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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: Harmonie Toros, Luca Mavelli
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article explores how the violence against Afghan civilians carried out by the Taliban and US 'rogue' soldiers has been accounted for as the product of, respectively, collective evil and individual pathology. These two seemingly contending explanations, it is argued, are part of the same strategy of depoliticization, which aims to provide support and legitimacy for the US-led war in Afghanistan. The article discusses how the genealogy of the discourse of collective evil surrounding the Taliban can be traced to an Orientalist political theodicy, which frames the Taliban as 'children of a lesser God' – that is, as fanatical puppets at the mercy of a violent God – and how the discourse of individual pathology surrounding the unsanctioned violence of US soldiers is instrumental to exempt military and civilian leadership from collusion and responsibility. The article challenges this latter narrative of individual blame by discussing how killing, torture and desecration of bodies are at the heart of warfare. Hence, it is concluded, the language of collective evil and individual pathology are part of the same strategy of depoliticization, which aims to silence political contestation and conceal the dehumanizing aspect of war, its structural production of violence, and the complex and dispersed nature of responsibility.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Inderjeet Parmar
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: How do academic ideas influence US foreign policy, under what conditions and with what consequences? This article traces the rise, 'securitisation' and political consequences of democratic peace theory (DPT) in the United States by exploring the work of Doyle, Diamond and Fukuyama. Ideas influence US foreign policy under different circumstances, but are most likely to do either during and after crises when the policy environment permits 'new thinking', or when these ideas have been developed through state-connected elite knowledge networks, or when they are (or appear paradigmatically congenial to) foreign policymakers' mindsets, or, finally, when they become institutionally-embedded. The appropriation of DPT by foreign policymakers has categorised the world into antagonistic blocs – democratic/non-democratic zones of peace/turmoil – as the corollary to a renewed American mission to make the world 'safer' through 'democracy' promotion. The roles of networked organic intellectuals – in universities and think tanks, for instance – were particularly important in elevating DPT from the academy to national security managers.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amber Aubone
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Recent third-party use of force in hastening the exit of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi illustrates that third-party military intervention is one foreign policy tool among many that leaders may use to achieve desired ends. Numerous works from international relations and foreign policy scholars explain third-party intervention using a variety of approaches and methods, and examining multiple levels of analysis. The survey of the literature provided here contributes to our understanding of US unilateral intervention by examining this phenomenon using both general theories of third-party intervention, as well as more refined foreign policy theories explaining US intervention in particular. As such, the survey includes works employing various approaches and levels of analysis, and thus serves two purposes: (a) to assist in the cumulation of knowledge pertaining to US unilateral intervention through consolidation of theory and empirical findings; (b) to serve as a source from which scholars can identify contradictions and future avenues of research pertaining to third-party intervention.
  • Topic: International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya
  • 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: Benjamin Miller
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article addresses the following two questions: First, how does the United States (US) manage regional war and peace, especially in the Middle East (ME)? It will show that the strategies the US has adopted in conflict management in the ME over the last several decades have shown considerable variations, both in the goals of its involvement – between trying to shape the regional balance of power and to reorder the domestic regimes in the regional states, and in the means of involvement – between a unilateral and a multilateral strategy. Second, it seeks to explain these variations in the US regional patterns of involvement.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Licínia Simão
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article looks at Russian foreign policy from the perspective of the individuals responsible for decision making. The focus on the individual level of analysis aims to shed light on the evolving dynamics of Russian foreign policymaking and complement existing analysis on the role of ideas, world views and influential groups in foreign policy analysis, with insights from neo-classical realism and constructivism. Whereas the former sees the state as the transmission belt between international power distributions and political action, the latter underlines the roles of ideas and norms to explain agency. In this context, the article is well placed to deal with the evolving relationship between leaders' views and situational constraints, including other actors involved in setting foreign policy priorities and the external environment. How are decisions taken in the context of Russia's foreign policy under President Putin and Medvedev? What is the role of the presidents from both a legal (constitutional) and a practical perspective? The article maps Russian political leaders' decisions, under Putin and Medvedev, using two case studies: Putin's decision to support the US-led post-9/11 war on terror and Medvedev's decision to go to war with Georgia in 2008.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • 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: Inderjeet Parmar
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Although the election of Barack Obama to the US presidency represents a landmark event in the history of that country, questions remain over its broader political significance. What is the likelihood of Obama's foreign and national security policies differing fundamentally from those of the Bush administrations? Does Obama's election signal a 'post-racial' phase in American national life? What are the factors that suggest opportunities to change and expand American identities as opposed to those that limit Obama's sphere of action? This article introduces the special issue and suggests that although Obama's room for manoeuvre is limited by legacies inherited from the Bush administration, Obama's own appointments to high office as well as other actions, despite the availability of alternative courses, indicate that he is not the transformational president he claimed to be. American identities, therefore, are deeply embedded and remain heavily imbued with racial, religious and imperial features.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: 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: 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