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.

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.

To What Extent Might the Crimean War be Regarded as a Foretaste of Modern War?

‘For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’ took on a Dickensian invocation in Hard Times, Tennyson published his Maud as a portrayal of the widely-held belief that war could act as a rejuvenating force in corruptible industrial nations, and an alliance of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia declared war against Russia in 1853; hastily preparing an expeditionary force for the Crimea. The cause célèbre of the war has been held as opportunistic Russian expansionism into the fragmenting territories of the Ottoman Empire, which antagonised Great Britain[1], causing anxiety toward continued British naval superiority.

Of What Value to the Allied War Effort in the Second World War was the Work of the Special Operations Executive?

“Splendid, I shall research on subversive war” declared Major J. C. Holland in 1938 and through his ideas were born the commandos, the deception industry, the escape services and eventually the greater part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE)[1]. The SOE was a new secret service organisation formed by the British Government to coordinate subversion, paramilitary and irregular warfare through foreign resistance movements in territories occupied by the enemy in the Second World War.

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 the Nationalist Ideal still at the Heart of Politics in the 21st Century?

“Nationalism”, asserts Fred Halliday, “has been one of the formative processes of the modern world”[1]and many argue that nationalist ideology continues to play an important part in the political discourse and decisions of the developed and developing world. In the dialogue of this essay I will; briefly define the ‘nationalist ideal’ and the complications such a definition raises; examine the nature of contemporary nationalism and whether this can be ascribed as ‘new nationalism’; ascertain the impact that modernity and globalisation has on the nationalist ideal; and present a discussion on the relevance of nationalism in the conduct of politics in the United States, with particular focus upon the internationalist scope of American nationalism and the need to securitize subjectivity in times of uncertainty and existential anxiety.

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.

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