Essays

China’s Rise and American Hegemony: Towards a Peaceful Co-Existence?

Andy Jones • Dec 22 2007 • Essays
This essay is primarily concerned with the effect of China’s inevitable rise on Sino-American relations. Most importantly, it discusses whether China will rise peacefully or if its growing power will result in aggression and confrontation towards the United States. The essay fundamentally argues that continued American anxiety over the ‘China threat’ is increasingly unnecessary as America’s overwhelming power dissuades challengers, including China, from attempting to modify the status quo.

Compare the Different Perspectives on the Causes of the Palestinian Refugee Issue and Discuss why it is so Difficult to Resolve

Andrew Jones • Dec 21 2007 • Essays
The Palestinian refugee crisis has been one of the biggest sources of conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and what are now known as the Israelis, since the partition confirmed by the UN General Assembly on 29th November 1947. In answering the proposition, it shall first be necessary to establish whether the Zionists sought to peacefully integrate Arabs into their proposed state, as they themselves claim. Then it shall be wise to question if the Palestinians fled their homeland because they were terrified of the Israeli forces, or for other reasons. As Israeli and Arab behaviour in the immediate period after the 1949 Armistice Agreement is assessed, it shall be contemplated why the issue is so difficult to resolve. It shall also be maintained that there are disputes over who are and are not refugees, and that there is much Palestinian anger at how Arabs are treated inside Israel today.

Comparatively Assess Neo-realism and Neo-liberalism. Whose Argument do you Find the More Convincing and Why?

Andrew Jones • Dec 21 2007 • Essays
Despite the fact that there are some similarities between neo-realism and neo-liberalism, it shall be the differences between these theories that will be the focus of my attention, as it will help me to determine more rigorously which of the arguments is the more convincing. The points of comparison shall be the effects of the anarchical international system, and thus, the extent to which cooperation can be achieved, the importance of relative and absolute gains, the conflict between state capabilities and interests, and finally the importance of institutions and regimes. It is important to note that neo-realism is often also called structural realism, and neo-liberalism neo-liberal institutionalism. As the question prefers to call the theories neo-realism and neo-liberalism, this is what I shall do throughout.

Is there a Primary Cause to War?

Andrew Jones • Dec 21 2007 • Essays
This response to the proposition shall focus upon four broad areas within the causes of war. Firstly, it will be necessary to speak of necessary causes of war, as these feature heavily in the literature on war causation. The discussion will then move on to questioning whether or not it is simply human nature that yearns to constantly fight aggressive wars. Then it shall be necessary to address those permissive cause of war which is a notable feature of the world in which we live, before finally outlining the different forms of misperception that are often a crucial instigator for war.

The Cause of Positivism’s Dominance

Adam Groves • Dec 16 2007 • Essays
This essay will critically analyse the notion that there is a fundamental difference between the tasks of ‘explaining’ (comprehending ‘causes’) and ‘understanding’ (comprehending ‘reasons’). First, the essay will examine the emergence of the sharp division, which has come to be accepted as existent between ‘explaining’ (which is advocated by positivists) and ‘understanding’ (which is advocated by post-positivists). Second, one important consequence of the division will be demonstrated by showing how the intellectual battles between positivists and post-positivists, as well as the occasional attempts at reconciliation between them, have been instrumental in positivism’s dominance. Finally, the work of Milja Kurki will be drawn upon to argue that the concept of causation should be broadened, thereby exposing the interrelated nature of ‘explaining’ and ‘understanding’ without reducing one to the other. This will allow for positivism’s dominance to be effectively challenged.

The Politics of Aid: Helping Darfur?

Adam Groves • Dec 13 2007 • Essays
In Darfur aid keeps over 2 million people alive amidst huge insecurity and the mobilisation of extremist politics. However, the humanitarian effort appears to be having unintended political consequences. There is some evidence that humanitarian access is being manipulated to suit government interests; IDP camps have become integrated into the conflict dynamic through the manipulation of population movements; aid is being diverted by military factions; and inter-tribal tensions are being exacerbated. Further research is required to determine the extent of these processes and exactly how they are affecting the course of the conflict.

The Construction of a ‘Liberation’: Gender and the ‘National Liberation Movement’ in Zimbabwe

Adam Groves • Dec 13 2007 • Essays
Working within a constructivist framework, this essay will show that the process of ‘imagining communities’ (Anderson, 1993) and ‘inventing traditions’ (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983) had very different consequences for the men and women of Zimbabwe’s national liberation movement.

Are Sanctions an Appropriate Tool for Coercion in International Politics? Why?

Adam Groves • Dec 3 2007 • Essays
The increasing use of sanctions as an instrument of coercion in the international system has been noted with alarm by academics and humanitarian agencies alike. Despite observations that they ‘do not work’ (Pape, 1997) and cause intolerable human suffering (Gordon, 1999) sanctions have become the ‘standard reaction to a crisis’ (Mayall, 1984: 631). It appears that policymakers continue to view them as an appropriate tool for coercion in international politics despite their highlighted deficiencies.

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

Adam Groves • Dec 3 2007 • Essays
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.

Why is the Concept of Preventive War so Controversial in World Politics and how is it Dissimilar to the Idea of Pre-emption?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays
“One can never anticipate the ways of divine providence securely enough” to declare war because one held a belief of the future hostile intent of one’s adversaries, remarked Otto von Bismarck in 1875. Such arguments have surrounded the concepts of preemption and its illegitimate counterpart – prevention – long before the inception of the controversial Bush Doctrine in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States. Preemption has been practiced for centuries as a legitimate means of self-defense for states. Prevention, an aggressive strategy intended to neutralise a threat before it can come fully into existence, has traditionally been outlawed under international law, international organisations and Just War theory.

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