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  • Author: Joseph Bafumi, Joseph M Parent
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: There is a growing consensus that the United States is undergoing a period of political polarization, particularly among elites. The causes of this polarization remain under-researched. We argue that shifts in the international distribution of power influence America's polarization. To demonstrate the argument, this article analyzes changes in power and polarization quantitatively and qualitatively from 1945 to 2005. A key finding is that greater relative power on the world stage substantially increases polarization and some of its correlates, like income inequality. The argument also measures the extent of international influence on domestic polarization and makes novel predictions on when and why polarization will fall.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Asaf Siniver
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article presents the case for arbitrating the territorial dispute over the West Bank between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. After nearly two decades of intense intermediary activity but with still no signs of progress, and against the inability of the parties themselves to move towards reconciliation, the article argues that as a method of conflict resolution, mediation has exhausted its primary objective – namely the establishing of direct channels of communication between the disputants – and it is now time to examine alternative methods to conflict resolution. The article debunks the myths surrounding the success of American mediation in the conflict, and uses the historical case of the Taba arbitration between Israel and Egypt to demonstrate under what terms the arbitration of the West Bank dispute might be presented, while taking into consideration its advantages and drawbacks compared with the more established method of mediation in this conflict.
  • Political Geography: America, Israel, Palestine, Egypt
  • Author: Caroline Patsias, Dany Deschenes
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Since the end of World War II, relations between Canadian and US leaders have become difficult, as the absence of the unifying force of war led to different political visions. However, on the whole, and in spite of a power differential that has grown since 1945, relations between Canada and the United States have nevertheless been good. How is this explained? In this reflection, rather than taking a structural-realist approach, we build on a perspective proposed by Stéphane Roussel in his theory on democratic peace between Canada and the United States. Roussel showed how the constructivist model could justify the absence of coercion and the relatively egalitarian cooperation between both states. While Roussel's studies refer only to the 1867–1958 period, we broaden the perspective to include the contemporary period and propose that the 'unsocial sociability' at the heart of Canadian-American relations is due to the recognition of the democratic nature of the other's regime and the implementation of institutional mechanisms and techniques.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Canada
  • Author: Tara McCormack
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: In this article it is argued that there is a striking absence from contemporary academic (and policy) discussions about American international leadership, and that is the domestic dimension to international leadership. Most current discussion focuses upon the actions of the Bush administration in the international sphere, which is argued to have eroded legitimate American leadership. It is hoped that Obama can reinvigorate American leadership through his actions in the international sphere. Here, however, it is argued that legitimate American leadership during the Cold War was based firstly upon a specific domestic political context in Europe. This specific domestic political context has steadily changed since the late 1960s, eroding legitimate American international leadership. In the absence of this domestic context, America will not be able to reassert legitimate leadership. International legitimacy, like charity, must begin at home in the domestic political sphere.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Sandra Halperin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article relates the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq to fundamental aspects of Anglo-American political economy, including the increasing integration of the British and US economies, and the largely Anglo-American-led project of global economic restructuring currently taking place. Part I discusses the political economy of UK–US relations and the evolution of an Anglo-American military–industrial conglomerate. Part II links the Anglo-American relations and interests detailed in the first part of the article to an on-going project of global reconstruction. With this as a context, Part III reviews the history of British and US foreign policies towards Iraq and the culmination of these policies in the invasion of the country. The conclusions draw implications for the overall nature and direction of current trends of change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Tony Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: The secular notion of American exceptionalism divorced from explicit racial or religious expression and based on governmental institutions and civic virtue – America as 'the last, best hope of earth' (Lincoln), America as 'the ark of the liberties of the world' (Melville) – goes back to the American Revolution. Nevertheless, before Wilson the conceptual framework that could explain the rightness of American global expansion in terms of bringing democratic government to others had not been well formulated. With Wilson, by contrast, the United States for the first time could present in secular terms, concepts argued from a cultural and historical perspective that made the expansion of American influence around the globe legitimate, not only in terms of national security but to the benefit of all mankind. Here is the key, I would propose, to the self-confidence and self-righteousness, which has been the hallmark of American foreign policy for a century now. Democracy promotion (associated with open markets economically and multilateralism) reflected America's cultural superiority (inherited from racial thinking), as well as its mission to help others (descended from its religious background). In Wilson's hands, an enduring framework for American foreign policy was born, one that remains with us to this day.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Srdjan Vucetic
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article argues that the American empire cannot be fully understood without reference to the ways in which American imperial identities have been associated with the historical experience of England/Britain. To make this argument, the article considers four discourses of identity in particular – Anglo-Protestantism (religion), Anglo-Saxonism (ethnicity/race), Anglo-Saxon capitalism (institutions) and English (language). US imperial development was conditioned by many forces, but none match the aggregate power of America's 'Anglo-ness'. Although it is too early to assess the ways in which these discourses are negotiated, critiqued and reproduced in the 'age of Obama', the American empire is likely to continue to protect and project Anglo-ness vis-à-vis to the rest of the world.
  • Political Geography: Britain, America
  • Author: Giles Scott-Smith, Moritz Baumgärtel
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: As Obama took office at the beginning of 2009, several new figures attained important advisory positions in his administration. Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and now Director of Policy Planning in the State Department, is a prime example of the 'change' that has come to Washington. In recent years she has been part of a growing academic circle that views networks at the centre of international relations. At the same time, she has promoted the idea that the United States can be 'the most connected country' in such a world. By taking a closer look into the discourse of US supremacy and the current state-of-the-art in the theory of transnational networks, this article reveals the divergence between wishful thinking and reality in Slaughter's position. By analysing her position and introducing three case studies, we conclude that the complexity of power relations in a world of networks makes any assumption of US supremacy highly problematic. Some might 'mirror' the beliefs and values of America (Open Society Institute); some might only be a 'prism' of various different voices (Al-Jazeera); and some might fall totally outside state control to form 'shadow networks' (Khan Network). Ultimately, it is the belief in US exceptionalism that perpetuates the claim that the United States has 'an edge' in such a world, with potentially problematic consequences.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Stuart Croft
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: American identities have traditionally been bound up with racial and religious markers – the WASP marker being for many, many decades and that which described the fullest state of American-ness. In the age of an African-American President, such conventional wisdoms are clearly challenged; and yet race and religion still describe different degrees of American-ness. This article investigates these identity themes not through the traditional duologue of white and African American, but seeks to understand in different communities how race and religion combine to produce different American-ness. Through an examination of two communities deemed problematic because of the high percentage of unchurched among them – First Peoples and Asian Americans – the article describes different processes at work. First Peoples are often seen in racial rather than national terms. The work of evangelicals 'among' such peoples is assessed within the United States and beyond. In contrast, Asian-American identities are often articulated through evangelism, particularly on the campuses of the United States. Together, these case studies show that American-ness is being redefined, to include new racial categories and groups newly empowered by their religious activity. This connects to issues of migration; evangelism is now active in America as well as beyond, as the world comes to live in the United States, traditional boundaries – inside/outside and white/African American – carry different and often less weight than hitherto has been the case.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Asia
  • Author: Mark Ledwidge
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article consists of a critical discourse that examines the meteoric rise of Barack Obama within the context of international and domestic race relations. The article explores the impact of American racism on domestic and foreign affairs, in addition to providing contrasting viewpoints on the significance of Obama's election to the presidency. The article utilises the Obama phenomenon to assess US perceptions of the North–South divide, race, ethnicity, religion and anti-Americanism, in addition to unpacking the controversy surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright's characterisations of American power. The Obama campaign's post-9/11 context will be used to ascertain whether conservative efforts to associate Obama with Islam represent a conservative backlash that represents an ethnocentric re-articulation related to race, religion and the War on Terror, followed by an assessment of whether the Obama phenomenon is indicative of the perfectibility of US democracy, which would justify the exportation of American values. The article will engage in an interdisciplinary discourse grounded in political science, history and IR to provide the depth of knowledge and theoretical competency to frame the discussion in a historical and contemporary context that acknowledges Obama's relevance to domestic and international politics.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Lee Marsden
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: US foreign policy owes much to a malleable religious identity, shaped by foundational myths, and that this religious dimension has, until recently, been largely neglected in the US foreign policy literature to the detriment of our understanding of how America's status as global hegemon is formed, sustained and expanded. This article explores the role of the foundational myths of manifest destiny, exceptionalism and innocent nation. These foundational myths are explored as they develop into a civil religion espoused by successive presidents from George to the present day. The article considers how Barack Obama has utilised civil religion to maximise domestic support for a foreign policy agenda, which seeks to maintain US hegemony through a more conciliatory and multilateral approach than his predecessor in the White House. Examples of the use of soft power through missionary endeavour and the evangelicalisation of military hard power beginning during the George W. Bush presidency are detailed in order to reveal an Obama presidency that continues to define itself in religious terms while providing opportunities for religious actors to continue to play a role in representing US interests beyond its shores.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Kevern Verney
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article addresses two questions. It begins by comparing the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination contest with the 1980s campaigns of Jesse Jackson. It examines the different background and personalities of Obama and Jackson, together with an analysis of what has changed in US political life in the intervening decades, in an attempt to understand why Obama succeeded where the earlier Jackson campaigns failed. The second part of the article analyses the subsequent general election with a view to determining whether Obama's defeat of John McCain should be seen as a result of a unique set of political circumstances, or evidence of the increasing irrelevance of race in US electoral politics. In particular, this discussion assesses the validity of the claims made by some commentators that Obama's victory marks the beginning of a new 'post-racial' era in American political life.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Richard Jackson
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article explores the social and political construction of US counterterrorism policy since the onset of the war on terrorism. The first part of the article focuses on the period of the Bush administration. It explores the cultural grammar expressed in the language of the war on terror, as well as administration attempts to 'sell' the policy to the American public. In addition, it explores the ways in which the war on terror has been institutionalised in counterterrorism practices and institutions, and how it has been normalised and embedded in American popular culture and linked by the national identity narratives surrounding '9/11' and the negative ideograph of 'terrorism', to American identity. Section two of the article explores the discourse and practice of the war on terrorism in the initial period of the Obama administration. It questions the extent to which counterterrorism policy can be rewritten, given the degree to which it accords with the deep cultural grammar of American identity and is now a well-established ideograph, the extent to which it has been institutionalised in American political practice and embedded in American culture and the ways in which it is rooted in the political-economic interests of the American polity and empire. Finally, the article briefly reflects on questions of change and identity in the construction of US foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Michael J. Boyle
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Why have two successive US administrations concluded that fighting terrorism must involve democracy promotion? This assumption became prevalent in US political discourse following the events of September 11 despite the fact that the empirical evidence linking democracy and terrorism is weak or ambiguous. More strikingly, it has persisted even after the missions to establish democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to increasing violence, including a worldwide increase in terrorist attacks. This article argues that the link between democracy and terrorism was established by the combined effect of three factors: (a) the framing of the September 11 attacks in a way that increased the receptivity to this conceptual opposition between freedom and fear; (b) the ideological influence of the Wilsonian tradition, as manifested today in an unusual consensus between modern neo-conservatives and liberal internationalists on the desirability of democratic reform as a means of changing foreign policy behaviour; and (c) a powerful bipartisan domestic constituency in favour of democracy promotion. Owing to these three factors, the contraposition of democracy and terrorism in American political discourse is effectively over-determined because it mirrors the dominant ideological and political preferences of American elites. This fixed preference for democracy promotion explains why the Obama Administration has remained wedded to the binary distinction between freedom and fear in its public statements despite its efforts to break in style and substance with the policies of its predecessor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America