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  • Author: Harmonie Toros, Luca Mavelli
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article explores how the violence against Afghan civilians carried out by the Taliban and US 'rogue' soldiers has been accounted for as the product of, respectively, collective evil and individual pathology. These two seemingly contending explanations, it is argued, are part of the same strategy of depoliticization, which aims to provide support and legitimacy for the US-led war in Afghanistan. The article discusses how the genealogy of the discourse of collective evil surrounding the Taliban can be traced to an Orientalist political theodicy, which frames the Taliban as 'children of a lesser God' – that is, as fanatical puppets at the mercy of a violent God – and how the discourse of individual pathology surrounding the unsanctioned violence of US soldiers is instrumental to exempt military and civilian leadership from collusion and responsibility. The article challenges this latter narrative of individual blame by discussing how killing, torture and desecration of bodies are at the heart of warfare. Hence, it is concluded, the language of collective evil and individual pathology are part of the same strategy of depoliticization, which aims to silence political contestation and conceal the dehumanizing aspect of war, its structural production of violence, and the complex and dispersed nature of responsibility.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Jasper Humphreys, M. L. R. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Counter-poaching operations in South Africa's so-called 'rhino wars' have seen increasing use of kinetic strategies and tactics. It can be argued that this follows the country's historical tendency to react to threats with confrontation in the first instance rather than negotiation, as leaders invoke images of 'backs-to-the-wall' isolation. During the apartheid period the National Party strongly promoted patriotism and self-sacrifice, portraying South Africa as facing 'total onslaught'; today, the rhetoric of 'rhino wars' is often framed in similar terms, not least because the person leading the rhinoceros counter-poaching campaign, Major General Johan Jooste (retired), was himself heavily involved in the 'apartheid wars' in the latter half of the twentieth century.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Rosaleen Duffy
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Conserving biodiversity is a central environmental concern, and conservationists increasingly talk in terms of a 'war' to save species. International campaigns present a specific image: that parks agencies and conservation NGOs are engaged in a continual battle to protect wildlife from armies of highly organized criminal poachers who are financially motivated. The war to save biodiversity is presented as a legitimate war to save critically endangered species such as rhinos, tigers, gorillas and elephants. This is a significant shift in approach since the late 1990s, when community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) and participatory techniques were at their peak. Since the early 2000s there has been a re-evaluation of a renewed interest in fortress conservation models to protect wildlife, including by military means. Yet, as Lunstrum notes, there is a dearth of research on 'green militarization', a process by which military approaches and values are increasingly embedded in conservation practice.
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Arnulf Becker Lorca
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Conventionally, self-determination is understood to have evolved in a linear progression from a political principle during World War I into an international right after World War II. The history of the right to self-determination before 1945 is thus part of 'pre-history'. This article explores that 'pre-history' and finds the conventional linear narrative unconvincing. During the first three decades of the 20th century and in particular during the interwar period, non-Western lawyers, politicians, and activists articulated international law claims to support the demand for self-government. In this process, they appropriated and transformed the international law discourse. Removing the legal obstacles that prevented self-government beyond the West – that is, by eliminating the standard of civilization – interwar semi-peripherals made possible the emergence of a right to self-determination later, when the international political context changed after the second post-war reconstruction of international law.
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Author: David Roth-Isigkeit
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: That positivism is not the promised land of legal methods has become a truism among critical international lawyers. All too often the proclaimed objectivity, neutrality and science has turned out to be intertwined with ideology and domination. In line with the historical-economic turn of the Helsinki school, Monica García-Salmones Rovira's book The Project of Positivism in International Law finds the historical roots of positivism deeply embedded in the development of a global neo-liberal economy. The economic foundations of the method are unearthed with two intellectual biographies of its founding fathers, Lassa Oppenheim and Hans Kelsen, whose life projects have so far escaped critical scrutiny. The book weaves into these two biographical studies the story of international law as a pragmatist and scientific project that freed the discipline from the tradition of natural law to become a servant of global economic interests.
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Author: Milan Kuhli
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The book The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials – edited by Kevin Jon Heller and Gerry Simpson – is a compilation of 21 contributions to a conference convened in Melbourne at the end of 2010. The project aims at a scholarly recovery of accounts of war crimes trials that were ‘either neglected or under-rehearsed’ (at 1) in the discipline of international criminal law. Accordingly, the contributions tell ‘stories about familiar but under-explored and misunderstood landmarks in the conventional history of international criminal law’ as well as about trials that have been less analysed in this field (at 1). Gregory S. Gordon’s illustrative chapter on the trial of Peter von Hagenbach (chapter 2) is a story of the first kind, whereas Benjamin E. Brockman-Hawe’s comprehensive account of the Franco-Siamese tribunal for the Colonial Era (chapter 3) exemplifies the latter type.
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Ethics International Affairs is pleased to announce the publication of its fall 2014 issue.This issue features an essay by Mark Osiel on identifying the perpetrators of atrocity crimes; a centennial roundtable on climate change featuring Stephen M. Gardiner, Scott Russell Sanders, Paul Wapner, Clive Hamilton, Clare Palmer, Daniel Mittler, and Thomas E. Lovejoy; a feature article by Christian Enemark on "Drones, Risk, and Perpetual Force"; a review essay by Sir Richard Jolly on global governance; and book reviews.
  • Topic: Climate Change, War, Governance
  • Author: Trygve Throntveit
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: “This is what happens when democracies try to take advantage of their historical advantages,” writes David Runciman. “They mess up” (p. 273). In The Confidence Trap, Runciman draws on Alexis de Tocqueville's analysis of nineteenth-century American democracy to assess the strengths and diagnose the ills that have beset mature democratic societies from the early twentieth century to the present. The result is a clear and plausible articulation of democracy's central dilemma, paired with a far less definite treatment of its implications for the conduct of public affairs, either in the past or today.
  • Topic: War, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Hassan Mneimneh
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After more than three years of corrosive wars, Syria no longer exists as a nation-state. It has been replaced by disparate entities and precarious arrangements – to the detriment of the Syrian population. The 'Divided States of Syria' are in large part the result of the survival strategy of the regime, aided by the futile pursuit of a 'political solution' by the international community. As the tragedy deepens, the recovery of Syria becomes more difficult, and the implications for regional stability increase in gravity. The West – the United States in particular – has abstained from forceful engagement. Yet, the price to pay today may in retrospect pale in light of the political, strategic and moral catastrophes that the current reserved approach is enabling.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
  • Author: Matthew J. Dickinson
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In his study of the leadership style exhibited by six presidents, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln, Fred Greenstein applies the analytic scheme he first unveiled in The Presidential Difference to explain how the decisions that these men made in the critical period 1846–1861 led to the Civil War. Greenstein argues that their actions, beginning with Polk's ill-fated decision to provoke a war with Mexico, formed a funnel of causality that increasingly limited the options of their successors when dealing with the slavery issue, so that when Lincoln took office, it was impossible to keep the Union together short of military conflict. In addition to addressing a significant period in American history, Greenstein's choice of topic has the added virtue of shining a spotlight on a group of presidents who, with the exception of Lincoln, tend to be overlooked in the history books. To be sure, this is not a revisionist study; Greenstein's analysis is unlikely to change anyone's assessment of these six presidents in terms of their historical rankings (although I admit to coming away with a slightly greater appreciation for Millard Fillmore's presidency).
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America