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.

How Important are Shared Culture, Language and Values to the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the United States?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

In 1946 Sir Winston Churchill delivered his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Missouri, speculating on the future of the world order. Within it, he described “the fraternal association of the English-speaking people” that meant “a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States of America”[1]. Since that day politicians, academics and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic frequently describe the warm diplomatic, cultural and historical relations between the United States and the United Kingdom as being a ‘special relationship’.

Does the so-called ‘Bush Doctrine’ of 2002 Represent a Radical Shift in the US Government’s Attitude Towards Foreign Policy?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

American foreign policy has been a widely debated area of diplomatic history and international relations for most of the last century, and President George W. Bush’s latest reincarnation has stimulated no less debate: Indeed, as Leffler recognises, there is enormous controversy surrounding the manifestation of contemporary US foreign policy – known colloquially as the ‘Bush Doctrine’ – The National Security Strategy of the United States of America(NSS).

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

Adam Groves • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

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.

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