Category Archives: Politics and International Relations

The United Nations, Peacekeeping and Global Governance – Kate Seaman’s book is a YBP core title for 2014

Untied nationsKate Seaman’s book Un-tied Nations: The United Nations, Peacekeeping and Global Governance has been selected by Yankee Book Pedlar as a UK core title. This is a special commendation, as only 300 books a year receive this designation.

UN-Tied Nations provides a concise and analytical introduction to the ongoing debates around the development of global governance, global security governance, and the continuous impact these are having on the ability of the United Nations to act as an international peacekeeper.

With the recent developments in the Middle East the United Nations is once again making headlines. The failure to reach agreement on Security Council resolutions demonstrates the continued problems in forging a coherent international response to crisis situations. This lack of coherence continues despite recognition of the need for more cooperation to solve the growing list of global problems. With the relative success of global governance initiatives in relation to the environment, health issues, and economic problems, the focus has increasingly shifted to the problems of international security. This timely and important book represents a response to that shift and the implications this has for the wider international system.

Using a number of relevant case studies (including the UN interventions in Bosnia, Somalia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and East Timor) Kate Seaman examines the securitisation of global governance through the prism of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and demonstrates that the development of both global governance and global security governance have transformed the environment in which international organisations, such as the United Nations, are operating. The author also brings together a number of the key academic debates surrounding both global security governance and peacekeeping, and combines an examination of the power relations of global security governance with the changing nature of peacekeeping operations. By bringing the two areas together the book for the first time bridges existing literatures and debates, from theoretical discussions of global governance, to practical examinations of peacekeeping operations.

‘As peacekeepers engage with peace-building in intensely divided post-conflict environments, they find themselves labouring in the engine room of other societies’ political systems. Should peacekeeping become a form of governance, and if it does, what becomes of the original enterprise of peacekeeping? Kate Seaman’s book argues that peacekeeping has been degraded and delegitimised by its encounter with global governance. She supports this argument with interviews with prominent policy-makers, a wide ranging review of the literature on peacekeeping and global governance, and case studies. This book makes a critical contribution to the debate about how peacekeeping and global governance should evolve.’   Hugh Miall, University of Kent, UK

‘Conceptually informed and empirically rich, Seaman skilfully unpacks recent developments in UN peace-keeping through the lens of global governance theory. This incisive work brings together and synthesises the -at times – confounding array of voices surrounding the utility of UN peace-keeping operations and brings an impressive degree of clarity to a frequently opaque discussion. The analysis presented is compelling, at times provocative and always illuminating.’   Feargal Cochrane, Conflict Analysis Research Centre, University of Kent, UK

Kate Seaman is a teaching fellow at the University of Bath.

Understanding the Tea Party Movement

Understanding the Tea Party MovementUnderstanding the Tea Party Movement is edited by Nella Van Dyke, University of California, Merced, USA, and David S. Meyer, University of California, Irvine, USA

‘With the rise and now potential decline of the Tea Party movement, we have been sorely in need of a volume explaining this pivotal early 21st century conservative mobilization. With Van Dyke and Meyer’s edited volume, containing chapters written by scholars foremost in their field, we now have the definitive source on this fascinating and important social movement.’   Holly McCammon, Vanderbilt University, USA

‘When the Tea Party movement erupted, it challenged mainstream politics and scholars: where did the Tea Party’s resources come from? Who were its supporters? What defined their goals and identities? In this volume, some of the most insightful scholars of social movements today provide convincing answers to these questions. Better than any other, this volume shows why the Tea Party emerged and how it has reshaped the political landscape.’   Jack A. Goldstone, George Mason University, USA

Hailing themselves as heirs to the American Revolution, the Tea Party movement staged tax day protests in over 750 US cities in April 2009, quickly establishing a large and volatile social movement. Tea Partiers protested at town hall meetings about health care across the country in August, leading to a large national demonstration in Washington on September 12, 2009.

The movement spurred the formation (or redefinition) of several national organizations and many more local groups, and emerged as a strong force within the Republican Party. Self-described Tea Party candidates won victories in the November 2010 elections.

Even as activists demonstrated their strength and entered government, the future of the movement’s influence, and even its ultimate goals, are very much in doubt. In 2012, Barack Obama, the movement’s prime target, decisively won re-election, Congressional Republicans were unable to govern, and the Republican Party publicly wrestled with how to manage the insurgency within.

Although there is a long history of conservative movements in America, the library of social movement studies leans heavily to the left. The Tea Party movement, its sudden emergence and its uncertain fate, provides a challenge to mainstream American politics. It also challenges scholars of social movements to reconcile this new movement with existing knowledge about social movements in America.

Understanding the Tea Party Movement addresses these challenges by explaining why and how the movement emerged when it did, how it relates to earlier eruptions of conservative populism, and by raising critical questions about the movement’s ultimate fate.

About the Editors:

Nella Van Dyke is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced, USA. She is the editor of Strategic Alliances: Coalition Building and Social Movements.

David S. Meyer is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine, USA. He is the author of The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America and editor of Routing the Opposition: Social Movements, Public Policy, and Democracy in America and Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State.

Contributors: Rory McVeigh; Tina Fetner; Brayden G. King; Paul Almeida, Nella Van Dyke; David S. Meyer, Amanda Pullum, Abby Scher, Chip Berlet; Deana A. Rohlinger, Jesse Klein; Ruth Braunstein.

Recent reviews by the LSE Review of Books

The LSE Review of Books regularly features Ashgate titles. It’s a fantastic site for book reviews in general, and covers a wide range of social science topics, including sociology, politics and IR, architecture, planning, gender studies, to name just a few.

Recent reviews of Ashgate books include:

Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Oriented Perspective on Radicalisation and the Escalation of Political Conflict, edited by Lorenzo Bosi, Chares Demetriou and Stefan Malthaner

Unconventional Warfare in South Asia: Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency by Scott Gates and Kaushik Roy

The Greening of Architecture: A Critical History and Survey of Contemporary Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design, by Phillip James Tabb and A. Senem Deviren

Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection: Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture by Deborah Harris-Moore

The Impact of Racism on African American Families: Literature as Social Science by Paul C. Rosenblatt

The Greening of ArchitectureUnconventional warfare in south asiaThe impact of racism on african american familiesDynamics of political violence

For more reviews visit the LSE Review of Books

When Soldiers Say No: Selective Conscientious Objection in the Modern Military

“adds considerably to the literature by bringing together a range of perspectives on the merits of selective conscientious objection, as well as consideration of its application (or lack thereof) in a number of states. Its interdisciplinary nature is particularly attractive.”

Gary Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool John Moores University, has reviewed When Soldiers Say No for the LSE Review of Books. You can read his full review here.

Shannon E. French, Case Western Reserve University:

‘We expect members of the military to accept civilian authority and not determine foreign policy. But what if a nation commits its troops to an unjust war? Are they then morally obligated to refuse to fight? This is a question with potentially devastating real-world consequences that should concern every citizen. Whetham, Robinson, and Ellner have produced a brilliant, provocative volume that examines the issue of selective conscientious objection from many perspectives and across several cultures to provide a balanced array of arguments from which readers can derive their own conclusions.’

David Rodin, University of Oxford:

‘The issue of selective conscientious objection is where the rubber really hits the road for recent debates about the moral status of soldiers. The real achievement of this fine volume is to connect the theoretical debate with the concrete policy challenges faced by military and government – and to substantially advance both. Essential reading for anyone working on the ethics of war.’

When soldiers say noTraditionally few people challenged the distinction between absolute and selective conscientious objection by those being asked to carry out military duties. The former is an objection to fighting all wars – a position generally respected and accommodated by democratic states, while the latter is an objection to a specific war or conflict – theoretically and practically a much harder idea to accept and embrace for military institutions.

However, a decade of conflict not clearly aligned to vital national interests combined with recent acts of selective conscientious objection by members of the military have led some to reappraise the situation and argue that selective conscientious objection ought to be legally recognised and permitted. Political, social and philosophical factors lie behind this new interest, which together mean that the time is ripe for a fresh and thorough evaluation of the topic.

This book brings together arguments for and against selective conscientious objection, as well as case studies examining how different countries deal with those who claim the status of selective conscientious objectors. As such, it sheds new light on a topic of increasing importance to those concerned with military ethics and public policy, within military institutions, government, and academia.

When Soldiers Say No is edited by Andrea Ellner, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, Paul Robinson, professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the University of Ottawa, and David Whetham, Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies, King’s College London, based at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the UK Defence Academy.

Contents:

Foreword, Jeff McMahan

Introduction, Andrea Ellner, Paul Robinson and David Whetham

Part I Arguments For and Against Accepting Selective Conscientious Objection:

The duty of diligence: knowledge, responsibility, and selective conscientious objection, Brian Imiola

There is no real moral obligation to obey orders: escaping from ‘low cost deontology’, Emmanuel R. Goffi

Selective conscientious objection: a violation of the social contract, Melissa Bergeron

Who guards the guards? The importance of civilian control of the military, David Fisher

An empirical defense of combat moral equality, Michael Skerker

Selective conscientious objection and the just society, Dan Zupan

Part II Case Studies in Selective Conscientious Objection:

Selective conscientious objection in Australia, Stephen Coleman and Nikki Coleman (with Richard Adams)

Conscientious objection to military service in Britain, Stephen Deakin

Selective conscientious objection: philosophical and conceptual doubts in light of Israeli case law, Yossi Nehushtan

Claims for refugee protection in Canada by selective objectors: an evolving jurisprudence, Yves Le Bouthillier

Conscience in lieu of obedience: cases of selective conscientious objection in the German Bundeswehr, Jürgen Rose

Part III Conclusions:

Selective conscientious objection: some guidelines for implementation, J. Carl Ficarrotta

War resisters in the US and Britain – supporting the case for a right to selective conscientious objection?, Andrea Ellner

The practice and philosophy of selective conscientious objection, Andrea Ellner, Paul Robinson and David Whetham

A new review article by Geraint Hughes, of British Generals in Blair’s Wars

A Review Article by Geraint Hughes, of British Generals in Blair’s Wars, was published in the November 2013 issue (6) of The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs

Here’s a short extract:

Over the past 15 years the British armed forces have almost constantly been in a state of war. At the time of writing Britain has fought in seven external conflicts: the joint US–UK bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998, the Kosovo War (March–June 1999), the intervention in Sierra Leone (April 2000–September 2001), the NATO-led mission to end the Macedonian civil war (August 2001), the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan (October 2001 onwards) and Iraq (March 2003–July 2011), and the multinational air campaign in Libya (March–August 2011). At the beginning of this period, the British armed forces—the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF)—were hailed by the Labour government of Tony Blair as a ‘force for good’ in world affairs, and the ‘New Labour’ ideology emphasised UK involvement in humanitarian intervention in overseas conflicts.

Currently, however, there is widespread fatigue and disillusionment among Britain’s politicians, senior military commanders and the general public, arising from the legacy of the Iraq war and Britain’s embroilment in Afghanistan, and the parliamentary vote blocking UK participation in any US-led air strikes against Syria (29 August 2013) can be seen as evidence of a widespread and fundamental hostility towards military interventions overseas. Above all, the laudatory and often self-congratulatory commentary about the inherent skills of the British armed forces has become a casualty of the fighting in Basra and Helmand.

Thousands of servicemen and women have served in demanding overseas tours, with hundreds giving their lives in the process, and thousands more dealing with the physical and psychological traumas that come from engagement in combat. The three armed services—and in particular the Army—are now tarnished with a word rarely used since 1942: ‘defeat’. If success can encourage complacency, failure often leads to soul-searching, introspection and recriminations.

British Generals in Blairs WarsIn this volume, two former British Army officers (Major General Jonathan Bailey and Colonel Richard Iron) and a military historian (Hew Strachan) have collected a series of essays from serving and veteran senior commanders, based on papers originally delivered at the ‘Campaigning and Generalship’ seminars held at the University of Oxford’s Changing Character of War Programme between 2005 and 2012. These provide a professional analysis of the armed forces’ performance—and that of the Army in particular—in ‘Blair’s Wars’. Collectively, they make for illuminating and sobering reading…

British Generals in Blair’s Wars is a valuable contribution to the debate surrounding Britain’s recent experiences of war, and on the future of both the UK’s armed forces and its national strategy. It is required reading for historians and political scientists interested in the UK’s politico-military relationships, and is also of relevance for comparative purposes for scholars interested in the foreign and defence policies of other states.

If you subscribe to this journal, this is the link to the full review article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00358533.2013.857810

More information about British Generals in Blair’s Wars

Carol Weaver on Peace Building in the Black Sea Region

This is a guest post from Carol Weaver, author of The Politics of the Black Sea Region. This post originally appeared on Abkhaz World.

The Politics of the Black Sea RegionThe Politics of the Black Sea Region: EU neighbourhood, conflict zone or future security community? is a new book in which I analyse the political systems and conflicts of the region’s nations and discuss their interactions and how the region could become a security community. A simple definition of a security community is that it is a community of sovereign entities, within a particular region, that do not expect war with each other. Deutsch and his co-authors, in 1957, described a security community as a group of people who believe that common social problems must and can be resolved by the process of peaceful change using appropriate institutions.The people within the security community develop a sense of trust and common interest. However, in order for such a community to arise, a bottom-up approach is required as well as top-down institutionalism (Buzan 1991). This bottom-up approach is attempted through people-to-people contacts such as trade, sport and civil society meetings. I have added that in order for a security community to arise and endure there must be regional ‘balanced multipolarity’ as there still is in the EU as a whole (following on from the work of Hyde-Price (2007).

As well as writing about the region as a possible future security community, I have recently been privileged to be part of the ‘bottom-up approach’ via the European Movement International’s Tbilisi Process which brings together the local South Caucasus European Movements to discuss peace building in the region. These European Movements are also creating a network of young people in the south of the Black Sea region, in particular those from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Georgia to promote peace and  people-to people contacts. They have shared goals for the region – mainly open borders, trade and freedom of movement.

As I recently wrote in Abkhaz World, very often the people in regions of conflict wait for politicians or international institutions ‘to do something’. And in many post-Soviet nations there is still an attitude that initiatives should be top-down rather than bottom-up. There are two main problems with this. Firstly if something is done then will the people be ready to live together again? (And the international community might be more willing to help if they could see that people on both sides of a border could co-exist.) Secondly if nothing is done then will the people feel powerless and condemned to wait?

People-to-people contacts can help with both of these problems, firstly by preparing the people to make friends as far as possible in advance of open borders, and secondly to help them realise that they are not powerless and can actually begin to work towards peace without waiting for the authorities to act.

Dr Carol Weaver is a part-time lecturer and tutor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester, UK. She is widely published on the European Union and the wider Black Sea region and is also a member of various political committees and think-tanks which advise the European Union and others on EU enlargement, the Eastern Partnership, the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region.

Carol Weaver is the co-editor (with Karen Henderson) of The Black Sea Region and EU
Policy: The Challenge of Divergent Agendas

Call for proposals for new series – Emerging Technologies, Ethics and International Affairs

Posted by Kirstin Howgate, Publisher for Politics and International Relations

Jai Galliott, Avery Plaw and Katina Michael launch a new series – Emerging Technologies, Ethics and International Affairs – which examines the crucial ethical, legal and public policy questions arising from (or exacerbated by) the design, development and eventual adoption of new technologies across all related fields, from education and engineering to medicine and military affairs.

This series encourages submission of cutting-edge research monographs and edited collections with a particular focus on forward-looking ideas concerning innovative or as yet undeveloped technologies.

There are two key themes:

  • Moral issues in research, engineering and design
  • Ethical, legal and political/policy issues in the use and regulation of technology

The Series Editors: Jai C. Galliott, Macquarie University, Australia, Avery Plaw, University of Massachusetts, USA and Katina Michael, University of Wollongong, Australia

For more information on how to submit a proposal to this series, please contact Kirstin Howgate, Publisher for Politics and International Relations.