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  • Author: Randall G. Holcombe
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Political capitalism is an economic and political system in which the economic and political elite cooperate for their mutual benefit. The economic elite influence the government's economic policies to use regulation, government spending, and the design of the tax system to maintain their elite status in the economy. The political elite are then supported by the economic elite which helps the political elite maintain their status; an exchange relationship that benefits both the political and economic elite.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Edward Rhodes
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: “History,” Winston Churchill is reported to have observed, “is written by the vic¬tors.” The losers, if they are lucky enough to avoid vilification, are airbrushed out. When it comes to our understanding of American foreign policies of the first four decades of the twentieth century, the history-writing victors have, for the most part, been liberal internationalists. Democrats and Republicans alike, in the wake of the Second World War, concluded that the task of making the world safe for America demanded active, global U.S. politico-military engagement. In the name of liberal international institutions, Washington's “Farewell” injunctions against entangling alliances would be consigned to the waste bin of quaint anachronisms.- See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19341#sthash.wG3JMQox.dpuf
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Education, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Craig Arceneaux
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Peacekeeping appears to offer a golden ticket to civilian supremacy in democ­ratizing states. These missions allow the armed forces in cash-strapped coun­tries to participate in military operations, and they send soldiers overseas, far away from the politics of their home countries. Arturo Sotomayor offers a careful, systematic, and ultimately persuasive critique of this conventional wisdom, with case studies of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. He clearly addresses three questions: Does peacekeeping help civilians reform the mili­tary? Does peacekeeping instill attitudes and beliefs in soldiers that comple­ment democracy and civilian control? Does peacekeeping craft bridges across defense and foreign policy establishments? While the conventional wisdom offers a cursory “yes” to these questions, Sotomayor responds with an astute “it depends.” And it is here that the value of his study shines. Peacekeeping can appear in a variety of forms, from observation, to enforcement, to peacebuild­ing. Peacebuilding really is more like an internal mission, and thus can actually reinforce adverse patterns of civil–military relations. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19343#sthash.9DMzoId6.dpuf
  • Topic: United Nations, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
  • Author: Tanisha M. Fazal
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Isabel Hull's analysis of international law during World War I is a welcome and valuable contribution to an emerging body of scholarship on the laws of war. This is not to undercut its place in the historiography of World War I. Hull rightly points out that most histories of the war have tended to gloss over or even dismiss the role of international law in the war. Hull corrects this bias by delving into British, French, and particularly German archives to show that international law was very much on the minds of all parties to the conflict. Indeed, she argues that preserving the existing structure of international law was a major reason for the outbreak of war. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19345#sthash.HizIRkHF.dpuf
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Political Geography: France, Germany
  • Author: Katherine C. Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article uses the centenary of the First World War as an opportunity to re-examine a major element of the existing literature on the war—the strategic implications of supposed British decline—as well as analogies to the contemporary United States based upon that interpretation of history. It argues that the standard declinist interpretation of British strategy rests to a surprising degree upon the work of the naval historian Arthur Marder, and that Marder's archival research and conceptual framework were weaker than is generally realized. It suggests that more recent work appearing since Marder is stronger and renders the declinist strategic interpretation difficult to maintain. It concludes by considering the implications of this new work for analogies between the United States today and First World War-era Britain, and for the use of history in contemporary policy debates.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The latest war in Gaza—from the beginning of July to the end of August 2014—is over, but both Israelis and Palestinians believe it will not be the last one. Israelis believe they must deter Hamas from conducting additional attacks and keep it weak should a conflict occur. This is an approach that more pro-Western Palestinian leaders and Arab states like Saudi Arabia, fearing the political threat Hamas poses, often quietly applaud. For their part, Hamas leaders remain hostile to Israel and feel politically trapped by the extensive blockade of Gaza—and all the while, Gaza lies in ruins. The combination is explosive. Israeli security analyst Yossi Alpher put it succinctly: “It is increasingly clear that the Gaza war that ended in August will soon produce…another Gaza war.” The Economist also gloomily predicted that “war will probably begin all over again, sooner or later.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Andrew Radin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In developing U.S. intervention policy in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and most recently Syria, the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has repeatedly been used as an analogy. For example, John Shattuck, a member of the negotiating team at the Dayton peace talks that ended the war, wrote in September 2013 that for Syria “the best analogy is Bosnia…Dayton was a major achievement of diplomacy backed by force…A negotiated solution to the Syria crisis is possible, but only if diplomacy is backed by force.” Many other analysts and policymakers with experience in the Bosnian conflict—such as Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman at the time; Christopher Hill, a member of Richard Holbrooke's negotiating team; and Samantha Power, who began her career as a journalist in Bosnia—also invoked the Bosnian war to urge greater U.S. involvement in Syria. Although the rise of ISIS has significantly altered the conflict over the last year, echoes of the Bosnian conflict remain in Syria: the conflict is a multiparty ethnic civil war, fueled by outside powers, in a region of critical interest to the United States.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya, Kosovo, Syria
  • Author: Lee J. M. Seymour
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Side switching by armed groups is a prominent feature of many civil wars. Shifts in alignment have far-reaching consequences, influencing key outcomes such as civil war duration and termination, military effectiveness, levels of civilian victimization, and state-building prospects. In Sudan's wars, ideological and ethnic cleavages have not influenced factional alignments nearly as much as one might expect given the prominence of clashing political projects and ethnically organized violence in southern Sudan and Darfur. Recent explanations highlighting the role of territorial control, factional infighting, or relative power considerations also have limited value. In many wars fought in weak states characterized by low barriers to side switching, two mechanisms explain patterns of collaboration and defection: first, political rivalries that lead actors to collaborate in exchange for military support in localized struggles; and second, patronage-based incentives that induce collaboration for material gain. A nested analysis drawing on original data from wars in southern Sudan and Darfur supports this argument. The findings have implications for understanding alignments in civil wars, the role of weak states in counterinsurgency, and ethnic politics more generally, as well as policy relevance for factionalized civil wars.
  • Topic: Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Darfur
  • Author: Daniel Bessner, Nicolas Guilhot
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Neorealism is one of the most influential theories of international relations, and its first theorist, Kenneth Waltz, a giant of the discipline. But why did Waltz move from a rather traditional form of classical realist political theory in the 1950s to neorealism in the 1970s? A possible answer is that Waltz's Theory of International Politics was his attempt to reconceive classical realism in a liberal form. Classical realism paid a great deal of attention to decisionmaking and statesmanship, and concomitantly asserted a nostalgic, anti-liberal political ideology. Neorealism, by contrast, dismissed the issue of foreign policymaking and decisionmaking. This shift reflected Waltz's desire to reconcile his acceptance of classical realism's tenets with his political commitment to liberalism. To do so, Waltz incorporated cybernetics and systems theory into Theory of International Politics, which allowed him to develop a theory of international relations no longer burdened with the problem of decisionmaking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, War, Grand Strategy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Stefano Costalli, Andrea Ruggeri
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Ideas shape human behavior in many circumstances, including those involving political violence. Yet they have usually been underplayed in studies of the causes of armed mobilization. Likewise, emotions have been overlooked in most analyses of intrastate conflict. A mixed-methods analysis of Italian resistance during the Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation (1943–45) provides the opportunity to theorize and analyze empirical evidence on the role of indignation and radical ideologies in the process of armed mobilization. These nonmaterial factors play a crucial role in the chain that leads to armed collective action. Indignation is a push factor that moves individuals away from accepting the status quo. Radical ideologies act as pull factors that provide a new set of strategies against the incumbent. More specifically, detachment caused by an emotional event disconnects the individual from acceptance of the current state of social relations, and individuals move away from the status quo. Ideologies communicated by political entrepreneurs help to rationalize the emotional shift and elaborate alternative worldviews (disenchantment), as well as possibilities for action. Finally, a radical ideological framework emphasizes normative values and the conduct of action through the “anchoring” mechanism, which can be understood as a pull factor attracting individuals to a new status.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Emil Souleimanov, Huseyn Aliyev
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite a considerable amount of ethnographic research into the phenomena of blood revenge and blood feud, little is known about the role of blood revenge in political violence, armed conflict, and irregular war. Yet blood revenge—widespread among many conflict-affected societies of the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond—is not confined to the realm of communal infighting, as previous research has presumed. An empirical analysis of Russia's two counterinsurgency campaigns in Chechnya suggests that the practice of blood revenge has functioned as an important mechanism in encouraging violent mobilization in the local population against the Russian troops and their Chechen proxies. The need to exact blood revenge has taken precedence over an individual's political views, or lack thereof. Triggered by the loss of a relative or humiliation, many apolitical Chechens who initially sought to avoid involvement in the hostilities or who had been skeptical of the insurgency mobilized to exact blood revenge to restore their individual and clan honor. Blood revenge functions as an effective, yet heavily underexplored, grievance-based mechanism encouraging violent mobilization in irregular wars.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, War, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, Chechnya, Yemen, Colombia, Georgia, Albania
  • Author: Harlan Ullman
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Harlan Ullman, a distinguished Fletcher School alumnus, sat down with the Fletcher Security Review recently to discuss the past, present, and future of U.S. and global security, as well as his most recent book, A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace. He is Chairman of the Killowen Group, which advises leaders in business and government; Chairman of CNIGuard Ltd and CNIGuard Inc. which are infrastructure protection firms; Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council and Business Executives for National Security, both in Washington, D.C.; on the Advisory Board for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; and Director Emeritus of the Wall Street Fund, one of the nation’s first mutual funds. A former naval officer with 150 combat operations and missions in Vietnam in patrol boats and other commands at sea, he was principal author of the ’Shock and Awe’ doctrine, which was released in 1996. With seven books and thousands of articles and columns to his credit, he was made UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave distinguished columnist earlier this year.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, History, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: James Copnall
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: A prolific writer and reporter, James Copnall was the BBC’s Sudan correspondent from 2009- 12 and covered South Sudan’s independence, the Darfur war, rebellions, and clashes between both the Sudans. He has also reported from over twenty other African nations. His latest book, A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts - Sudan and South Sudan’s Bitter and Incomplete Divorce deals extensively with the conflict engulfing the Sudans from various perspectives. Earlier this year, he sat down with the Fletcher Security Review to give some perspective on recent developments.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, Journalism, Interview
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On 16 September 2007, the accountability of private armed contractors became a global concern. A team of armed guards from the US company Blackwater Worldwide, operating on a US State Department contract, opened fire that day in Baghdad’s Nisor Square, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and injuring an additional twenty. It took more than seven years before four of the individuals responsible were ultimately convicted of either first degree murder or voluntary manslaughter by a jury in a U.S. Federal District Court. A fifth member of the Blackwater team had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.[1] The initial lack of consequences and the slow speed of justice provided the watchful world with strong evidence that armed contractors operate in a zone of legal twilight, devoid of accountability. ​ The rise of private armed contracting was one of the most distinctive operational developments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, famously stated: “Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service.”[2] Throughout both conflicts, the hiring policies of several Western governments, particularly those of the United States, helped Blackwater and numerous other companies move toward that goal. By December 2008, for example, 69% of the United States’ total force in Afghanistan was comprised of private contractors, roughly 15% of which were armed.[3] While there are no reliable statistics on the size of the global private armed security industry, there is little doubt that it has grown and contracted with the surge and decline of Western engagement in armed conflict. New conflicts on the horizon, however, suggest the possibility of a resurgence of the industry, reigniting concerns about accountability. The proliferation of private armed security companies has coincided with a proliferation of initiatives aimed at developing accountability for the industry. Numerous codes, standards, mechanisms and proposals – developed by governments, international organizations, civil society groups, private companies, trade associations, individuals, academics and multi-stakeholder bodies – have sought to address different issues surrounding armed contractors. Most of them, however, have been developed in response to incidents that already occurred. This reactive approach to accountability, while useful for addressing past problems, may leave the industry exposed to future problems. In other words, a code, standard or mechanism set up to prevent another Nisor Square incident may be very effective in doing so, but may fail to prevent a different and even more worrying incident in the future. This article begins with a brief overview of the most credible accountability initiatives, suggesting that the resulting collection forms a patchwork, rather than a framework for governing the conduct of armed contractors. The analysis then focuses on the process of selecting contractors, with a particular emphasis on the US Government. While cost has been a key factor in determining selection, the various initiatives discussed have made it possible for accountability and quality to be added as essential metrics. Ultimately, however, the failure of the accountability initiatives to remain current, much less forward-looking, means that the objective determinants of ‘accountability and quality’ may not be fit for purpose as the US and other Western powers begin to engage the services of armed contractors for assistance in new conflicts...
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs, Regulation, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Charles Cleveland
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Lieutenant General Charles T. Cleveland, an Army Special Forces Officer, relinquished command of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and retired after 37 years of military service on 01 July 2015. He previously commanded the Special Operations Command Central and Special Operations Command South as well as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-North during Operation Iraqi Freedom. LTG Cleveland is a native of Arizona and a 1978 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Interview, Army, Special Operations
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, Panama, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Mark Spencer
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Two key facts about late medieval England: The kingdom had no standing army and was at war for most of the period between 1294 and 1485. Given these circumstances, it might seem ambitious to identify a role for the military of the time in a non-war environment. Nonetheless, this peacetime role existed, and created a state of preparedness that was crucial to success when the kingdom went to war. Under ‘bastard feudalism’ the leaders of the army, trained in war and incubated in a thoroughly military ethos and culture, through their efforts in domestic governance, provided the stability at home and the financial and material resources which were as vital to the victories of the Hundred Years’ War as the much better known and remembered archers of Crecy and Agincourt. This article will provide background into medieval military and landed society before tracing how the governmental role of this group increased alongside ‘bastard feudalism’ in response to the crown’s need to find the resources for war. It will then show how ‘bastard feudalism’ worked for king, nobles and gentry in tandem and how this, in turn, created experienced administrators who were able to support the war effort. ‘Feudalism’ is a term synonymous with the Middle Ages. The feudal pyramid, with the king at the apex, his nobles and knights beneath, and peasants on the bottom, will be familiar to readers from their school days. ‘Bastard feudalism’, on the other hand, is less well-known and usually has currency only in academic journals. Both are highly controversial terms among medievalists and some even deny the existence of one or the other, or both. Most historians, however, would accept that, in England at least, there was a gradual transition from feudalism—where the principal means by which the king or nobleman rewarded his followers was through a permanent grant of land—to ‘bastard feudalism’—where rewards were primarily paid in cash payments. Where historians do not agree, however, is on the timing, causes and results of such a change...
  • Topic: War, History, Governance, Feudalism, Middle Ages
  • Political Geography: Europe, England
  • Author: Matthew Testerman
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Winning a war requires the capacity to wage a war and an understanding of an end-state that equates to winning. These fundamental concepts, however, are not well defined. This essay draws from recent historical examples, contemporaneous strategy documents, and formal game theory to provide some additional degree of conceptual clarity that will enhance the debate about winning without war. In the past two decades, the U.S. has developed a demonstrated capacity to win with war. Victory in kinetic war fighting is nearly assured and can be accomplished with limited cost. Despite this, in the modern context, war has evolved to the point that war is not worth winning. It is far from the case that there are no wars to be fought, but the political and economic constraints of the international system have transformed the environment in which the U.S. operates militarily. Evidence of this is found in the strategic outlook of the U.S. military as documented in the revised U.S. naval strategy, especially when compared to earlier maritime strategy. To inform this discussion, game theoretic explanations of strategic interactions are helpful. The assumptions underlying recent U.S. naval strategy can be understood by applying the basic construct of a “game of strategic entry." Applying this construct, one finds that war is not worth winning– a conclusion that has substantive consequences for designing, organizing, and employing naval forces.
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Feng-tai Hwang
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: As early as March 2011, the journal Aerospace America featured an article with the title “China’s Military Space Surge,”[1] which warned that there had been a rapid increase in China’s capability to conduct warfare in space. Such capabilities would then in turn threaten and jeopardize the ability of the carrier battle groups of the United States to conduct operations in the Pacific. This article was soon translated into Japanese and published in Space Japan Review. This and other high profile articles highlight the anxieties on the part of the U.S. and Japan about China’s increasing ability to militarize space, and also their concerns about its implications for the peace and security of East Asia and the entire Pacific Asia region. On December 31, 2015 China announced the creation of three new branches of armed forces to be added into the reformed People’s Liberation Army (PLA): Army General Command, Strategic Support Force, and the PLA Rocket Force. While the PLA Rocket Force replaced the old Second Artillery Corps, what is even more intriguing is the mission of the new Strategic Support Force. According to Chinese media, the Strategic Support Force will be responsible for overseeing intelligence, technical reconnaissance, satellite management, electronic warfare, cyberwarfare, and psychological warfare. It is no coincidence that Gao Jin (高津), the newly appointed commander of the Strategic Support Force, is also an expert on rocket science, which has further fueled media speculations that the Strategic Support Force has been created for the purpose of conducting future space warfare.[2] In fact, China has been increasing the focus on the military applications of space since the end of Persian Gulf War in the 1990s. During that war, the United States mobilized dozens of satellites to aid the American-led coalition forces, enabling them to defeat Iraqi forces with extraordinary efficiency and ease. The Persian Gulf War greatly shocked PLA observers at the time, and served as a reminder that the conduct of modern warfare had been transformed by the arrival of a new generation of technology. Chinese military theorists then began to study the concept of “space warfare.” The most influential was Chang Xian-Qi (常顯奇), who categorized space warfare into three distinct phases based on his observations of U.S. planning: the “Entry into Space,” the “Utilization of Space,” and the “Control of Space.” “Entry into Space” is represented by the delivery of a military-purpose spacecraft into its designated orbit path. “Utilization of Space” is to harness the power of existing space assets to aid military operations across the land, naval, and air domains. For example, such power can manifest in the forms of using space sensors to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence for Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) against potential foes, to provide ballistic missile early warning, satellite navigation and communications, among other purposes. The “Control of Space” phase focuses on establishing “space superiority” with the missions of: (1) increasing survivability of one’s own military satellites and systems; (2) disrupting, sabotaging, or destroying opposing countries’ satellites and their systems when necessary; and (3) directly using space-based weapons to aid in combat operations on the ground.[3]...
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology, War, Military Affairs, Space
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: I think it is difficult to contest that the most important state player in world affairs over the last one hundred years – and consistently so over this period – has been the United States of America. World War I – into which, to borrow from Christopher Clark's justly celebrated book, we 'sleepwalked' – marks a useful starting point. It is not only the fairly important role America played in bringing WWI to an end that signals the beginning of this era, but also the no less important role it played in shaping the aftermath. Wilson's 14 points were considered at the time 'idealistic' by some of the yet-to-be 'Old Powers'. But by dismantling the Ottoman Empire through the principle of self-determination (not at that time a universal legally binding norm) it was an early swallow to the demise, a mere generation later, of all other colonial empires and the truly decisive reshaping of the balance of power in the post-WWII world. The US played an equally cardinal role in ideating and realizing the United Nations Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – two lynchpins of our current world order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Gaza
  • Author: Rotem Giladi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The Martens clause has made F. F. Martens one of the 'household names of our profession'. Since its first appearance in the preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention (II) on the Laws and Customs of War on Land, the clause has incessantly been puzzled over, historicized, celebrated, and re-enacted. Much of the extant discourse, however, is geared towards normative construction of the clause. This article, by contrast, seeks to depart from normative construction of the clause and draw attention, instead, to the discourse it has generated. To facilitate discursive exploration and demonstrate its pertinence, I offer a critical reading of the clause's origins as the enactment of an irony. Thus, the making of the clause saw words used to express something in the opposite of their literal meaning. In time, the clause itself came to represent that which is entirely the opposite of what it was first used for. These and other ironies underpin how the clause itself, its making, and Martens' role therein are interpreted, historicized, and celebrated today. They also pave the way for critical explorations of the clause's epistemic significance.
  • Topic: War