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Chapter

Tim Allen and Tom Kirk

This chapter illustrates the nature of current wars and armed conflicts and explores contemporary responses to them. Whatever criteria are used for war or armed conflict, it is clear that large numbers of people are impoverished by them, and globally the numbers of those affected is not declining. There are characteristics of contemporary wars and armed conflicts that make non-combatants especially vulnerable. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been important initiatives aimed at controlling wars, and at alleviating their effects, but the effects have been limited, and controversial. Particularly since 2001, there are has been a marked tendency for high levels of insecurity to spread across borders and take on global dynamics. In large parts of the world, enhancing security remains a key challenge in alleviating poverty and is a prerequisite for achieving development goals.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the relationship between the environment and security. The concept of ‘environmental security’ is omnipresent, but is nonetheless ambiguous and contested. What exactly needs to be secured, and what are the security threats? Is environmental security about state security, faced with the loss of natural resources? Or is it about protecting individuals and communities from environmental degradation and reduced access to key environmental resources? A first step in clarifying these questions is to disentangle two related but distinct causal arguments. In the relationship between environment and security, environmental degradation can be analysed either as a cause or as a consequence of security issues. A second step needed to clarify these debates is to adopt clear definitions. In the context of international relations, security has traditionally been understood in relation to the survival of the state, and the main threats to state security are armed conflicts. For the purpose of this chapter, conflicts are defined as any type of disagreement. The chapter also examines the impact of conflicts on the environment.

Chapter

This chapter investigates whether and how the laws that govern armed conflict achieve their objective of minimizing the suffering of combatants and non-combatants alike. International humanitarian law (IHL) reflects the tensions of an international legal order that oscillates between the apologist tendency to reflect state practice and state self-interest and the utopian desire to reflect higher values of justice and human dignity. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the evolution of this body of law, the codification of which dates from the second half of the nineteenth century. It then turns to the question of terminology, analysing the political origins and legal implications of the relatively recent term ‘international humanitarian law’. The chapter focuses on two key questions. Firstly, who or what is a legitimate target during an armed conflict? Secondly, what are legitimate means of conducting armed conflict? The chapter also considers the status of nuclear weapons under international law, a topic that captures well both the possibilities and limits of IHL.

Book

Edited by Alan Collins

Contemporary Security Studies provides an introduction to Security Studies. It features a wide breadth and depth of coverage of the different theoretical approaches to the study of security and the ever-evolving range of issues that dominate the security agenda in the twenty-first century. In addition to covering a large range of topical security issues, from terrorism and inter-state armed conflict to cyber-security, health, and transnational crime, the fifth edition features updated coverage of the on-going Syrian crisis, the deepening crisis effecting Liberal Internationalism and, while early in his term of office, President Trump’s stamp on international security. Throughout, readers are encouraged to question their own preconceptions and assumptions, and to use their own judgement to critically evaluate key approaches and ideas. To help them achieve this, each chapter is punctuated with helpful learning features including ‘key ideas’, ‘think points’ and case studies, demonstrating the real world applications and implications of the theory.

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

Amitav Acharya and Jiajie He

This chapter examines the limitations and problems of strategic studies with respect to security challenges in the global South. It first considers the ethnocentrism that bedevils strategic studies and international relations before discussing mainstream strategic studies during the cold war. It then looks at whether strategic studies kept up with the changing pattern of conflict, where the main theatre is the non-Western world, with particular emphasis on the decline in armed conflicts after the end of the cold war, along with the problem of human security and how it has been impacted by technology. It also explores the issue of whether to take into account non-military threats in strategic studies and the debates over strategic culture and grand strategy in China and India. It concludes by proposing Global International Relations as a new approach to strategic studies that seeks to adapt to the strategic challenges and responses of non-Western countries.

Chapter

19. Strategic Studies  

The West and the Rest

Amitav Acharya and Jiajie He

This chapter examines the limitations and problems of strategic studies with respect to security challenges in the global South. It first considers the ethnocentrism that bedevils strategic studies and international relations before discussing mainstream strategic studies during the cold war. It then looks at whether strategic studies has kept up with the changing pattern of conflict, where the main theatre is the non-Western world, with particular emphasis on the decline in armed conflicts after the end of the cold war, along with the problem of human security and how it has been impacted by technology. The chapter also explores the issue of whether to take into account non-military threats in strategic studies and the debates over strategic culture and grand strategy in China and India. It concludes by proposing Global International Relations as a new approach to strategic studies that seeks to adapt to the strategic challenges and responses of non-Western countries.

Book

Edited by Alan Collins

Contemporary Security Studies provides an introduction to Security Studies. It features a wide breadth and depth of coverage of the different theoretical approaches to the study of security and the ever-evolving range of issues that dominate the security agenda in the twenty-first century. In addition to covering a large range of topical security issues, from terrorism and inter-state armed conflict to cyber-security, health, and transnational crime, the sixth edition features an examination of popular culture and its implications for security, as well as coverage of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout, readers are encouraged to question their own preconceptions and assumptions, and to use their own judgement to critically evaluate key approaches and ideas. To help them achieve this, each chapter is punctuated with helpful learning features including ‘key ideas’, ‘think points’ and case studies, demonstrating the real-world applications and implications of the theory.

Chapter

This chapter examines the place of international law in international politics, with particular emphasis on whether legal constraint is effective in averting or limiting the use of force by states. It begins with a discussion of the efficacy of international law in regulating the behaviour of states, focusing on the so-called perception–reality gap in international law. It then considers various reasons why states obey the law, from fear of coercion to self-interest and perceptions of legitimacy. It also explores the role and status of breaches of international law in international politics as well as the functions of the two laws of armed conflict, namely, jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Finally, it analyses the apparent paradox of legal constraint on warfare in relation to power politics and the mitigatory effects of norms governing the conduct of war.

Chapter

This chapter examines the place of international law in international politics, with particular emphasis on whether legal constraint is effective in averting or limiting the use of force by states. It begins with a discussion of the efficacy of international law in regulating the behaviour of states, focusing on the so-called perception–reality gap in international law. It then considers various reasons why states obey the law, from fear of coercion to self-interest and perceptions of legitimacy. It also explores the role and status of breaches of international law in international politics as well as the functions of the two laws of armed conflict, namely, jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Finally, it analyses the apparent paradox of legal constraint on warfare in relation to power politics and the mitigatory effects of norms governing the conduct of war.