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Chapter

Cover The Politics of International Law

11. International humanitarian law  

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.

Chapter

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

11. The Arab–Israeli Conflict  

Charles Smith

This chapter deals with the most central and contentious security issue in the international relations of the modern Middle East: the conflict between Arab states and Israel. It traces the characteristics of the Arab–Israel conflict and how these have changed over time. It also demonstrates how both realism and identity politics have informed the position of different parties to the conflict. The chapter explains how the 1967 war or the Arab–Israel conflict was as much about Arab identity and leadership as it was about the struggle with Israel, even at its high point. It shows how from 1948 to the present, the unresolved Palestinian question has remained at the heart of debates about regional relations, even as more Arab states have signed accords with Israel.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

6. The Problem of Coherence in the European Union’s International Relations  

Carmen Gebhard

This chapter examines the problem of coherence in the European Union's international relations. The EU consists of an extremely complex system of institutional structures. One of the implications of this complexity is coherence, or the ambition and necessity to bring the various parts of the EU's external relations together to increase strategic convergence and ensure procedural efficiency. The chapter first provides a historical overview of the concept of coherence and the debates around it before discussing different conceptual dimensions of coherence. It then describes the neutral, benign, and malign ‘faces’ that coherence assumes in political and academic debates. Based on this conceptual framework, the chapter explores the current legal basis of the Treaty of Lisbon as well as the EU's comprehensive approach to external action in crises and conflicts as one of the key political initiatives aimed at fostering the objectives laid down in primary law.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

17. Middle East Conflicts in the 1980s  

This chapter focuses on conflicts in the Middle East during the 1980s. Despite the Camp David settlement, peace remained elusive in the Middle East. An Egyptian–Israeli settlement could neither resolve the conflict between Israel and the Arab states nor bring stability and peace to the region. Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin had achieved a limited peace for Egypt. Egypt, for its part, had abandoned the myth of Arab unity between the competing states of the region and pursued national interests. However, other conflicts were taking place in the region, including those arising from the Lebanese Civil War, which added to the fundamental failure to deal with the Palestinian Question. The chapter first considers Israel’s invasion of Lebanon before discussing the Arab–Israeli conflict and the Palestinian Question, the Iran–Iraq war of 1980–8, and the accusation of the US, that Libya was a supporter of ‘international terrorism’.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

9. Natural resources, security, and conflicts  

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

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

13. The Rise and Fall of the Oslo Peace Process  

Avi Shlaim

This chapter examines the landmark series of negotiations between Arabs and Israelis in the early 1990s, culminating in the Oslo accords (1993), which marked the first and so far, the only sustained effort at peaceful resolution of the Arab–Israeli conflict. These events, which dominated the regional panorama and captured the international imagination, assist one's understanding not only of the nature and direction of Middle East politics, but also their positioning within the emerging international order as outlined by then US President George H. W. Bush. At first, it seemed that the accords, in reconciling the two major parties to the conflict — the Israelis and the Palestinians — were a demonstration of an emerging and more liberal international system. Yet the fragility of this system, in the Middle East as elsewhere, was soon exposed.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

24. Identity Politics and Clashing Cultures  

Tom Kirk, Tim Allen, and John Eade

This chapter explores the rise of identity-based explanations for domestic politics and international conflicts in the 1990s, before turning to the War on Terror and its affects. An influential view of the current global situation is that there is a clash of civilizations or cultures, especially between Islam and the West. This idea has been reinforced by terrorist atrocities in the United States and elsewhere, and by the so-called War on Terror. Conceptualizing cultures as in conflict has origins in older ideas about nationalism and ethnicity, which have had a tendency to absorb or euphemize racist attitudes to outsiders. Several well-known scholars have been scathing about the clash of civilizations thesis, but there is no doubt that the argument has profoundly affected national and international agendas, and helps explain the rise of morally populist, nationalistic, and isolationist policies in many countries. The clash of civilizations also relates more specifically to concerns in the US about its position in the world, and its declining capacity to shape global agendas.

Chapter

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

7. Law, Politics, and the Use of Force  

Justin Morris

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

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

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.

Chapter

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

4. The Middle East Since the Cold War: Movement without Progress  

Bahgat Korany

This chapter focuses on the Middle East during the post-Cold-War era. It introduces some the key themes that have come to dominate contemporary international relations of the Middle East: oil; new and old conflicts; the impacts of globalization; and religio-politics. In considering the major security patterns and trends in the Middle East, one finds a number of enduring issues, such as the Arab–Israeli conflict and border disputes. At the same time, one can see elements of change, both within these conflicts and with the emergence of recent threats, such as Iranian nuclearization, with profound consequences for regional alliance structures. As old and new security issues mingle in the geopolitical order, events of the past few years reflect a region dominated by conflict clusters. It is no surprise then that the Middle East remains a highly militarized region.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

2. Theories of Democratization  

Christian Welzel

This chapter examines the factors that have been proposed as determinants when, where, and why democratization happens. Several of these factors are synthesized into a broader framework that describes human empowerment as an evolutionary force channelling the intentions and strategies of actors towards democratic outcomes. The chapter first provides an overview of the nature and origin of democracy before discussing how democracy and democratization are affected by social divisions and distributional equality as well as modernization, international conflicts, regime alliances, elite pacts, mass mobilization, state repression, colonial legacies, religious traditions, and institutional configurations. The chapter concludes by presenting a typology of democratization processes, which includes responsive democratization, enlightened democratization, opportunistic democratization, and imposed democratization.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of International Law

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.