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  • Author: Anna Geis, Christopher Hobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: There is an extensive literature on acts, events and people in international politics that may be described as 'evil' , but much less work specifically focusing on how this idea operates and is used in an international context. This has begun to change recently, however, as a result of leading international figures–most notably George W. Bush–using the term prominently. This special issue seeks to further advance scholarship on these issues by moving beyond purely philosophical accounts on the nature of evil, and considering: how it has been used to frame the identities of actors in international relations (IR); whether it works to enable or preclude specific kinds of behaviour; and what role it plays as part of our moral and political vocabulary. This introduction provides a brief survey of the literature on evil in IR, and gives an overview of the contributions to the special issue.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: David Chandler
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article seeks to analyse the shift away from the moral certainties of the Cold War epoch and of humanitarian interventions in the 1990s, to suggest that 'evil' plays a very different role in politics and international relations today. In current constructions of the world – as much more global, complex and non-linear – the past certainties of liberal internationalism appear to be a symptom of problematic moral hubris. Rather than the transcendental moral certainties of good and evil, globalization and complexity seem to suggest a more immanent perspective of emergent causality, eliciting a reflexive ethics of continual work on 'good' public modes of being. In which case, 'evil' is no longer considered to be an exception but becomes normalized as an ethical learning resource. The 2011 case of the mass killings by Norwegian Anders Breivik will be highlighted as an example of this process. This article suggests that this 'democratization' of evil is problematic in articulating evil as a revealed or emergent truth in the world that requires social and personal self-reflexivity, thereby suborning moral choice to onto-ethical necessity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War
  • Author: Harald Muller
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Liberal discourse should have a hard time looking for 'evil' in international relations. Standing on the pillar of rationalism and humanitarianism, there seems to be little space for the morally and emotionally charged notion of evil to enter considerations. Yet, the liberal belief in the freedom of will implies that humans are capable of turning against the advice of reason and opt for evil behavior and underlying principles. This possibility is epitomized by Kant's construction of the 'evil enemy'. Since 'evil' appears sporadically in international relations, with Hitler's Germany as prototype, its existence in the real world of international relations cannot be ruled out a priori. Designating an 'other' as evil is thus a discursive possibility. The practice to turn this possibility into reality is conceptualized here as 'evilization' in analogy to 'securitization'. There is strong variance among liberal democracies in applying this practice, ranging from 'pacifism' to 'militancy', which often leads to dire consequences. Deriving the principles of fallibility and prudence from liberal reasoning, this article concludes with the proposition that 'liberal pacifism' is the preferable option in most conceivable circumstances, but that the possibility of confronting political evil is rare, but existing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Germany, Cameroon
  • Author: Mona K. Sheikh
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article examines how evil has been conceptualised in the discipline of international relations and contributes to a body of critical literature that treats evil as a legitimacy bestowing label. By drawing on securitisation theory, it suggests developing a performative approach to evil as an alternative to descriptive and normative approaches. It is argued that such an approach would not only be valuable for understanding the effects of naming and grading evil, but also fulfils three additional functions. First, it facilitates a shift away from applying intention as the primary measure for determining matters of guilt and condemnation. Second, it challenges the privileged position of the powerful when appointing particular phenomena/adversaries as evil. Finally, it provides an analytical starting point for understanding conflict constellations where different parameters of legitimacy seem to clash. This last function requires particular sensitivity towards the audience and the cultural context of 'evilising' moves.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Author: Adam Quinn
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article argues that neoclassical realism (NCR), though it presents one of the most intuitively attractive frameworks for understanding states' actions, continues to struggle with a central conceptual tension. Some have argued that NCR is compatible with a structural realist approach, even that it is a 'logical extension' of it. Yet in seeking to identify law-like patterns of state behaviour arising from the varied features of states themselves, NCR appears to breach the outer limits of what Kenneth Waltz, the founding father of structural International Relations theory, thought tolerable in a theory of international politics. Thus, NCR arguably faces a fork in the road as to its future agenda and theoretical identity: should it limit itself essentially to chronicling anomalous occurrences within a fundamentally Waltzian paradigm, or try to map new rules of state behaviour on a scale that ultimately calls the primacy of Waltz's 'systemic imperatives' into question?
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Author: Peter Lawler
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: The idea of the State as embodying moral virtue has a long, mostly inwardly focussed history. In international relations thought, sporadic Liberal explorations of the state as a 'good international citizen' have been vulnerable to Realist scepticism or dismissal. The Cold War's end saw a revival of Liberal enthusiasm for the Good State, but the translation of this into the foreign policies of key Western states generated new lines of critique focussing on the underlying universalism. Drawing upon aspects of much less-discussed Scandinavian internationalist discourse, the possibility of a more modest, open and thus sustainable understanding of the Good State is explored.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Author: Christian Reus-Smit, Ian Clark
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Liberal internationalism represents a package of evolving and contending commitments, and this article traces the development within it of one practice with a longer history, namely the allocation of special responsibilities. Responsibilities are those things for which actors are held accountable and, internationally, these have negotiated between sovereign equality and material inequality, in search of a means of more effectively dealing with global problems. The definition of these responsibilities generates an intense politics and these are reviewed through the remit of the Security Council. The article considers the basis for the allocation of traditional special responsibilities for security to the Council and then tracks their extension in recent years to the issue of humanitarian protection. The vehicle for this has been the transformation of a practice about the use of the veto, towards one that calls for its non-use in humanitarian cases. This analysis of special responsibilities unsettles the separation between order and justice, and points to the challenges currently facing liberal internationalism.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Author: Andrew Phillips
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article contrasts the parallel \'wars on terror\' that liberal and authoritarian states have prosecuted since 9/11 to determine their broader significance for the pursuit of \'purposes beyond ourselves\' in an increasingly multi-polar world. While acknowledging that states rallied to defend their monopoly on legitimate violence after 9/11, I maintain that the ensuing \'wars on terror\' have simultaneously exacerbated longstanding disagreements between liberal and authoritarian states over the fundamental principles of international society. Under American leadership, liberal states have sought to eradicate jihadism through the transplantation of liberal values and institutions to Muslim-majority societies, countenancing sweeping qualifications of weak states\' sovereignty to advance this goal. Conversely, authoritarian states led by Russia and China have mounted a vigorous counter-offensive against both jihadism and liberal internationalist revisionism, harnessing counter-terrorism concerns to reassert illiberal internationalist conceptions of state sovereignty in response. Reflecting international division more than solidarity, the \'wars on terror\' have illuminated a deeper triangular struggle between revisionist liberal internationalism, jihadist anti-internationalism and illiberal authoritarian internationalism that will significantly complicate Western efforts to promote liberal values in coming decades.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Matt McDonald
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: While many of the contributions to this special issue focus on the content of internationalism and the dilemmas of ethical (state) action in world politics, this article focuses on the possibilities for internationalism to be meaningfully incorporated into state foreign policy. Here, my concern is with the extent to which a commitment to internationalism might be conceived as legitimate at the domestic level. In international relations, constructivists have come closest to directly addressing the domestic constraints and possibilities associated with foreign policy agenda. Theorists working in this tradition, however, have largely worked with binary logics (structure/agency, material/ideational, continuity/change) that emphasise one set of factors over another. Building on insights from the recent \'practice turn\' in international relations, this article employs the work of Pierre Bourdieu in an attempt to transcend these binaries and develop a more nuanced and sophisticated sociological account of political possibility. I suggest the utility of his conceptions of field, habitus, capital and symbolic power in coming to terms with both possibilities for and limits to internationalism as a foreign policy orientation. I illustrate the utility of this framework with the example of Australia\'s retreat from internationalism under the Rudd Government from 2007 to 2010.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Richard Shapcott
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: While advocates of liberal internationalism have traditionally identified the state as an agent of progressive transformation of the international realm, they have had less to say about the specific domestic mechanisms that might govern the foreign policies of \'good\' states. This article argues that domestic constitutions provide both a legal limit on the actions of governments and other actors, and also the means whereby citizens can pursue legal redress against the state. They therefore play a potentially constraining role that is different from that provided by the embedding of cosmopolitan law in transnational and international legal codes and norms. Transformed in this way, states become powerful agents for achieving cosmopolitan purposes and ultimately transforming world order.
  • Topic: International Relations