Essays

One of the best ways of developing your essay writing ability is to see how other students respond to similar questions. Reading other students’ essays can provide interesting insights and broaden your understanding of what is possible when answering a question.

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.

What Military Lessons can be Drawn from the Spectacular Terrorist Attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001?

“Never despise your enemy, whoever he is. Try to find out about his weapons and means, how he uses them and fights. Research into his strengths and weaknesses” asserted Field Marshal Prince Alexander V. Suvorov in 1789. In executing the most spectacular terrorist attacks in history in September 11th 2001 this is certainly what al-Qaeda did. To respond, the United States military must recognise the unconventional nature of its new opponent and greatly broaden its conception of threats and the means to counter them.

Assess the Strengths and Weaknesses of ‘securitizing’ Environmental Degradation

The end of the Cold War accelerated the widespread realisation that human action, particularly that associated with conflict and industry, had broadly comprised the environmental component of security. The discourse to redefine security to include a wider variety of issues catapulted concepts of threats that target the individual rather than exclusively state-centric to the fore; human security declared that people and communities should be the referent of security. The United Nations expanded the definition of human security to include the impact of environmental degradation: That to be secure, individuals should have access to non-degraded land, clean air and fresh water.

How much did the Bolsheviks need the Cheka and how well did they make use of it?

The October Revolution of 1917 saw the overthrow of Kerensky’s Provisional Government and laid the foundations for the world’s first Communist state; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Seizing power through the revolution were the Bolsheviks, a faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, led by Vladimir Lenin. Paving the way for the Great Purges of Stalinist Russia, the Bolshevik’s solidified their power over Russia byutilising an efficient mechanism of state terror; the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, known simply as the ‘Cheka’.

What Lessons for the Organization and Conduct of Intelligence can be Drawn from 9/11?

“The terrorist attacks of the September 11th 2001” have, as Len Scott and Peter Jackson assert, “brought intelligence issues to the forefront of both official and popular discourse on security and international affairs.”[1] Not since the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbour in 1941 has an ‘intelligence failure’ had such ramifications on the United States intelligence agencies, and upon the global intelligence community. The aftermath of the terrorist atrocities visited upon the United States in 2001 has led to numerous commissions and reviews regarding the organisation and conduct of the US intelligence agencies, and the manner in which data is managed and disseminated.

Is the Emergence of International Terrorism Likely to Further Undermine the Institution of the State?

In the post-September 11th world international terrorism is synonymous with catastrophic violence and unprecedented threats to states. International terrorist groups, by their structure, makeup as non-state actors, logistical mechanisms and resources are inherently unpredictable. As we have seen in the bombing of Madrid and the ongoing violence in Iraq, terrorist groups have expanded beyond national boundaries and therefore have an unparalleled ability to strike globally. The common impression of the phenomenon of international terrorism is that it is ‘more dangerous or at least more difficult to counter’[2]than conventional, often nationalistic and politically-motivated, terrorism.

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).

How convincing is the idea of ‘international society’ at the centre of the English school approach?

There are many labels attached to theories within International Relations, the English school being no exception; commonly referred to as Rationalist, Grotian or after any of its key supporters (Bull, Wight, Vincent &c.). The multitude of names alludes to the nature of the theory, for there are multiple interpretations of […]

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