Author profile: Adam Groves

Adam Groves

Adam Groves has an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from Oxford University and a BSc in International Relations from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Adam co-founded the website in November 2007.

What Strategy would you Pursue when Dealing with Iran in 2007? Why?

Since the turn of the century, Iran has emerged as an increasingly powerful actor in the Middle East. However, Tehran’s Islamist regime is seen to pose a number of political and security challenges to both neighbouring and ‘western’ states. The question of how to respond to the assertive and confrontational policies of the hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has therefore proved to be a hot topic for the media, academics and politicians alike. This essay will consider what strategy western states should pursue with regards to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, an issue of central importance for regional and global stability. Whilst this is merely one of many Iranian policies that needs ‘dealing with’ from a western perspective, it is widely considered to be the most significant threat and, thus, is a useful case study through which to consider relations between the West and Iran more generally.

What have been the Central Objectives of British Foreign Policy since the end of the Cold War?

With the end of the Cold War, Britain’s position in world politics was ambiguous and the future direction of its foreign policy uncertain. Torn between the increasingly divergent interests of Europe and America, the familiar charge that Britain had lost an empire and was struggling to find a role seemed difficult to dismiss. In this essay, I will critically assess Labour’s attempts to define a new role for Britain in the post Cold War era.

How did Arab Nationalism Affect the Course of the Cold War?

Modern Arab nationalism originally developed as a backlash to the colonialisation of the Middle East by western powers such as Britain and France. Despite decolonisation, European imperialism was maintained through sympathetic conservative monarchs and the construction of an informal empire. As such, Arab nationalism continued to play a prominent role in Middle Eastern and global politics through much of the Cold War.

Can Policy Makers Learn Lessons from the Past?

Historical lessons and analogies are commonly referred to in political discourse and the global media. I propose that whilst a knowledge of the past is beneficial, references to particular lessons are undermined by the near-infinite nature of history. Policy makers can learn almost any lesson they choose from our past because it is ambivalent in nature and its interpretation is subjective. Historical references are chosen according to personal viewpoints or bias and superficial or irrelevant similarities can be used to tie past events to modern day occurrences. Furthermore, the past is often not used genuinely to find lessons, but rather merely to justify pre-decided policies.

How Convincing is the Idea of an International Society at the Centre of the English School Approach?

‘The English School’ initially consisted of an influential group of scholars from around the world who were working in prominent English universities such as Oxford and LSE. The School argues that states do not exist in an anarchic system guided merely by power-politics, but that they possess shared norms, interests, institutions and values which result in the formation of an ‘international society’.

To What Extent, if at all, does Islamism’s Moral Agenda Render it Undemocratic?

In recent years the compatibility of political Islam and democracy has been a high-profile issue for academics, Islamic thinkers and politicians alike. The importance of this theoretical debate has been amplified by the United States’ apparent policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East, using force if necessary.

Is Contemporary International Society Founded on a Common Culture or Civilisation?

Scholars of the ‘English School’, such as Hedley Bull, argue that states exist not in an anarchic system guided purely by power-politics, but rather in an ‘international society’ formed as a result of certain global norms; namely shared interests, values, rules and institutions. For the majority of English School thinkers, some form of common culture is a necessary prerequisite for these elements, and is therefore crucial for the creation and cohesion of international societies. Wight argued that a ‘states-system will not come into being without a degree of cultural unity among its members’ (1977: 33), and Bull pronounced that ‘the prospects for international society are bound up with the prospects of the cosmopolitan culture’ (1984b: 304).

Can Armed Intervention to Save Strangers be Morally Justified?

Humanitarian intervention is an issue which receives a great deal of attention from academics, politicians and the media. Throughout the 1990s, human rights abuses in Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo all raised the question of whether humanitarian intervention could be morally justified. This left Tony Blair to conclude in 1999 that ‘the most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get involved in other people’s conflicts’. In the twenty-first century the controversies have continued, and the international community has been deeply divided over whether to intervene both in Iraq and Darfur.

Is it Possible to Ethically Evaluate Terrorism by Employing Just War Principles?

The Just War tradition has been seen as a leading perspective on the ethics of war since the writings of St Augustine were rearticulated by Thomas Aquinas. It attempts to provide a framework which validates just conflicts, whilst at the same time applying limits so as to prevent unrestrained warfare. Today, its core principles can be divided into two broad categories: ‘jus ad bellum’ (just resort to war) and ‘jus in bello’ (just conduct in war). For a war to be just, numerous criteria must be satisfied within these categories.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of ‘Securitizing’ Disease

Since the end of the Cold War many academics and politicians have argued for a broadening of the ‘Security Studies’ agenda. The Realist emphasis on military threat seems to be less relevant for much of the world, with the number of inter-state and civil conflicts falling dramatically since 1989 (Human Security Centre, 2005: 1).

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