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Chapter

K. M. Fierke

This chapter examines the key debates that have shaped the development of constructivism in International Relations (IR). It first considers the idea that international relations is a social construction, as it emerged from the critique of more traditional theories of IR. It then explores the distinctions among various constructivisms, with particular emphasis on the contrast between those who seek a ‘better’ social science, and hence better theory, versus those who argue that constructivism is an approach that rests on assumptions at odds with those of positivist method. The chapter proceeds by discussing constructivists' critique of rationalism, along with constructivism as a ‘middle ground’ between rationalist and poststructuralist approaches to IR. It also analyses the role of language and causality in the debate between rationalists and constructivists. Finally, it links all these insights to the War on Terror.

Chapter

This chapter examines the relevance of media and public opinion to our understanding of foreign policy and international politics. It first considers whether public opinion influences foreign policy formulation, as argued by the pluralist model, or whether the public are politically impotent, as argued by the elite model. It then explores whether the media can influence foreign policy formulation, as argued by the pluralist model, or whether the media are fundamentally subservient to the foreign policy process, as argued by the elite model. It also integrates these competing arguments with theoretical frames used in the study of international relations: namely, realism, liberalism, and critical approaches (including constructivism and post-structuralism). The chapter concludes by discussing contemporary debates concerning organized persuasive communication and the ‘war on terror’.

Chapter

This chapter examines the U.S. foreign policy process which encompasses the executive, Congress, and intelligence. It first considers American foreign policy as a primary agency of government adaptation before discussing the role of the executive as the lead agency of systemic evolution in response to foreign policy needs, taking into account the executive prerogative and judicial recognition of inherent executive power. It then describes the political and technical difficulties experienced by Congress in matching the executive in foreign policy. It also explores the ramifications of 9/11 and the war on terror for American foreign policy and concludes with an overview of U.S. foreign policy under Barack Obama.

Chapter

K. M. Fierke

This chapter examines the key debates that have shaped the development of constructivism in International Relations (IR). It first considers the idea that international relations is a social construction, as it emerged from the critique of more traditional theories of IR. It then explores the distinctions among various constructivisms, with particular emphasis on the contrast between those who seek a ‘better’ social science, and hence better theory, versus those who argue that constructivism is an approach that rests on assumptions at odds with those of positivist method. The chapter proceeds by discussing constructivists’ critique of rationalism, along with constructivism as a ‘middle ground’ between rationalist and poststructuralist approaches to IR. It also analyses the role of language and causality in the debate between rationalists and constructivists. Finally, it links all these insights to the War on Terror and the war on Covid-19.

Chapter

This chapter explores contemporary security in the Middle East by highlighting the nexus between the uses and justification of violence. Focusing on the post 9/11 reordering of the Middle East, it shows how state and non-state actors use the rhetoric of the ‘war on terror’ to depoliticize military interventions against political rivals. More specifically, it argues that such actors mobilize the politics of shame to contain and undermine their rivals. Such efforts are met with attempts to counter-shame and re-politicize the use of violence, producing a cycle of action and counter-action that seeks to legitimize and delegitimize competing visions of security and order in the Middle East. In this context, security and insecurity are two sides of the same coin that fluctuate according to the prevailing balance of power.

Chapter

Paul Rogers

This chapter examines how global terrorism, and particularly the war on terror, has shaped US foreign policy. It first provides an overview of the 9/11 terror attacks and definitions of terrorism before discussing the US experience of terrorism prior to 9/11 as well as the political environment in Washington at the time of the attacks. It then considers the response of the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the nature and aims of the al-Qaeda organization. It also reviews the conduct of the war on terror in its first nine years, along with the decline and transformation of al-Qaeda after 2010. Finally, it analyzes the options available to the United States in the war against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and like-minded groups.

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This chapter focuses on the ‘war on terror’ of the US and its involvement in the war in Afghanistan. In the later years of the twentieth century, Middle Eastern groups launched terrorist acts against Western targets. The advent of suicide bombers and groups like al-Qaeda changed the relationships between means and ends in the use of terror. The end of the Cold War severely undermined the effectiveness of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in gathering intelligence on terrorists. The chapter first provides an overview of terrorism prior to 9/11, before discussing George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’, the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan during the period 2001–3 and its revival, and the problem of Pakistan. It concludes with an assessment of Barack Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan.

Chapter

Astri Suhrke, Torunn Wimpelmann, and Ingrid Samset

This chapter analyses patterns of violent conflict in the developing world since the onset of decolonization. It examines shifts in how scholars and policymakers have understood such conflicts, and how these understandings have informed dynamics of foreign interventions and the international peace-building regime that developed in the 1990s. After providing an overview of decolonization and its aftermath, the chapter considers conflicts over social order during the Cold War as well as the nature of conflicts in the post-Cold-War period. It also discusses new forces that shaped conflict during the first decades of the twenty-first century, focusing on militant Islam and the ‘war on terror’, ‘people power’ and its aftermath, and the link between peace-building and military intervention in a multipolar world.

Chapter

Robert G. Patman

This chapter examines US foreign policy in Africa. It first considers the United States’ historical engagement with Africa, particularly during the Cold War era that saw the intensification of US–Soviet Union superpower rivalry, before discussing the rise of a New World Order in the immediate post–Cold War period that held out the possibility of positive US involvement in Africa. It then explores the United States’ adoption of a more realist approach after Somalia, as well as its renewal of limited engagement between 1996 and 2001. It also analyzes US policy towards Africa after 9/11, with emphasis on President George W. Bush’s efforts to incorporate Africa into Washington’s global strategic network as part of the new war on terror, as compared to the approach of the Obama administration calling for political transformation in Africa.

Chapter

12. War and law in the twenty-first century  

New threats and new approaches

This chapter explicates the various ways in which contemporary warfare challenges post-1945 international law on the use of force and the conduct of war. It begins by exploring the rules governing the use of force against non-state actors. This is one of the most pressing issues of the war on terror, much of which has involved military operations against terrorist groups operating from the territory of states that cannot or will not suppress their activities. In particular, campaigns by the US and several other states against ISIS in Syria have seriously undermined the international law framework governing self-defence and the right of states to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected. The chapter then looks at another trademark policy of the war on terror: the use of targeted killings, often carried out by unmanned drones, to eliminate suspected terrorists. It also considers a new type of warfare altogether: the emerging phenomenon of cyber warfare, which, too, has implications for both jus ad bellum and jus in bello.

Chapter

This chapter examines the influence of media and public opinion on U.S. foreign policy and vice versa. It considers the extent to which the media and public have been manipulated by the government, and the extent to which public opinion and media have shaped foreign policy during tumultuous times such as the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It also explores the consequences of public opinion and media for U.S. power in the twenty-first century. The chapter describes pluralist and elite models of the public opinion/ media/foreign policy nexus, long with public and media diplomacy. It concludes with a discussion of the extent to which developments in communication technology have empowered U.S. public opinion and media, as well as the impact of this technology on global U.S. power and influence, in particular in the context of the current war on terror.

Chapter

Michael Freeman

This chapter examines the concept of human rights, which derives primarily from the Charter of the United Nations adopted in 1945 immediately after World War II. It first provides a brief account of the history of the concept of human rights before describing the international human rights regime. It then considers two persistent problems that arise in applying the concept of human rights to the developing world: the relations between the claim that the concept is universally valid and the realities of cultural diversity around the world; and the relations between human rights and development. In particular, it explores cultural imperialism and cultural relativism, the human rights implications of the rise of political Islam and the so-called war on terror(ism), and globalization. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the new political economy of human rights.

Chapter

Robert G. Patman

This chapter examines the historical evolution of U.S. foreign policy in Africa. It first considers the history of U.S.–Africa relations, particularly during the Cold War era of U.S.–Soviet Union superpower rivalry. It then turns to the immediate post-Cold War era, in which a New World Order — a vision in which the United States and the United Nations could combine to establish freedom and respect for all nations — held out the possibility of positive U.S. involvement in Africa. It also discusses American policy towards Africa after 9/11, focusing on President George W. Bush’s efforts to incorporate Africa into Washington’s global strategic network as part of the new war on terror. The chapter concludes with an assessment of Barack Obama’s peace diplomacy as an approach to the civil war in Sudan.

Chapter

This chapter assesses the general concept of security and the way in which issues come to be ‘securitized’. The security of the sovereign state, in a system of states, and existing under conditions of anarchy, has been the traditional focus of studies in global or international politics. Security in this context has therefore been concerned largely with the threats that states pose to each other. Over the last few decades, however, the agenda for security in global politics has expanded, and so too has its conceptualization. The chapter looks at traditional approaches to security and insecurity, revisiting the Hobbesian state of nature and tracing security thinking in global politics through to the end of the Cold War. This is followed by a discussion of ideas about collective security as embodied in the UN, paying particular attention to the role of the Security Council and the issue of intervention in the post-Cold War period. This period has also seen the broadening of the security agenda to encompass concerns such as gender security, environmental security, cyber security, and the diffuse concept of ‘human security’. Finally, the chapter provides an overview of the ‘war on terror’, raising further questions concerning how best to deal with non-conventional security threats.

Chapter

Lee Marsden

This chapter examines the influence of religion on US foreign policy. It first considers how religion affected American policy during the Cold War, from the time of Harry S. Truman to George H. W. Bush, before discussing the bilateral relationship between Israel and the United States. It then looks at the rise of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a US-based interest group, and how its work has been complemented by conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists who ascribe to Christian Zionism. It also explores the ways in which religion has intersected with the global war on terror and US foreign policy, how the US resorted to faith-based diplomacy, the issue of religious freedom, and George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Africa. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs (ORGA), created by Barack Obama.

Chapter

Nathan P. Jones

This chapter defines transnational crime and other key concepts. It first defines transnational crime and transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). It covers the rise of transnational crime with a focus on TCOs, their ‘new’ (networks) and ‘old’ (markets and hierarchies) organizational forms, and other useful concepts in the study of transnational crime. Second, it discusses the crime–terror debates, as criminal groups often utilize political violence for their profit-seeking ends, and terror groups use criminal activities for fundraising. It then moves on to explore the relationship between transnational organized crime (TOC) and the state, and the implications for global and national security of states. It provides a case study of TCOs in Mexico that illustrates many of the trends in organized crime since the end of the Cold War to the present. Finally, the chapter addresses how the international community has combatted transnational criminal actors as they become more powerful and increasingly diversify their revenue streams.

Chapter

Paul Rogers

This chapter examines the U.S. response to global terrorism, starting with the United States’ experience of terrorism prior to 9/11 as well as the political environment in Washington at the time of the attacks. It then considers U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush and the response of his administration in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the nature and aims of the al-Qaeda movement. It also discusses the Arab Spring, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the conduct of the war on terror in the first nine years. Finally, it assesses the options available to the United States in what came to be called the ‘Long War against Islamofascism’.