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  • Author: Anna Geis, Carmen Wunderlich
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: The identification and naming of an 'enemy' is an age-old element within foreign policy and (domestic) security policy discourses. It serves to stabilize speakers' benign conceptions of the self, to structure threat perceptions of 'the world outside' and to legitimate ultimately violent policy options. This article compares the notions of 'rogue' and 'evil' in order to analyse the political implications of such a use of derogative actor categories. The notion of 'rogue states' has played an important role in the security strategies of the US presidents Clinton and in particular George W. Bush and alludes to criminal law. 'Evil' has been a much older, religiously loaded concept and has been invoked in politics for describing the inconceivable, monstrous violence and destruction. While many liberal critics argue that one should abandon the metaphysical category of evil and dispose of the stigmatizing category of the 'rogue', this article concludes with the suggestion that a self-reflexive use of these categories can be instructive: It can make 'us' – the very modern secular liberals – think about ourselves, about responsibility and moral standards as well as about the fundamental ambivalence of our actions.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Harald Muller
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Liberal discourse should have a hard time looking for 'evil' in international relations. Standing on the pillar of rationalism and humanitarianism, there seems to be little space for the morally and emotionally charged notion of evil to enter considerations. Yet, the liberal belief in the freedom of will implies that humans are capable of turning against the advice of reason and opt for evil behavior and underlying principles. This possibility is epitomized by Kant's construction of the 'evil enemy'. Since 'evil' appears sporadically in international relations, with Hitler's Germany as prototype, its existence in the real world of international relations cannot be ruled out a priori. Designating an 'other' as evil is thus a discursive possibility. The practice to turn this possibility into reality is conceptualized here as 'evilization' in analogy to 'securitization'. There is strong variance among liberal democracies in applying this practice, ranging from 'pacifism' to 'militancy', which often leads to dire consequences. Deriving the principles of fallibility and prudence from liberal reasoning, this article concludes with the proposition that 'liberal pacifism' is the preferable option in most conceivable circumstances, but that the possibility of confronting political evil is rare, but existing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Germany, Cameroon
  • Author: Christopher Hobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is unique among UN conventions for the appearance of the term 'evil' in the document. Among all the possible wrongdoing and bad things that exist in the world, it is slightly counterintuitive that drugs are the only one to be labelled as 'evil' in international law. Adopting a 'conceptual politics' approach, the article will examine how drugs came to be identified in this manner, with a specific focus on the drafting of the 1961 Single Convention. The latter part of the article focuses on the contemporary relevance of this framing, considering how it contributes towards a much more restrictive environment in which serious change to the drug prohibition regime has proven to be a very difficult task. For those seeking reform it is not enough to demonstrate that the system does not work, they also must successfully challenge the idea of drugs as something evil and a threat to humanity. In concluding it is suggested that by returning to the Single Convention, one finds not only the language of 'evil', but also a more flexible position that allowed for revising the way drugs are dealt with. To bring about change in drugs prohibition regime, reformers will need to recover this more open and balanced approach to understanding drugs.
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Politics, United Nations
  • Author: Piki Ish-Shalom
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Iran's imminent rise to nuclear power status raises reasonable fears about the Middle East stability. Having examined the discursive exchange of Mutual Assured Evilness (MAE) by Iran and Israel, some political commentators and decision makers express doubts over the workability of nuclear stability. That is because they question whether these countries can overcome their mutual hatred and find the requisite instrumental rationality for nuclear stability. Their fears are exacerbated when they regard Iran as a religious country and hence supposedly incapable of rational behavior. However, the discourse of evil is not only indicative of hatred. Evil it seems is a conceptual relic encased in religious metaphysics. It is a datum that enables us to expose the religious layers that exist alongside secularism. Israel's hyperbolic use of the term evil resonates as strongly as it does because of the religious metaphysics that coexists with Israel's supposedly secular belief system. Therefore, in some ways, Israeli society may be closer to Iranian society than Israelis generally allow themselves to believe and all the while the two societies are locked in a dance of hatred and fear, fueled, among other things, by MAE.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: William Clapton, Shahar Hameiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Recent work has identified new hierarchical relationships within international society. However, few scholars have provided a satisfactory account of what informs their formation, reproduction or constitutional effects for international society. We argue that underpinning the emergence of a more hierarchical international society is a new social logic of risk, which constructs illiberal and/or fragile states as potentially dangerous sites of instability and disorder that pose particular security risks for Western states. We proceed to argue that such risk-based hierarchies are transformative of both inter-state and intra-state relations, by stripping equal political agency from 'risky' actors within and without the state. We demonstrate these claims by drawing on examples of international state building in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Author: John Berryman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: The article provides a broad overview of the fluctuating connections between the controversial and ambiguous field of modern geopolitics and Russia. Given the pivotal significance of the Russian challenge within the early hypotheses of Mahan and Mackinder, the article first explores those distinctive geographical and spatial considerations that helped shape the development of the Russian Empire. The place of geopolitics in the Cold War is then reviewed, including both its policy orientation and the exchanges between the proponents of geopolitical realism and liberal internationalism. In conclusion, the article examines the post-Cold War renaissance of geopolitics, reviewing both theoretical developments and policy implications for Russian foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia