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International Relations

Impact factor: 0.673 Print ISSN: 0047-1178 Publisher: Sage Publications

Subject: International Relations

Most recent papers:

  • Who f(o)unded IR: American philanthropies and the discipline of International Relations in Europe.
    Kuru, D.
    International Relations. November 14, 2016

    This article aims to present a history of International Relations (IR) that looks at the role of three big American foundations (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Rockefeller, and Ford foundations) in the development of IR as an academic field in continental Europe. Its framework goes beyond the usual disciplinary history narratives that focus on IR’s US or UK trajectories, pointing instead to American foundations’ interwar and early post–World War II influence on French and German IR. The cases emphasize US foundations’ interactions with European scholars and international scholarly organizations as major factors shaping IR’s developmental pathways. This study offers a way to consider foundations’ role in IR’s gradual academic institutionalization by connecting disciplinary historical approaches to disciplinary sociology. Its sociologically conscious position underlines the significance of American philanthropies in a historical narrative and recognizes the relevance of transnational dynamics by going beyond usual emphases on ideas and national contexts.

    November 14, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816676307   open full text
  • Al-Qaedas grievances in context: Reconciling sharia and society.
    Holbrook, D.
    International Relations. November 07, 2016

    At a time when political debate in the West is preoccupied with the perceived impact of extremist ideas on individuals who embrace or support terrorism, this article uses the publicly articulated grievances of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s most prolific ideologue, as a case study to examine how a globally focused and distributed extremist narrative matches political realities on the ground. The approach of the article is to compare two political processes: the approach of Islamist extremists, as represented by Zawahiri, to constitutional reform as articulated through public appeals to potential supporters versus the reality of constitutional amendments and evolution of fundamental law in the Middle East and South Asia. Incorporating insights from studies on law and society and International Relations, the article demonstrates how Zawahiri’s interpretation of religious law emphasises wholesale adoption of sharia while the process of legal reform has invariably resulted in the creation of legal hybrids, mixing Islamic and non-Islamic legal traditions. This is not an article about theology or religious law but an effort to dissect the public relations of an international terrorist movement. The analysis pays particular attention to events in Zawahiri’s native Egypt, where evolving grievances concerning a series of constitutional amendments – including those following the Arab revolutions and the toppling of Mohammed Morsi – are assessed.

    November 07, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816676308   open full text
  • Disruption and deniable interventionism: Explaining the appeal of covert action and Special Forces in contemporary British policy.
    Cormac, R.
    International Relations. July 28, 2016

    The United Kingdom has long engaged in covert action. It continues to do so today. Owing to the secrecy involved, however, such activity has consistently been excluded from debates about Britain’s global role, foreign and security policy and military planning: an important lacuna given the controversy, risk, appeal and frequency of covert action. Examining when, how and why covert action is used, this article argues that contemporary covert action has emerged from, and is shaped by, a specific context. First, a gap exists between Britain’s perceived global responsibilities and its actual capabilities; policy elites see covert action as able to resolve, or at least conceal, this. Second, intelligence agencies can shape events proactively, especially at the tactical level, while flexible preventative operations are deemed well suited to the range of fluid threats currently faced. Third, existing Whitehall machinery makes covert action viable. However, current covert action is smaller scale and less provocative today than in the early Cold War; it revolves around ‘disruption’ operations. Despite being absent from the accompanying debates, this role was recognised in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which placed intelligence actors at the heart of British thinking.

    July 28, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659532   open full text
  • South Africa and the Responsibility to Protect: From champion to sceptic.
    Smith, K.
    International Relations. July 25, 2016

    This article provides an overview of the South African government’s evolving position on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). While the country was an advocate of R2P in the run-up to the 2005 United Nations (UN) World Summit and the related idea of non-indifference in Africa, its conduct while serving as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and subsequent developments have raised questions about its continued commitment to these principles. In particular, Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya proved to be a turning point. It is argued that while South Africa continues to support the broad idea of civilian protection, it is in favour of a consultative, regional approach and has become increasingly critical of what it views as the selective application and militarisation of the R2P. In trying to make sense of the apparent contradictions in South Africa’s position, it is necessary to situate the debate against the background of broader tensions in its foreign policy, particularly around the promotion of human rights. These, in turn, are linked to divergent and multiple foreign policy identities that the post-apartheid state is still coming to terms with.

    July 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659596   open full text
  • India and the Responsibility to Protect.
    Ganguly, S.
    International Relations. July 25, 2016

    India, though a working democracy, has adopted an ambivalent stance toward the genesis and evolution of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. This article traces India’s views toward the earlier principle of humanitarian intervention, outlines its reactions toward the advent of the norm, and discusses India’s positions on the attempts to apply it to recent international crises. It then argues that India’s cautious support for the principle stems in part from concerns about its potential abuse in the hands of the great powers, post-colonial concerns about the diminution of the norm of state sovereignty, and finally, its own domestic vulnerabilities in the protection of human rights.

    July 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659593   open full text
  • The origins and evolution of R2P at the UN.
    Cater, C., Malone, D. M.
    International Relations. July 25, 2016

    This article situates the emergence of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept, later accepted by many as a principle, in the wider flow of events following on the end of the Cold War. Among the hallmarks of change in the United Nations (UN) Security Council as of the early 1990s, in stark contrast to the Council’s preoccupations during its first four decades of activity, was its growing attention to humanitarian considerations relating to conflict, its new willingness to tackle conflicts (mainly internal ones) it might have avoided earlier, and its willingness to experiment with new approaches to resolving them. Just as worries over terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction were to become dominant themes in its work, the humanitarian imperative also incrementally wove itself into the fabric of the Council’s decision-making. It is against this wider backdrop and that of several spectacular UN failures to prevent genocide and other mass humanitarian distress that UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Kofi Annan was impelled as of 1999 to look beyond existing international law and practice for a new normative framework, that while formally respecting the sovereignty of states nevertheless elevated humanitarian concerns and action to the level of an international responsibility to prevent the worst outcomes. Today R2P finds itself competing with other legal and diplomatic principles, but it remains a potent platform for advocacy and, at times, for action by the UN.

    July 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659586   open full text
  • Harmonizing 'Responsibility to Protect: Chinas vision of a post-sovereign world.
    Kozyrev, V.
    International Relations. July 25, 2016

    This article examines the recent evolution of China’s policies toward the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept in the context of a changing international environment. As an example of an emerging ‘non-Western’ alternative to the existing normative consensus, the Chinese perception of the norm reflects the nature of the ongoing new East–West divide and is derived from Beijing’s new vision of a future world order and China’s role in it. In 2001–2011, China supported R2P as a new mechanism to revise Western practices of humanitarian interventionism and to contribute to a changing multilateral global international legal order exemplifying China’s new status as a responsible ‘global citizen’. When the R2P norm was politicized by the West as part of its global democratic interventionist policies of 2005–2014, China’s predominantly globalist vision of the international rule of law was replaced by its predominantly security-driven approach. This perspective, while recognizing the ongoing globalization of sovereignty, calls for a ‘right balance between justice and interest’ by the international community and denies the traditional Western leadership in the norm-making process. The Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders believe that the future evolution of the R2P concept should meet China’s strategic interests, including its global order-forming and institution-building initiatives. Efforts to operationalize the R2P norm will have to take this factor into account.

    July 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659589   open full text
  • New national organization of Europe: Nationalism and minority rights after the end of the Cold War.
    Jutila, M.
    International Relations. July 21, 2016

    Post–Cold War Europe witnessed the resurgence of different forms of nationalism and also the re-establishment of a minority rights regime. At the surface level, rights of national minorities seem to undermine nationalism as a political organization principle, but on a closer investigation the relationship between the two is more complex. This article uses insights from the English school’s theorizing on primary and secondary institutions to investigate the relationship between the primary institution of nationalism and secondary institution of minority rights regime. After a brief discussion of nationalism as a primary institution and its influence on the implementation of universal human rights, this article presents a detailed study of the minority rights regime analysing how it challenges, transforms and reproduces nationalism as a primary institution of contemporary European society of states.

    July 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659531   open full text
  • Brazil and R2P: A case of agency and norm entrepreneurship in the Global South.
    Stuenkel, O.
    International Relations. July 21, 2016

    This article questions the still broadly accepted notion that the global debate about Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is divided into a Western (or Northern) ‘pro-R2P’ camp and a non-Western (or Southern) ‘anti-R2P camp’. In the same way, the relatively broadly accepted assertion that R2P is a Western concept overlooks the important contributions developing countries have made in the creation of the norm. Brazil’s stance vis-à-vis R2P, analyzed in this article, is a powerful example of this reality, and the country has, in the past years, temporarily assumed leadership in the discussion about how to strengthen the norm. Paradoxically, Brazil’s move was widely seen as obstructionist. This points to a broader bias that tends observers not to grant non-Western powers the same agency in the creation of rules and norms. The ongoing multipolarization will force observers to correct this vision, as countries in the Global South such as China will be increasingly able to ‘act upon’ R2P, a capacity that so far has been reserved for established powers.

    July 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659594   open full text
  • Can the International Criminal Court contribute to the Responsibility to Protect?
    Schiff, B. N.
    International Relations. July 21, 2016

    The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm asserts that states have duties beyond their borders to help avoid, respond to, and prevent recurrence of circumstances that produce massive human rights violations. Actions undertaken to implement those duties can include aid, reform, or more muscular involvements. The need for such engagement implies that the target state’s government is losing or has lost its legitimacy. Labeling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of a conflict as a ‘situation’ under its purview asserts that large-scale crimes are likely taking place for which individuals should be held accountable. This should trigger R2P considerations. However, the fit between R2P and the ICC is uncomfortable. Although the ICC may appear a useful tool for R2P, forays into the politics of R2P by the ICC are undertaken at its peril. Moreover, so far, the ICC has not clearly had positive effects upon conflict. While the ICC can be idealized as a contributor to R2P, coordination is formally non-existent and the Court’s protection effects are ambiguous.

    July 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659587   open full text
  • Critical perspectives on the Responsibility to Protect: BRICS and beyond.
    Ziegler, C. E.
    International Relations. July 18, 2016

    The articles in this Special Issue derive from a conference on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) held under the auspices of the Center for American and Global Security at Indiana University–Bloomington, 15–16 May 2015. The studies in this issue variously explore the development of the R2P in the United Nations, assess the role of the International Criminal Court in bringing perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice, introduce a territorial dimension to R2P, and elucidate the current position of non-Western emerging countries, specifically the BRICS, on R2P. The most ardent advocates of the doctrine tend to be from the major English-speaking liberal democracies, although prominent African statesmen were also instrumental in promoting the concept. The Libyan experience prompted a reassessment of R2P, magnifying suspicions that the norm may be simply a Western strategy for enhancing influence and effecting regime change. The idea of state sovereignty as responsibility domestically, and the possibility of international assistance to regimes struggling to protect vulnerable populations, has widespread support in the non-Western world. Coercive measures against predatory regimes are not rejected wholesale, but the BRICS are suspicious of Western motives in advocating forcible intervention and justifiably skeptical that such interventions will do more good than harm.

    July 18, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659533   open full text
  • The spear point and the ground beneath: Territorial constraints on the logic of Responsibility to Protect.
    Waters, T. W.
    International Relations. July 18, 2016

    The doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) faces considerable criticism, of both its inefficacy – its failure to describe an effective pathway around the obstacles to humanitarian intervention in the sclerotic global security system – and its overreach, especially the risk that it enables pretextual agendas of intervention and regime change. Yet neither defenders nor critics have paid much attention to another possibility or risk incumbent in R2P: the likelihood, once intervention is undertaken, that the interveners themselves will be involved in a conflict over territory, whose likely solutions will include, not simply regime change, but partition. The doctrine as we now have it, built thoroughly on a state-centric logic, does not engage with this question, and indeed there are strategic reasons for ignoring the issue: acknowledging such a quality would be too much for R2P’s supporters to admit or its critics to accept. But whatever our normative orientation toward this rising or stumbling doctrine, we ought to be clear about where taking it seriously is really likely to lead us: sooner or later – and more often than we might wish to acknowledge – R2P interventions will force us to confront the logic of partition.

    July 18, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816659588   open full text
  • A comparative analysis of Chinese urban citizens attitudes towards the EU, the United States, Russia and Japan.
    van der Noll, J., Dekker, H.
    International Relations. June 15, 2016

    What are the attitudes towards the European Union (EU), the United States, Russia and Japan among Chinese urban citizens, and how can we explain these attitudes? These are the intriguing questions that we want to answer in this article. The image, social identity, trust, and political socialization theories proposed the various explanatory variables. We assessed their explanatory powers by analysing survey data from more than 2000 Chinese urban citizens. Most empirical evidence is found for the image theory: positive perceptions of the people (trustworthy and peaceful) and the bilateral relationship (friendly) clearly contribute to positive attitudes.

    June 15, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816649249   open full text
  • Why small states join big wars: The case of Sweden in Afghanistan 2002-2014.
    Noreen, E., Sjöstedt, R., Angström, J.
    International Relations. June 15, 2016

    The security behavior of small states has traditionally been explained by different takes of realism, liberalism, or constructivism – focusing on the behavior that aims toward safeguarding sovereignty or engaging in peace policies. The issue of why states with limited military capacities and little or no military alignments or engagements decide to participate in an international mission has received limited attention by previous research. In contrast, this article argues that a three-layered discursive model can make the choices of small states more precisely explained and thereby contribute to an increased understanding of small states’ security behavior beyond threat balancing and interdependence. Analyzing a deviant case of a non-aligned small state, this article explains why Sweden became increasingly involved in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. By focusing on the domestic political discourses regarding the Swedish involvement in this mission, it is suggested that a narrative shapes public perception of a particular policy and establishes interpretative dominance of how a particular event should be understood. This dominant domestic discourse makes a certain international behavior possible and even impossible to alter once established. In the Swedish case, it is demonstrated that this discourse assumed a ‘catch-all’ ambition, satisfying both domestic and international demands. In general terms, it should thus be emphasized that certain discourses and narratives are required in order to make it possible for a country to participate in a mission such as ISAF and prolong the mission for several years.

    June 15, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816651125   open full text
  • International Relations in the prison of Political Science.
    Rosenberg, J.
    International Relations. April 19, 2016

    In recent decades, the discipline of International Relations (IR) has experienced both dramatic institutional growth and unprecedented intellectual enrichment. And yet, unlike neighbouring disciplines such as Geography, Sociology, History and Comparative Literature, it has still not generated any ‘big ideas’ that have impacted across the human sciences. Why is this? And what can be done about it? This article provides an answer in three steps. First, it traces the problem to IR’s enduring definition as a subfield of Political Science. Second, it argues that IR should be re-grounded in its own disciplinary problematique: the consequences of (societal) multiplicity. And finally, it shows how this re-grounding unlocks the transdisciplinary potential of IR. Specifically, ‘uneven and combined development’ provides an example of an IR ‘big idea’ that could travel to other disciplines: for by operationalizing the consequences of multiplicity, it reveals the causal and constitutive significance of ‘the international’ for the social world as a whole.

    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117816644662   open full text
  • Normative Power Europe through trade: Vietnamese perceptions.
    Hoang, H. H.
    International Relations. January 04, 2016

    This article considers the perception of Normative Power Europe (NPE) through the eyes of Vietnam, measuring the degree to which an actor can successfully pursue a normative foreign policy. This article attempts to demonstrate that discussion on the European Union’s (EU) normative identity should include an investigation into the external perceptions of the EU. To become an NPE, the EU’s external partners should recognise it as a holder of norms and values, appreciate its role as a norm-diffuser and perceive the attractiveness of its norms. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Vietnamese government officials with professional experience in the field of trade relations with the EU to assess non-EU state elites’ perceptions of the EU’s identity. Vietnam’s policy-makers tend to acknowledge the norms that constitute the EU’s normative foundation, with particularly high consensus on those concerning economic liberalism. The EU’s economic and social norms are to some extent attractive for Vietnam and thus able to be adopted and adapted to the Vietnamese context.

    January 04, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0047117815619663   open full text
  • Chinas diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East: The quest for a great-power role in the region.
    Evron, Y.
    International Relations. December 21, 2015

    Since the early 2010s, there have been mounting calls in China to intensify its role in the Middle East. But seeing the region as highly turbulent, Beijing seems to restrain its political involvement there. So what role does China actually strive for in the Middle East? To answer this question, the article first presents China’s discourse on its future role in the region; next, it analyzes China’s involvement in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the Syrian civil war, focusing on three diplomatic initiatives it has made concerning these issues. The argument here is that China strives to be part of major processes in the Middle East and attempts to advance its values and interests there, but in a unique pattern of big-power involvement in the region, it tries to achieve this without intensive investment of political, economic, and military resources.

    December 21, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0047117815619664   open full text
  • The International Criminal Court and the lawfare of judicial intervention.
    Tiemessen, A.
    International Relations. September 02, 2015

    The contentious concept of ‘lawfare’ has proliferated to various foreign policy areas and permeated a discourse on the function and legitimacy of law in conflict. The concept seems particularly apt to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) judicial interventions. In this context, I define lawfare as the coercive and strategic element of international criminal justice in which the ICC’s judicial interventions are used as a tool of lawfare for States Parties and the United Nations Security Council to pursue political ends. I argue that there are two types of political ends being pursued with this lawfare: conflict resolution and politicized prosecutions. First, the ICC’s spokespersons, advocates, and supporting states have cultivated a discourse that justice is a means to peace. As a result, the ICC has been used as a means of intervention in ongoing conflicts with the expectation that the indictments, arrests, and trials of elite perpetrators have deterrence and preventive effects for atrocity crimes. Despite these legitimate intentions and great expectations, there is little evidence of the efficacy of justice as a means to peace. Second, the other manifestation of lawfare represents an abuse or manipulation of the ICC for political gain. Specifically, States Parties have strategically referred their conflict situations to the ICC with the expectation that the referral will result in the removal of their rivals and sanction the impunity of ruling elites. This politicization of international justice has been successful in that most of the ICC’s prosecutions are unjustly one sided. Evidence of politicized prosecutions has damaged the ICC’s credibility as an impartial institution and raises questions about the desirability of state referrals. Consequently, the ICC’s efficacy and credibility are suffering from lawfare.

    September 02, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0047117815601201   open full text
  • We are the very model of a moderate Muslim state: The Amman Messages and Jordan's foreign policy.
    Gutkowski, S.
    International Relations. August 11, 2015

    Despite its significance to one of the most problematic discursive binaries of the ‘War on Terror’, moderation has been a largely taken for granted theoretical and empirical category in the discipline of International Relations. To prompt further conversation, this article examines ‘Islamic moderation’ as part of Middle Eastern states’ nation branding in the decade and half since 9/11, using Jordan as a case study. I argue that while Jordan’s official and state-endorsed civil society efforts to promote ‘moderate Islam’ and interfaith dialogue stem in part from authentic interest in promoting dialogue and peace, the Jordanian Hashemite regime has also used the Amman Messages to deepen political trust with the United States, attempting to instrumentalize the moral authority of religion as a form of state productive power. It has done so by playing on a myth of religious moderation which has resonated in both the Middle East and the West since 9/11.

    August 11, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0047117815598352   open full text
  • Intervening to strengthen sovereignty: The lessons of the UN Intervention Brigade for global peacekeeping.
    Piiparinen, T.
    International Relations. July 23, 2015

    The main significance and novelty of the Intervention Brigade established by the United Nations (UN) Security Council in March 2013 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have previously been attributed to its robust mandate, enhanced capacities and offensive concept of operations. At the tactical, strategic and doctrinal levels of analysis, the Brigade could be considered a continuum of the robust and technological turn of UN peacekeeping, which has continued for more than a decade and is reinvigorated in the so-called new generation of peacekeeping tactics outlined in the New Horizon document. However, this article argues that the most profound significance and novelty of the Brigade reside at the underlying paradigmatic level, which has been ignored in the previous literature. The Brigade embodies not only robust capacities and mandate (peacekeeping with muscles) but also a new peacekeeping paradigm, namely, sovereignty-building (peacekeeping for body politic). The sovereignty-building paradigm is aimed at creating or strengthening the positive and negative sovereignty of the host government. The Brigade reinforces the positive sovereignty of the Congolese government by boosting its self-directive domestic and foreign policy, political will, ownership and responsibility vis-à-vis its regional peers, for example, by making its exit strategy conditional on the Congolese own Rapid Reaction Force. With regard to negative sovereignty, the Brigade contributes to the reinstatement of territorial integrity and supreme state authority by neutralising militia groups.

    July 23, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0047117815595110   open full text
  • US oil strategy in the Caspian Basin: Hegemony through interdependence.
    Raphael, S., Stokes, D.
    International Relations. May 12, 2014

    President Obama has continued to emphasise the strategic importance of stable energy supplies to US national security interests, with the oil-rich Central Asian region a key part of global energy markets. This region has seen significant economic and strategic inroads by the United States over the last decade in a broad attempt to integrate it within the US-led liberal order. This article examines these policy developments and draws upon theoretical debates on US grand strategy to argue that, rather than necessarily signalling increasing geopolitical rivalry with other powers such as China and Russia, US policy is designed primarily to incorporate the region through deepening market interdependence. As such, while there is a complex mix of geopolitical rivalry and economic interdependence developing in the Caspian, even in the face of purported US decline and increase of its domestic supplies through fracking, Washington remains committed to acting as a hegemonic stabiliser in the Caspian.

    May 12, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0047117813517911   open full text
  • Methodological process ethics in international theory.
    Curley, T. M.
    International Relations. April 30, 2014

    In this review essay, I identify a commonality between Patrick Thaddeus Jackson’s The Conduct of Inquiry and Daniel J. Levine’s Recovering International Relations: an ethical methodological process to organize international theories in ways that promote a plurality of visions. Jackson’s ideal-typification of the various methodological approaches in international relations encourages a pluralistic science. Likewise, Levine’s constellation method demands a multiplicity of theoretical perspectives, in order to sustain the critical elements intrinsic to each. As I argue, this shared methodological process ethic not only advances theoretical pluralism but, in so doing, actively opens thinking space for constructing alternative political realities.

    April 30, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0047117813515008   open full text
  • The state of nature analogy in international relations theory.
    Rolf, J. N.
    International Relations. April 11, 2014

    Today, the domestic analogy is a well-established and frequently used term in the discipline of international relations (IR). What is less established is that often two different analogies are hiding behind this term – an analogy between the domestic and the international realm, on the one hand, and an analogy between a state of nature and the international realm, on the other hand. This article argues that only in the former case, we can speak of domestic analogy. In the latter case, the ‘state of nature’ is mistaken for the ‘domestic’, which, on closer inspection, are converse terms. After a critique of the way in which the domestic analogy has been used in the literature, and in the work of Chiara Bottici in particular, I develop the alternative concept of the state of nature analogy and locate it within each of Martin Wight’s three traditions of international theory. Once we have unraveled the two analogies, the advantages of using the state of nature analogy over the domestic analogy become manifest.

    April 11, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0047117813502502   open full text