International Relations

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For over five decades, the Cold War security agenda was distinguished by the principal strategic balance, that of a structure of bipolarity, between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (USSR). This book seeks to draw from current developments in critical security studies in order to establish a new framework of inquiry for security in the Middle East. It addresses the need to redefine security in the Middle East. The focus is squarely on the Arab-Israeli context in general, and the Palestinian-Israeli context in particular. The character of Arab-Israeli relations are measured by the Israeli foreign policy debate from the 1950s to the 1990s. A dialogue between Islam and Islamism as a means to broaden the terrain on which conflict resolution and post-bipolar security in the Middle East is to be understood is presented. The Middle East peace process (MEPP) was an additional factor in problematizing the military-strategic concept of security in the Middle East. The shift in analysis from national security to human security reflects the transformations of the post-Cold War era by combining military with non-military concerns such as environmental damage, social unrest, economic mismanagement, cultural conflict, gender inequity and radical fundamentalism. By way of contrast to realist international relations (IR) theory, developing-world theorists have proposed a different set of variables to explain the unique challenges facing developing states. Finally, the book examines the significance of ecopolitics in security agendas in the Middle East.

This chapter focuses on the normative change in the international peacekeeping operations of the United Nations (UN). It explains that the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts has evolved unevenly but appreciably in terms of both objectives and authority from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. It analyses the collective expectations of the international community, focusing specifically on the objectives and authority of the UN in relation to intra-state peacekeeping environments in the two specified time periods.

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change

This chapter examines the extent to which a reordering of security boundaries is either desirable or possible in East Asia. Scholarship on regionalism in East Asia has begun to engage with the changing profile of security agenda. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) tends to be cited as the only security arrangement in the Asia-Pacific. However, ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation began in December 1997 when leaders of ASEAN joined an informal summit with their counterparts from Japan, China and the Republic of Korea. By addressing the nature of comprehensive security within East Asia, the chapter also examines some of the tensions inherent within East Asian concepts of security. By considering the concept of human security, it explores the possibilities and constraints for the emergence of more normatively progressive sets of security discourses and practices, and of space for a range of critical actors.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
The analytical framework

This chapter discusses the analytical framework used in this study of the United Nations' role in intra-state peacekeeping. The study uses historical structural method to analyse the normative discourses of relevant actors in peacekeeping environments. It establishes whether questions pertaining to objectives, functions and authority are addressed by the relevant actors in any direct or obvious sense and then analyses significant clusters of normative views in relation to peacekeeping environments, focusing on the extent to which differences of opinion and perception between crucial actors have a bearing on the UN's response to intra-state conflicts in the different periods.

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change
Gendered legacies and feminist futures in the Asia-Pacific

This chapter examines the challenges faced by feminists working in the Asia-Pacific and the opportunities open to them to negotiate space and voice within security studies. The gendered legacies of colonialism have an ongoing impact upon the Asia-Pacific's relations with the 'West'. The chapter recognizes the excellent work by feminists in other academic disciplines and draws upon this to examine why the field of security studies has remained resistant to sustained feminist interventions. The positivist tradition in security studies which dominates mainstream theorizing of security encompasses both the realist and neoliberal approaches to state and regional security. The chapter explores the emancipatory project of critical theory and the possibilities of transposing it into a feminist context in the Asia-Pacific. Theorizing on emancipation must include the insights of an array of non-Western and postcolonial critical feminists working on issues of insecurity.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific

This chapter explores the dilemmas in the context of asylum-seekers in Southeast Asia. In doing so, it points to the role of international refugee law in mitigating against sovereignty as exclusion. The chapter also explores how and why international refugee law falls short of redefining state obligation in the region in such a way as to effectively redress the suffering of asylum-seekers. It demonstrates how Southeast Asian states have come to justify their rejection of international refugee law, and also explores why these reasons have not been successfully challenged in international society. The chapter outlines how the failure to ensure refugee security through the application of international refugee law has resulted in extreme insecurity of asylum seekers in the region. It focuses on the case of Malaysia, which despite its arguably more generous asylum reception policy than many of its neighbours, still remains outside the framework of international refugee law.

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
Abstract only

Chapter 2 applies the strategic interpretation outlined previously to US foreign policy on Syria, explicitly understood as a reference to Obama’s redline. It demonstrates that this is not the hardline ultimatum it was made out to be; but is in fact a calculated construct that expresses Obama’s own preferences concerning US involvement in the crisis. Specifically, it analyses Obama’s real intentions in setting the redline to reveal that these have been misinterpreted. More specifically, that pre-existing ideas surrounding the chemical weapons taboo have caused Obama’s statement to be misconstrued as a be-all-and-end-all of US foreign policy on Syria. It examines the wider policy context at the time to demonstrate that this interpretation was diametrically opposed to Obama’s professed position and that the redline actually comprises a much softer and moderate allusion to the taboo.

in Syria and the chemical weapons taboo
Exploiting the forbidden

This book analyses the Syria crisis and the role of chemical weapons, in relation to US foreign policy. The Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons and their subsequent elimination would dominate the US’ response to the conflict, where these are viewed as particularly horrific arms – a repulsion known as the chemical taboo. On the surface, this would seem an appropriate reaction: these are vile and intolerable weapons, and eradicating them would ostensibly comprise a ‘good’ move. But this book reveals two new aspects of the taboo that challenge this view. First, actors employ the taboo strategically to advance their own self-interested policy objectives. This is in contrast to the highly static and constructivist approaches that have informed conceptualisation of the taboo until now. Far from a situation of normative adherence, this is a case in which the taboo exists as a strategic political resource, used to achieve aims that may have nothing to do with preventing chemical warfare. Second, it is argued that applying the taboo to Syria has exacerbated the crisis. While many expound the benefits of the taboo, it is demonstrated here that the exact opposite is true. The taboo has actually made the conflict significantly worse. As such, this book not only provides a timely analysis of Syria, but also a major and original rethink of the chemical taboo, as well as international norms more widely.

Problematising the normative connection

This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change

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.

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change