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  • Author: Nigel Biggar
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The contemporary West is biased in favor of rebellion. This is attributable in the first place to the dominance of liberal political philosophy, according to which it is the power of the state that always poses the greatest threat to human well-being. But it is also because of consequent anti-imperialism, according to which any nationalist rebellion against imperial power is assumed to be its own justification. Autonomy, whether of the individual or of the nation, is reckoned to be the value that trumps all others. I surmise that it is because in liberal consciousness the word “rebel” connotes a morally heroic stance—because it means the opposite of “tyrant”—that Western media in recent years have preferred to refer to Iraqi opponents of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and Taliban opponents of the ISAF in Afghanistan not as “rebels,” but as “insurgents.”
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Taliban, Syria, Ireland
  • Author: Toni Erskine
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: "Coalition of the willing" is a phrase that we hear invoked with frequency-and often urgency-in world politics. Significantly, it is generally accompanied by claims to moral responsibility. (Such appeals recently bolstered calls to establish a coalition of the willing to intervene in Syria.) Yet the label commonly used to connote a temporary, purpose-driven, self-selected collection of states (and sometimes nonstate and intergovernmental actors) sits uneasily alongside these assertions of moral responsibility. This unease might be attributed to its association with a particular case. For some, the label was tainted when the United States led a "coalition of the willing" into Iraq in ostensible response to the threat of weapons of mass destruction: the actual willingness of all of those states initially announced as members is as contested as the legitimacy of the 2003 offensive, the ensuing protracted conflict, and the subsequent occupation. Nevertheless, the idea-and ideal-of a coalition of the willing has persisted beyond the infamy of that one iteration. The problem is, rather, that it is unclear how to speak coherently about assigning moral responsibilities-and apportioning blame-in relation to such ad hoc associations. Can coalitions of the willing be considered bearers of duties? Alternatively, should our calls to action-and our cries of condemnation in the wake of action that is stalled, ineffective, or deemed unjust-be directed toward their constituents? Or should our attention be redirected altogether, toward more formal, enduring and, arguably, legitimate organizations?
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Christian Enemark
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: How should we conceptualize the use of missile-equipped uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs or "drones") in the U.S. "war on terror"? If violence of this kind is to be effectively restrained it is necessary first to establish an understanding of its nature. To this end, it is useful to focus on those theatres of the war where drones are the dominant platform for violence (such as in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia), rather than where they support primarily ground-based efforts (such as in Afghanistan and Iraq). The analysis in this article is presented in two parts. The first part considers whether drone strikes are better conceptualized as acts of war or of law enforcement. If it is difficult to conceptualize drone-based violence as acts of war, then such violence may not be captured by the traditional jus ad bellum (just resort to war) framework within just war theory. And if drone strikes do not constitute a law enforcement practice, the peacetime ethics of criminal justice may not apply either. One possible solution is to develop and apply a legitimization framework of jus ad vim (just resort to force) in which vim is "force short of war," although this depends upon the sustainability of a vim/bellum distinction.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia