become engaged in disseminating security concerns in fields such as environment, energy and economy. If the end of the Cold War left America triumphant, Russia's new geopolitical hand seemed a terrible demotion. Successfully rebalancing the West and building a collaborative system with Russia, China, Europe and America probably requires more wisdom and skill from the world's leaders.

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Language and power

Reproducing the discourse

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Richard Jackson

The 'war on terrorism' as a political discourse has both unique and generic characteristics, as well as continuities and discontinuities from previous counter-terrorism approaches. This chapter considers the discourse as a totality and looks at the forest rather than just individual trees. The role of the media is critical to the success of any political discourse because in modern societies it is the main transmission belt or conduit between politics and society. At one level, the power of the discourse is due to its internal construction; it is a coherent, appealing and reassuring narrative for Americans which restores the confidence and sense of purpose which was so severely undermined by the terrorist attacks. On another level, political discourses only rise to prominence in this way when other social actors reproduce and amplify the language across the wider society.

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John Mueller

In promoting and prosecuting its war against Iraq, the administration of George W. Bush sought to accomplish two tasks in the management of American public opinion. In the run-up to the war, it tried to rally the public to support its planned venture, and, during the war itself, it tried to maintain public backing for the war even as costs increased. American troops have been sent into harm's way many times since 1945, but in only three of those ventures, in Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq, have they been drawn into sustained ground combat and suffered more than 300 deaths in action. There is one important difference between the wars, however: the data suggest that the public places a far lower value on the stakes in Iraq than it did in the earlier wars.

Open Access (free)

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Raymond Hinnebusch

This study takes the Middle East to be constituted around an Arab core, with a shared identity but fragmented into multiple territorial states; the core is flanked by a periphery of non-Arab states—Turkey, Iran and Israel—which are an intimate part of the region's conflicts and an integral part of its balance of power. This chapter argues that the Middle East is the epicentre of world crisis, chronically war-prone and the site of the world's most protracted conflicts. It also argues that that the roots of conflict and much state behaviour are found in the peculiar historical construction of the regional system.

Open Access (free)

Introduction

Redefining security in the Middle East

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Tami Amanda Jacoby and Brent E. Sasley

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers security in relation to the political sector in terms of processes of democratization in the region and demands of new groups for wider and more meaningful access to political decision making. It establishes a theoretical context for redefining security in the Middle East by considering a range of concepts, debates and theories that have traditionally been absent from the field. The book provides an analytical model for redefining national security as a theory and as a practice in the post-Cold War era. It explores fundamental issues related to Islamophobia and the West, the relationship between Islam and democracy, and circumstances for groups and parties to gain political power and effect social change through indigenous tools and symbols.

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Introduction

Asia-Pacific security legacies and futures

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Anthony Burke and Matt McDonald

The Asia-Pacific region is divided into distinct security paradigms that are governed by differing normative and structural frameworks and differing levels of greater power influence and involvement. This chapter outlines the combination of theoretical, policy and institutional frameworks in the region and the ways that they can be challenged by a critical security analysis. The first approach to critical security can be defined as a reconstructive project, aimed at advancing alternative claims of what security is or should mean. The North Korean regime's nuclear test in October 2006 served to underscore the sense of volatility associated with the Northeast Asian region, for some indicating the primacy of traditional modes of thinking about security and threat. The comprehensive security appears to capture the holistic and interdependent nature of insecurity processes and to incorporate the kind of liberal norms present in numerous Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) documents.