Home l A2 Index l A2 Unit 5 Questions l A2 Jokers Unit6 Notes

Once again, joker has come up trumps - see Unit 6 for more details...
Contents:
Unit 5 Key Questions
Nuclear Proliferation/Arms Control
US Foreign Policy
Conflict
Peacekeeping / Intervention
Human Rights
Terrorism

Unit 5 – Issues in International Politics – Key Questions

1. Nuclear Proliferation / Arms Control

What are WMDs and why do states wish to develop them?

What is meant by vertical and horizontal proliferation?

What has been done to combat the proliferation of WMDs?

Why is it such a difficult problem to solve?

2. US Foreign Policy

What are the main priorities of US foreign policy?

Has George Bush pushed US foreign policy in a more unilateralist direction?

Are there significant foreign policy differences between Europe, and why are there tensions between the two?

3.
Conflict

What are the main causes of war in the modern world?

Is conflict more prevalent in the modern world?

Is it still meaningful to distinguish between civil wars and inter-state wars?

4. Peacekeeping / Interventionism

What forms has peacekeeping taken in recent years?

When is it legitimate to intervene in conflicts?

How dependant is international peacekeeping and intervention on US involvement?

5.
Human Rights

What international mechanisms exist for upholding human rights and how effective are they?

Why is there more determination in the modern world to uphold human rights?

Are war crimes trials effective?

6. 9/11 / Terrorism

What is terrorism and why is it so difficult to combat?

What is the significance of the 9/11 attack?

Does the war on terrorism imply “a clash of civilisations”?

(Covered in Unit 4 as well)

7. EU
8. OSCE
9. North South issues
10. Anti-globalisation

Nuclear Proliferation / Arms Control

What are WMDs and why do states wish to develop them?
*
There is no treaty or customary international law that contains an authoritative definition. Instead, international law has been used with respect to the specific categories of weapons within WMD, and not to WMD as a whole.
*
Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) generally include nuclear, biological, chemical and, increasingly, radiological weapons. The term first arose in 1937 in reference to the mass destruction of Guernica, Spain, by aerial bombardment.
*
The US military refers to WMD as: “Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons.”
*
Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and progressing through the Cold War, the term came to refer more to non-conventional weapons.
*
The phrase entered popular usage in relation to the U.S.-led multinational forces' 2003 invasion of Iraq.
*
Because of their indiscriminate impacts, fear of WMD has shaped political policies and campaigns, fostered social movements, and has been the central theme of many films.
*
Support for different levels of WMD development and control varies nationally and internationally.
*
Until 1998 the declared nuclear powers were the permanent members of the Security Council (USA, UK, Russia, France and China), but now after carrying out a series of nuclear tests India, Pakistan and Israel have joined the list. However there are opaque nuclear states that are widely believed to have nuclear programmes including Iran and North Korea.
*
states “develop nuclear weapons because [they] feel insecure or you want to project power or influence” (Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency) He went on to say that they look at the 8 nuclear declared countries and see that they still heavily rely on their nuclear weapons and so feel that that is the right way to go. Reluctance of nuclear ‘haves’ to give up nuclear deterrence provides model to others and undermines call to prevent horizontal proliferation.
*
Nuclear Deterrence
*
“Some countries… may decide to develop nuclear weapons because they fear a more powerful neighboring country may attack them” (Monterey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation Studies)
*
"Nations develop nuclear weapons because they feel threatened. Unless you address the threat, you cannot address proliferation” (Scott Gartner)
*
Chiao Kuan-hua, Chairman of the Delegation of the People's Republic of China and Minister of Foreign Affairs in a speech to the General Assembly in November 1971 said “China is compelled to develop nuclear weapons because she is under the nuclear threat of the two superpowers. We develop nuclear weapons solely for the purpose of self-defence and for breaking the superpowers' nuclear monopoly and finally eliminating nuclear weapons.”
*
Shafqat Mahmood of Pakistan stated that they needed to “develop nuclear weapons because [they] needed to feel secure”
What is meant by vertical and horizontal proliferation?
Vertical proliferation
*
“Vertical nuclear proliferation [is] an increase in the capabilities of the existing nuclear powers” (Kegley and Wittkopf) Non-nuclear states generally worry about this
Horizontal proliferation
*
“Horizontal nuclear proliferation [is] an increase in the number of states that posess nuclear weapons” (Kegley and Wittkopf) States that worry about this are generally those who already have declared nuclear capability

What has been done to combat the proliferation of WMDs?
*
In the post-Cold War period there is greater concern about nuclear proliferation. “the spread of nuclear weapons themselves and the technology and knowledge required to build them” (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape)
*
“Reflecting the power positions of the nuclear weapons states … horizontal proliferation always received much greater attention” (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape) For example the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty of 1968 placed great emphasis on horizontal proliferation, barely mentioning vertical proliferation at all.
*
The development and use of WMD is governed by international conventions and treaties, although not all countries have signed and ratified them:
*
Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) 1963
*
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) 1968
*
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) 1996
*
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) 1972
*
Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) 1993
*
In 1996 the International Court of Justice provided an advisory opinion regarding the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The statement is an authoritative legal pronouncement but not legally binding. It stated that any threat of the use of force, or the use of force, by means of nuclear weapons that is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter or that fails to meet all the requirements of Article 51 would be unlawful.
*
Adopted by the UN Security Council on April 28, 2004, UN Resolution 1540 recognizes the threat posed to international peace and security by nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery. It calls upon greater effort by nations to limit proliferation of such weapons.
*
“Treaties and conventions are the international legal arrangements designed to limit proliferation” (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape)
*
The key treaty covering the proliferation of nuclear armaments is the NPT. However there have always been concerns over the discrimination inherent within the treaty which prioritized horizontal over vertical proliferation and was perceived to give all the duties to the non-nuclear states and all the rights to the nuclear weapon states. (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape)
*
Another important treaty is the CTBT. 44 named states have to ratify the treaty for it to come into force. So far, as of April 2006, only 34 of the 44 countries have ratified it. Those who are yet to ratify it include the US, India, Pakistan, China and Israel.
*
178 states are party to the CWT which came into force in 1997 and aims to have removed all chemical weapons by April 2012. At the present time 6 member countries still have chemical weapon stockpiles and 12 have chemical weapons production facilities including the US, Russia and India. By the end of 2004, 47 of 64 declared facilities had been destroyed or converted to civilian uses. Of the world’s declared chemical stockpiles 17% had been destroyed by January 2006. Several countries that are not members are suspected of having chemical weapons, especially Syria and North Korea while some member states (including Sudan and China) have been accused by others of failing to disclose their stockpiles. “Critics remain sceptical of the CWC’s deterrent abilities” (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape)
*
The BWC was entered into force in March 1975 and presently has 171 signatories. However the BWC has important shortcomings; most importantly it has no verification regime.
*
“Because of these shortcomings it is recognized that the CWC and BWC are in themselves insufficient to deal with the chemical and biological weapons threat” (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape)
*
“Because of suspicions about other states it is very hard to entrust a state’s security to an international arrangement, so the agreements that do exist are limited in scope” (J. Spear and F. Robertson-Snape)
*
There is a strong tradition of export control over WMDs and their components, particularly important are the London Group and the Australia Group both set up in 1975.
*
However all the export regimes have limitations which inhibit their effectiveness:
*
These export control arrangements do not include every supplier state and therefore the coverage they supply is incomplete, for example the refusal of China to participate in them.
*
Each of these export control regimes relies upon national interpretation and implementation of the rules
*
“the level of enforcement of the export controls differs markedly among the various countries…[and] non-proliferation concerns regularly take a back seat to commercial and foreign policy goals” (Peter van Ham)
*
National interpretation of export controls can also lead to disputes over whether or not a transfer is breaking a regime’s guidelines, for example disputed between China and the US over Chinese missile sales to Pakistan
*
Because they are supplier-led they tackle the symptoms but not the causes of the insecurity that leads to the proliferation of WMDs
*
Multilateral agreements to establish nuclear weapons-free zones, e.g. the Bangkok Treaty and the Antarctic Treaty, help to combat the proliferation of WMDs:
*
They are confidence-building measures designed to prevent the operation of the security dilemma by showing that no state in the region will destabilize the situation by seeking nuclear weapons
*
They are designed to safeguard the region form the nuclear weapons of outside powers who invited to become signatories
*
They are intended to boost efforts towards nuclear disarmament by questioning the legitimacy and desirability of nuclear weapons.

Why is nuclear proliferation such a concern in the post-Cold War world?
*
Worries regarding Iraq in aftermath of Golf War
*
Demise of USSR has led to increased danger of spread of nuclear materials and know-how, maybe even to terrorist groups
*
Worries regarding new arms race in South Asia and fears that Kashmir crisis could lead to nuclear exchange
*
Continued problem of insecurity / security dilemma for many states only makes arms escalation more likely
*
International community only willing to look at supply-side of proliferation issue rather than demand side
*
Hypocrisy of power e.g. USA championing non-proliferation but ‘opting-out’ of international agreements and failing to significantly reduce nuclear stockpiles

Why is it such a difficult problem to solve?
*
“The obstacles to increased proliferation are fragile, as shown by the nuclear development programs of India and Pakistan in 1998, and the collapse of the nuclear test-ban’s future following the U.S. rejection of the CTBT. The incentives to join the nuclear club and to acquire missiles and bombers for delivery are strong” (Kegley and Wittkopf)
*
The materials needed to make a nuclear weapon are widely available. This is partly due to the widespread use of nuclear technologies for generating electricity. Today 428 nuclear power and research reactors are in operation in 44 countries throughout the world (Defense Monitor) States could reprocess the uranium and plutonium to make secret nuclear weapons. In the early 2000s commercial reprocessing reactors were producing enough plutonium to make 40000 nuclear weapons.
*
The scientific expertise needed has spread with the globalisation of advanced scientific training.
*
Export controls are weak.
*
The safeguards built into the non-proliferation regime are “simply inadequate to detect and prevent secret nuclear weapons development programs” (Kegley and Wittkopf)
*
“Non-proliferation concerns regularly take a back seat to commercial and foreign policy goals” (Peter van Ham)
*
“Nuclear weapons serve as a symbol of status and power” (Kegley and Wittkopf)
*
“The underlying belief that it is acceptable to develop a nuclear capacity for deterrence, political influence and prestige was expressed in 1999 by India’s national security advisor…when he justified India’s nuclear ambitions” (Kegley and Wittkopf)
*
It is unlikely that the nuclear threat will cease “There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell we’ll eliminate all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. That genie is long since out of the bottle and there is no chance of ever getting him back in” (Matthew Bunn, editor of Arms Control Today)
*
“The problem is, if you eliminate them all, then any country that built just a few nuclear weapons would have enormous blackmail power” (Davidson)

US Foreign Policy

What are the main priorities of US foreign policy?

*
The United States has vast economic, political and military influence on a global scale, which makes its foreign policy a subject of great interest and discussion around the world.
*
Goals of U.S. foreign policy repeatedly mentioned and emphasized by U.S. officials are:
*
Protecting the safety and freedom of all American citizens, both within the United States and abroad.
*
Defense policy and procurement decisions related to force posture.
*
Promotion of peace, freedom (most notably of speech and enterprise), and democracy in all regions of the world.
*
Furthering free trade, unencumbered by tariffs, interdictions and other economic barriers, and furthering capitalism in order to foster economic growth, improve living conditions everywhere, and promote the sale and mobility of U.S. products to international consumers who desire them.
*
Bringing developmental and humanitarian aid to foreign peoples in need.
*
The Bush Doctrine:
*
It was officially enunciated on September 20, 2002, in a policy document issued by the Bush administration and titled 'The National Security Strategy of the United States of America'.
*
It originated from a set of foreign policies adopted by the President of the United States George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
*
In an address to the United States Congress after the attacks, President Bush had declared that the U.S. would "make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them," a statement that was followed by the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
*
The Bush Doctrine has come to be identified with a policy that permits preventive war against potential aggressors before they are capable of mounting attacks against the United States, a view that has been used in part as a rationale for the 2003 Iraq War.
*
The Bush Doctrine is a marked departure from the policies of deterrence that generally characterized American foreign policy during the Cold War and brief period between the collapse of the Soviet Union and 9/11.
*
The 2002 Bush Doctrine can be summarized in ten points :
*
1. Unilateralism is to replace multilateralism, when preventive war is required to protect American interests and those of allies;
*
2. The role of the United Nations is de facto considerably reduced;
*
3. International conflicts can be resolved through the use of military force, when diplomacy fails;
*
4. The result would be the advent of a ‘Pax Americana’; (denotes the period of relative peace in the Western world since the end of World War II in 1945, coinciding with the dominant military and economic position of the United States. It places the U.S. in the military and diplomatic role of a modern-day Roman Empire (//Pax Romana//).)
*
5. End of the policy of nuclear mutual deterrence;
*
6. Initiation of a worldwide crusade for liberty and democracy;
*
7. Pursuit of a policy of American military supremacy;
*
8. Introduction of the ideology of moral absolutism in American interventions abroad;
*
9. Nations are to be ranked according to American standards;
*
10. Active promotion of American economic interests around the world.
*
This ambitious Bush Doctrine of American foreign policy is designed to establish a new world order under U. S. leadership. It marks a net break with the post World War II international framework, based on international law and international organizations, such as the United Nations.
*
For the last sixty years, wars of aggression have been outlawed under the terms of the United Nations Charter. The militarization of American foreign policy could generate accusations of imperialism.
*
It was fully defined by National Security Strategy of the United States:
*
Preemption - A policy of preventive war, should the US or its allies be threatened by terrorists or by rogue states that are engaged in the production of weapons of mass destruction.The right of self-defense should be extended in order to authorize pre-emptive attacks against potential aggressors cutting them off before they are able to launch strikes against the US.
*
Unilateralism - The duty of the US to pursue unilateral military action when acceptable multilateral solutions cannot be found.
*
Strength Beyond Challenge - The policy that "United States has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge", indicating the US intends to take actions as necessary to continue its status as the world's sole military superpower. This resembles a British Empire policy before World War I that their navy must be larger than the world's next two largest navies put together.
*
Extending Democracy, Liberty, and Security to All Regions - A policy of actively promoting democracy and freedom in all regions of the world. Bush declared at West Point, "America has no empire to extend or utopia to establish. We wish for others only what we wish for ourselves -- safety from violence, the rewards of liberty, and the hope for a better life."
*
Encouraging stronger and more direct policies against terrorism from other nations. - It should be noted that the latter two principles have been the official policy of the United States enumerated in all National Security Strategies issued since the end of the Cold War during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush.
*
Criticisms of the Bush Doctrine:
*
Suspicious of the increasing willingness of the US to use military force unilaterally. Critics believe that requiring any country (including the United States) to obtain international support before undertaking offensive military action is necessary to prevent the escalation of conflicts and the dominance of one nation over others.
*
In addition, many criticisms have arisen around the doctrine's assertion that the United States will never allow any potential adversary -- a term which is unlikely to exclude many states -- to develop the military capability of challenging the US as the world's sole superpower.
*
This doctrine is argued to be contrary to the Just War Theory. Though the classical formulation envisages causes other than that of a defensive war, many theorists today are extremely reluctant to accept any cause other than a defensive war as satisfying its criteria.
*
The main argument against these criticisms is that the doctrine is concerned only with self-defence, but is simply re-interpreting the acceptable time horizon for a perceived threat. In other words the threat does not need to be imminent before self-defensive actions can be performed. Yet this is a dangerous change since it means that the doctrine can be used to justify any invasion of any sort under a vail of pre-emptive strike
*
The Bush Doctrine has also been criticized for its purported "active promotion of democracy and freedom," as the United States deals with oppressive dictators on a regular basis. This includes the United States' most populous trading partner, with "most favoured nation" status, the People's Republic of China, a Communist nation which most in the West feel to have an unfree and abusive government. The Bush Doctrine, has, thus far, only been applied to certain countries: Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
*
Also, many critics have noted the similarity between the countries in the Axis of Evil, and the goals of the conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century, which supports and advocates the dominance of world affairs by the United States — and many in the Bush Administration are, or have been, involved in the PNAC.
*
Historical critics of preventive war (although obviously not in the context of the Bush Doctrine) include former US President Abraham Lincoln.

Has George Bush pushed US foreign policy in a more unilateralist direction?

*
Unilateralism is any doctrine or agenda that supports one-sided action. Such action may be in disregard for other parties, or as an expression of a commitment toward a direction which other parties may find agreeable. Unilateralism is a neologism, coined to be an antonym for multilateralism —the doctrine which asserts the benefits of participation from as many parties as possible.
*
The two terms together can refer to differences in foreign policy approached to international problems. When agreement by multiple parties is absolutely required —for example in the context of international trade policies —bilateral agreements (involving two participants at a time) (e.g. those treaties between US and other states preventing them taking US to ICC) are usually preferred by proponents of unilateralism.
*
Unilateralism may be preferred in those instances when it's assumed to be the most efficient, i.e., in issues that can be solved without cooperation.
*
However, a government may also have a principal preference for unilateralism or multilateralism, and, for instance, strive to avoid policies that cannot be realized unilaterally or alternatively to champion multilateral solution to problems that well could have been solved unilaterally.
*
This unilateralism is best defined as a conscious decision to put America first, even if there is a diplomatic price to be paid.
*
Whereas Mr Clinton became known as a determined consensus and alliance builder, Mr Bush has signalled on a number of issues that the US is prepared to go it alone, even if it puts noses out of joint in other countries - friend or foe:
*
Mr Bush has put great store by a National Missile Defence System, which the Chinese and Russians both oppose strongly, and the Europeans are wary of, to say the least.
*
He has made clear that he will not implement the Kyoto treaty on the environment, a decision that has upset all the other signatories.
*
Mr Bush has also publicly differed with the Korean President Kim Dae-jung about how best to deal with North Korea.


Unilateralism has had a long history in the United States. In his famous and influential Farewell Address, George Washington warned that the United States should "steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world". Many years later, this approach was labeled (by its opponents) as "isolationism", but some historians of U.S. diplomacy have long argued that "isolationism" is a misnomer, and that U.S. foreign policy, beginning with Washington, has traditionally been driven by unilateralism. Recent works that have made this argument include Walter A. McDougall's Promised Land, Crusader State (1997) and John Lewis Gaddis's Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (2004).

Debates about unilateralism recently came to the forefront with the Iraq War. While over 30 countries have supported the U.S. policy, some previous American allies, such as France, Germany and Turkey, are not participating. Many opponents of the war have argued that the United States is "going it alone" in Iraq without the support of multilateral institutions—in this case NATO and the United Nations, which America has supported since the end of World War II.

Advocates of U.S. unilateralism argue that other countries should not have "veto power" over matters of U.S. national security. Presidential Candidate John Kerry received heavy political heat after saying, during a presidential debate, that American national security actions must pass a "global test". This was interpreted by Kerry opponents as a proposal to submit U.S. foreign policy to approval by other countries.

Proponents of U.S. unilateralism generally believe that a multilateral institution, such as the United Nations, is morally suspect because, they argue, it treats non-democratic, and even despotic, regimes as being as legitimate as democratic countries.

Critics of American unilateralism point to the ethical implications of engaging in armed conflicts that may inevitably draw in combatants from other nations, as well as the undermining of the international ability to protect small nations from aggressors.

Unilateralism, it is argued, can be considered nothing more than a positively-sold version of the very actions that would earn other states the title of aggressor or rogue nation. Opponents of unilateralism say it rejects the essential interwoven nature of modern global politics and perhaps underestimates the extent to which a conflict in one country can affect civilians in others.

Proponents of multilateralism argue that it would provide a country with greater resources, both militarily and economically, and would help in defraying the cost of military action. However, with divided responsibility inevitably comes divided authority, and thus (in theory at least) slower military reaction times and the demand that troops follow commanders from other nations.

Multilateralists argue that co-operations strengthens the bonds between nations and peoples, paints the U.S. in a more responsible and respected light, and reduces the risk of wildfire conflicts by increasing the size and unity of the enemy such a rogue nation would face.

Isolationism is the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations, and has a long association with the US.

Today, non-interventionists (isolationists) argue that the United States is far removed from its earlier history of non-intervention.

They cite recent presidents of both political parties who have often used intervention as a tactic of foreign policy, including:
*
President Ronald Reagan's 1983 intervention in Grenada
*
President George Herbert Walker Bush's 1989 intervention in Panama to arrest General Manuel Noriega
*
President George Herbert Walker Bush's 1989 intervention in Kuwait
*
President George Herbert Walker Bush's 1992 intervention in Somalia, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons (continued under President Bill Clinton.)
*
President Bill Clinton's 1995 intervention in Bosnia, ostensibly to prevent ethnic cleansing and his 1999 intervention in Kosovo and attacks on Serbia on behalf of the Muslim Albanian-led Kosovo Liberation Army
*
President Bill Clinton's and president George W. Bush's embargo of Iraq, which critics say led to the starvation of an estimated half million women and children.
*
President George W. Bush's 2001 intervention in Afghanistan against the Taliban following the September 11 Attacks.
*
President George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.


Many of these military actions received overwhelming popular support, showing a lack of cohesiveness to the anti-war movement and message.

Some assert that through America's decades of membership in the United Nations, multi-lateral interventionism has become the dominant policy of the United States government, though unilateral interventionism was articulated as the preferred policy of the George W. Bush administration for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq

Are there significant foreign policy differences between Europe, and why are there tensions between the two?

*
"Europeans view the US as a unilateralist loudmouth ready to ride roughshod over international law. For most Americans, most Europeans are weedy and pusillanimous, soft on terrorism and rogue states." (Lord Powell)
*
The EU sees itself very much as a bilateral partner to the US
*
There are a number of issues over which the United States and Europe generally disagree. Some of these are cultural, such as Bush's stance on abortion or the U.S. use of death penalty, international issues such as the Middle East peace process, whilst many others are trade related. The current U.S. policies are often described as being unilateral in nature, whereas the European Union and Canada often take a more multilateral approach, relying more on the United Nations and other international institutions to help solve issues.

Issues of contention:

*
Transatlantic relations recently have been characterised as strained, especially due to divergent positions on the Iraq war which prominent European nations, including France and Germany (dubbed Old Europe by Donald Rumsfeld) opposed.
*
Another major issue is reducing pollution with the Kyoto protocol, which the whole European Union and Canada support and the United States opposes. Nevertheless, there are many cultural, economic, political and military ties between the two areas.

**Arms embargo on the People's Republic of China** - Both the United States and the European Union **as of 2005** have an arms embargo against China (PRC), put in place in **1989** after the events of **Tiananmen Square**. The U.S. and some EU members continue to support the ban whilst others, spearheaded by France have been attempting to persuade the EU to lift the ban, arguing that more effective measures can be imposed, but also to improve **trade** relations between China and certain EU states. The U.S. strongly opposes this, and after China (PRC) passed an **anti-secession law** against **Taiwan** the likelihood of the ban being lifted diminished somewhat.

**Boeing** and **Airbus** **subsidies** - The two companies are the major competing **aircraft** manufacturers, and both Boeing and Airbus receive forms of subsidy from the United States and from some of the European Union member states respectively, which both sides have criticised each other for doing. The pressure for this issue to be resolved has increased as Airbus and Boeing are now nearly equal in commercial aircraft market share, although Boeing remains the much larger company.

**Death penalty** - In the **United States**, capital punishment is a legal and widely used form of punishment, whereas all **European Union** member states have abolished the death penalty fully (excluding **Latvia** which has retained it for exceptional circumstances only). Indeed, nearly all **European** states no longer use the death penalty. This causes problems with transatlantic relations because it may be illegal for an EU member to allow the **extradition** of a citizen to the U.S. if the death penalty is an option.

**International Criminal Court** - The U.S. is strongly opposed to the ICC, and has not signed up to it, whilst most states in Europe have. The U.S. fears that its **soldiers** may be subject to politically motivated prosecutions, so much so that it has signed many **bilateral** agreements with other countries in an attempt to avoid this.

**Israel-Palestine conflict** - Whilst both sides of the Atlantic publicly support a **two-state solution** to the conflict, in general, the European Union is often more critical of some of the **Israeli government**'s policies, such as the **West Bank barrier** whilst the U.S. is often more supportive of **Israel**, for example by using its **veto** at the **United Nations Security Council**.

**Iran and weapons of mass destruction** - The United States has been taking a hard line on the question of **Iranian nuclear weapons**, not ruling out military action, whilst Europe, **France**, **Germany** and the **United Kingdom** have attempted to engage in dialogue with **Iran**. Former UK **Foreign Secretary**, **Jack Straw**, described military action against **Iran** as "inconceivable".

**Iraq war** - The war on Iraq not only divided opinions within European nations and within the U.S., but between European nations themselves, with some states supporting of military action, and some against. This caused a major transatlantic rift, especially between **France** and **Germany** on the one hand, who were against military action, and the **United States** and the **UK** on the other hand, strongly in favour. The repercussions of this major dividing issue have still not healed fully.

**Kyoto protocol** - The European Union is one of the main backers of the Kyoto protocol, which aims to combat global warming, while the United States is one of its most prominent opponents.

*
Resolved issues:
*
U.S. steel tariffs - In 2002, the U.S. imposed steel tariffs to protect its steel industry. The European Union and other countries took up the issue with the WTO, which ruled that such tariffs breach its regulations. Subsequently, by December 2003, the tariffs had been lifted by the U.S. administration.
*
Possible issues:
*
Secret CIA Prisons - The Washington Post claimed on November 2, 2005 that the USA has several secret jails in Eastern Europe (also called black sites). Poland and Romania however have denied these allegations. Also, CIA planes carrying terror suspects would have made secret stopovers in several West European countries since 2001. Belgium, Iceland, Spain, and Sweden have launched investigations. The Guardian calculated on November 30 that CIA planes landed about 300 times on European air ports. Most planes would have landed in Germany and the United Kingdom as a transit point to East Europe, North Africa (possibly Morocco and Egypt) or the Middle East (possibly Syria and Jordan). In the meanwhile, the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, asked the US for a clarification. The EU has refused to confirm or deny the reports.
*
“The EU and the US have a common belief in democratic government, human rights and market economics, and they are bound by close security ties. Both sides share a common concern in handling effectively a wide variety of political and security issues across the globe. The EU and the US have to confront global challenges such as terrorist threats, menace to security and stability, weapons proliferation, drugs, organised crime and many other important issues.” (European Commission)
*
“EU leaders share President Bush's emphasis on combating terrorism, bolstering homeland security, and promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The declarations of the last EU-US Summit demonstrate how much we're working together on our common priorities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, and the threat posed by non-state actors.” (Benita Ferrero-Waldner)
*
“European foreign ministers meeting in the Spanish town of Caceres have denied that US President George Bush's "axis of evil" speech has caused a trans-atlantic rift. But some have nevertheless criticised the US position, and warned Washington against unilateralism.” (BBC)
*
“Mr Bush's attitude towards the Middle East and his tough line on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is causing deep concern in Europe.” (BBC)
*
“The United States and the European Union (EU) are vital partners in promoting freedom and democracy around the world” (US Department of State) (all below quoted form same source)
*
We maintain a robust agenda of cooperation on a number of vital issues, including the Balkans, Ukraine, the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa.
*
In the Western Balkans, the U.S. and the EU work closely in strengthening democracy, ensuring stability, and promoting the region's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Last December, we welcomed the EU's leadership in the launching of its "Operation Althea" in Bosnia, which also demonstrated a successful implementation of the Berlin-plus agreements between NATO and the EU. In Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU consulted closely during the presidential election campaign and especially following the flawed November first-round vote, and we applauded efforts by many EU leaders to resolve the post-election crisis.
*
The U.S. and the EU are close partners within the Quartet, alongside the United Nations and Russia, in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. The EU has made significant contributions to our mutual goal of promoting good governance, democracy, and strong civil societies throughout the Middle East. Since the January 2005 Palestinian elections, the U.S. and the EU have each pledged more than $300 million to support reform in the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. and the EU also work together in promoting reform through the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative.
*
We share a commitment to the future of a federal, democratic, pluralistic, and unified Iraq. The U.S. and EU supported preparations for Iraq's January elections and will continue to cooperate to support Iraq's democratic institutions. In Afghanistan, the EU has also been a close partner in supporting democratic development and reconstruction. Most notably, in 2003 the EU pledged to provide one billion euros (roughly $1.3 billion) to Afghanistan over a five-year period to support reconstruction and development.
*
The U.S. and the EU cooperate on many African issues, including supporting efforts by the African Union to restore peace in the Darfur region. The U.S. welcomed the EU peacekeeping mission in the Great Lakes region, and welcomed the EU joining the Tripartite Commission as an observer. The U.S. consults regularly with the EU on assistance programs, including efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and other concerns, throughout Africa.


Conflict

What are the main causes of war in the modern world?

*
According to Walter Fritz, beyond survival and emotion there are other subjective reasons for war including:
*
The belief that the war will be beneficial to society in the long run
*
Errors of appreciation of the political, economic and social situation of a country’s own society and of the adversary
*
Accidents in which a critical situation gets out of hand
*
A fight over resources
*
The Centre for War and Peace Research in Uppsala, Sweden, issued a report that stated that most armed conflict today occurs within a country’s own borders, whereas in years past most wars were fought between different countries
*
Also according to the report poverty was the major cause of about 80% of today’s wars. Poorer countries were found to be 3 times at greater risk of war than richer countries. Indeed throughout the decade of the 1990s most wars were fought by countries with severe economic problems (e.g. Somalia and Rwanda)
*
Ethnicity was also a factor but it is only when ethnicity is tied to poverty that war often results. In richer countries ethnic divides are more easily breached without violence and war
*
Thalif Deen characterises UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s beliefs on the causes of war as follows: Although Annan acknowledges that poverty does play a role in many contemporary standoffs, he would like us to shift our focus to the lack of equality and power many domestic social groups face in the world today as “it is this [inequality], rather than poverty, that seems to be the critical factor” (Annan) in war.
*
According to Annan, inequality “tends to be reflected in unequal access to political power that too often forecloses paths to peaceful change”
*
According to Annan “the upsurge of ethnic cleansing in the 1990s provides stark evidence of the appalling human costs that this vicious exploitation of identity politics can generate.”
*
According to Steven Strauss “clearly resources are another reason that countries go to war”. The example he gives is the Gulf War, stating that “it is common knowledge that the first Golf War was a war over oil, and who would control it. The United States was loathe to cede that power to Suddam Hussein”
*
However Strauss continues to say that “fighting over resources is a relatively rare reason for countries to go to war. As in the case of the Gulf War, it is the power to control the resource, and not the resource itself, that is usually the reason for war.
*
When the USSR collapsed in1990 many of the conflicts that were subdued during the Cold War came to life. Many of these conflicts, for example Kashmir and Chechnya were caused by ethnic nationalism.
*
Many present day conflicts have religion as an underlying cause. For example the War on Terror was caused by Muslim extremists carrying out acts of terrorism, mainly on the 11th of September 2001, when they attacked the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
*
In Haiti the cause for the conflict was a struggle for power, a civil rebellion.
*
In Columbia there are in theory two conflicts occurring- the War on drugs between the US and Columbia and a long-lasting civil war fought between the left-wing and right-wing factions of the country and fuelled by drugs. These wars have now merged as one with the US supporting the right-wing faction in order to beat he communists. However the cause of the war on drugs is the US looking after national interest and the cause of the long-lasting conflict is again a struggle for power
*
A study by Paul Collier of the World Bank found that societies composed of several different ethnic and religious groups were actually less likely to experience civil war than homogeneous societies. However in multi-ethnic societies where one groups forms an absolute majority, the risk of war is 50% higher.
*
The World Bank found that when income per capita doubles the risk of civil war halves, and that for each percentage point by which the growth rate rises, the risk of conflict falls by a point. Thus the best predictors of conflict are low average incomes, low growth and a high dependence on income from exports of raw materials.
*
War creates a vicious circle. “Poverty fosters war and war impoverishes” (The Economist)
*
Territorial –to redraw borders Kashmir
*
Historical conflicts over territories and resource which end up transcending their tangible causes Darfur
*
Ethnocentrism – them vs. us mentality Rwanda
*
Michael E. Brown, in his book The International Dimension of Internal Conflict, writes that the literature identifies five main clusters of variables that "predispose" some places in the world to conflict, while not others. They are:
*
Structural factors (weak states; intra-state security concerns; ethnic geography)
*
Political Factors (Discriminatory political institutions; exclusionary national ideologies; inter-group politics; elite politics)
*
Economic/Social factors (Economic problems; Discriminatory economic systems; modernization)
*
Cultural/Perceptual factors (patters of cultural discrimination; problematic group histories)


Is conflict more prevalent in the modern world?

*
During the Cold War the prevailing cause of conflict was the clash between communist and capitalist ideologies.
*
The threat of nuclear warfare is claimed to have kept all other conflicts under wraps, but it did not fix the problems underlying potential conflicts.
*
“The end of the Cold War helped unleash a spate of civil conflicts among ethnic groups whose simmering animosities had been stifled by superpower hegemony” (Lisa Trei)
*
Deen reports “ a more than 30 percent decline in the overall number and intensity of armed conflicts worldwide from 1992 to 1997”
*
According to the UN’s first ever Human Security Report, published in October 2005, armed conflicts around the globe have plummeted by more than 40 percent since 1992, and genocide and human rights abuses declined even more. The break-up of the USSR was the main cause for this dramatic development as it reduced the number of “proxy wars” around the globe. The only conflict that is presently getting worse is terrorism
*
According to the Economist “Civil wars are much more common than they were 40 years ago. This is mainly because, back then, most of the countries currently fighting were colonies, so powerful outside forces imposed stability”
*
The peak of the number of wars was in the 1990s at the end of the cold war. Now less wars start but those that do last for twice the time that the average war lasted in1980.
*
According to James Fearon and David Laitin “the number of civil conflicts has increased over time because they break out faster than they end”


Is it still meaningful to distinguish between civil wars and inter-state wars?

*
It is meaningful - there is a clear difference between civil war and inter-state war and they are very separate things
*
A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture
, society or nationality fight for political power or control of an area. Many historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country
*
Inter-state wars are wars between nations requiring the armed forces of at least two sovereign states, sustained combat and at least 1,000 battle casualties.
*
It is not meaningful because there are increasingly more civil wars e.g. Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan
*
It is not meaningful now because the two are so interlinked - civil war can lead to interstate war, and interstate war can lead to civil war (Iraq now)
*
It is even more meaningful now because of the continued persistence of the UN and international community to differentiate between inter-state wars (like the US in Iraq) for security reasons, and the lack of intervention for humanitarian reasons in civil wars.
*
It is not meaningful because borders have become slightly more unclear since the collapse of the Soviet Union e.g. Chechnya & Russia. Is Chechnya an independent state (and therefore the situation there is an inter-state war between Chechnya and Russia) or is it still part of Russia's territory (and therefore a civil war)
*
There is a clear difference between civil wars and inter-state wars, and hence the definition is still meaningful because they are not the same thing and are responded to in different ways
*
Over 120 civil wars have raged since 1945 compared with 20-odd conventional wars.
*
Since the end of WW2 16.5 million people have died in internal conflicts, compared with 3.3 million in interstate wars


Peacekeeping / Interventionism

What forms has peacekeeping taken in recent years?

*
Peacekeeping, as defined by the United Nations (UN), is a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace. UN peacekeepers—soldiers and military officers, civilian police officers and civilian personnel from many countries—monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in post-conflict situations and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development.
*
In 1990 3 times as many nations signed peacekeeping agreements than in the previous 3 decades reflecting as Deen reports “ a more than 30 percent decline in the overall number and intensity of armed conflicts worldwide from 1992 to 1997”
*
At the end of the 1980s the UN “reinvented humanitarian intervention. The Council’s concerns were extended to ‘human security’: it would rescue people from the savagery of civil and ethnic conflict” (The Economist)
*
“Classical peacekeeping – the interposition of ceasefire observer forces between belligerents – still has a role. But it is a relatively small one. The bigger reality is peacekeeping in weak states” (The World Today) Peacekeeping in weak or disintegrating states e.g. Somalia, Yugoslavia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and the Côte d’Ivoire.
*
Recently a lot of regional peacekeeping has been taking place. The problem with this approach is that few regions, apart from Europe, have either the men or the money to mount such an operation. Basically that means that Africa, Nigeria and South Africa do have the ability and the will to project some stabilising force beyond their borders but it is limited.
*
In recent years there has been an increasing demand for UN involvement in peacekeeping and also the nature and demands of peacekeeping have become increasingly more complex
*
UN peacekeeping missions have faced a number of problems, in places like Somalia, and many have questioned whether the UN is up to the task.
*
Since the Brahimi report in 2000 the UN has attempted to reform and improve its approach to peacekeeping though clearly there is scope for argument as to how far this has been successful and what else need to be done
*
There are 4 main problems when it comes to peacekeeping:
*
Consent of all parties needed (sometimes waived)
*
Operational mandates are unrealistic and really give permission for use of force
*
Support of member states via provision of men and supplies is needed
*
The organisation capacity of the UN is limited
*
The shortcomings of post-war Iraq have underscored the need not only for peacekeeping but also for peace-building
*
According to Victoria Holt “peacekeeping has been changing especially in the last 2 years. It is growing in size, it is becoming more complex, more leaning forward and it is present in rougher neighbourhoods”
*
In addition to maintaining peace and security, peacekeepers are increasingly charged with assisting in political processes, reforming justice systems, training law-enforcement and security forces and disarming former combatants.
*
In recent years there has been a more active ‘interventionist’ approach to reducing international conflict and protecting international human rights even at the expense of national sovereignty

When is it legitimate to intervene in conflicts?

*
In 1999 the General Assembly resolved that the UN should only intervene when invited to do so by the government in power
*
Blair’s 5 criteria which he set out in his Chicago speech are:
*
Are we sure of the case?
*
Have we exhausted all diplomatic options?
*
Can military options be sensibly and prudently undertaken?
*
Are we prepared for the long haul?
*
Is national interest involved?
*
By authorisation of the Security Council – Chapter IIV of the UN Charter – “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of peace and acts of aggression” – can be extended to human rights violations and breaches of rules on WMD etc
*
The Security Council authorised or approved regime change on two occasions – Sierra Leone and Haiti. This is an indication that some limitations on state sovereignty may be accepted even when others are not
*
Customary International Law – by invitation of a sovereign government requiring help with rebellions etc
*
International law although largely seen as non-interventionist in approach does sometimes reinforce the case for the use of force. It imposes on individual governments a range of obligations in fields as various as arms control, human rights and conservation of fish stocks. Obligations form a key part of a liberal international order, but they lead inevitably to situations where, when norms are plainly violated, pressure arises to use force. An example of this is humanitarian intervention
*
Self defence – should be reported to the security council under article 51 of the UN Charter and should be necessary and proportional to the threat
*
Humanitarian Intervention not sanctioned by the Security Council may not be considered legal but is it legit. i.e. no one would have complained if successful intervention had occurred in Rwanda.

How dependant is international peacekeeping and intervention on US involvement?

*
In 2005 the UN General Assembly passed a $3.2 billion peacekeeping budget for 2006, which is expected to reach $5 billion because of additional costs of maintaining existing missions. America covers 27% of the peacekeeping budget, making it the largest contributing nation in terms of money. However America often falls behind on paying its dues
*
In 2005 the 16 countries that contributed the most peacekeepers were all developing nations. America provided only 375 peacekeepers to UN operations, all of them civilian police officers. They do nothing to help the shortage of well-trained troops
*
The involvement of the USA with its massive military and economic muscle has often appeared vital to effective intervention to ensure peace and protect persecuted ethnic groups
*
However the USA is still selective in its approach to international peacekeeping, and at times significant operations have taken place without direct US involvement
*
Examples of US involvement in interventions and significance:
#
Former Yugoslavia:

After initial reluctance Clinton was persuaded to get behind military intervention in the Bosnian conflict and the US played an important part in bringing about an end to the inter-ethnic slaughter

More recently the US played a key role in taking action against the Serbs in Kosovo

In both cases it could be argued that the US was vital in helping restore peace to the heart of Europe not least because the Europeans themselves were unable to deal effectively with these problems without them
#
Afghanistan and Iraq:


Post 9/11 the US has become all the more determined to take an interventionist approach in order to pursue the ‘war on terror’ and bring order and stability to stated where terrorism has been or might be able to flourish and provide a threat to US vital interests and security

This has led to controversial US led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq where George W. Bush Jnr is now heavily involved in the very post-conflict ‘relation-building’ he was so sceptical of at the outset of his presidency

Interventions without the USA:
###
Africa:


Africa is a continent beset by conflict. Since its brief but painful experience in Somalia the US had become reluctant to intervene in African conflicts and this helps to explain why so littler was done to prevent the genocide in Rwanda

However since then there has been significant international intervention in some of the African conflicts

Most on the actual forces involved have come from African nations sometimes with the help of former colonial powers, Britain and France.

In Sierra Leone after an uneasy start there has arguably been very effective UN backed intervention with British forces playing a crucial role

Other forces have been set up to help create peace in Liberia and the Congo

US forces were briefly involved in the Liberian intervention but otherwise action has been taken without the participation of US forces and has at least been partially successful
###
East Timor:
*
Although the international community was slow to act against Indonesia in East Timor partly through US influence, it did eventually intervene to help create and ease the new nation into being.
*
Australia rather than the USA led the military intervention and in the new ‘nation building’ process direct US involvement has been minimal
*
In the case of UN supported interventions in world conflicts obviously these cannot take place without US support given the workings of the Security Council
*
It would seem that only with the direct involvement of the US military forces could a degree of peace and stability be brought about in the former Yugoslavia, much to the embarrassment of many eastern European states
*
It is also cleat that the more recent unilateralist tendency in US foreign policy has led to its controversial interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
*
Admittedly it has had allies but the actions wouldn’t have taken place without US leadership
*
However the examples of Sierra Leone, the Congo and East Timor would seem to indicate that provided US diplomatic and/or economic support can be obtained, effective intervention can take place to help secure peace and promote humanitarian principles without the direct involvement of US forces
*
Yet even this does need some sort of US support, and so it seems that international peacekeeping and intervention is dependant on the US, even if in some case itg is only to a small extent

Human Rights

What international mechanisms exist for upholding human rights and how effective are they?

*
Human rights refers to the concept of human beings as having universal rights, or status, regardless of legal jurisdiction or other localizing factors, such as ethnicity and nationality.
*
The existence, validity and the content of human rights continue to be the subject to debate in philosophy and political science. Legally, human rights are defined in international law and covenants, and further, in the domestic laws of many states.
*
However, for many people the doctrine of human rights goes beyond law and forms a fundamental moral basis for regulating the contemporary geo-political order. For them, they are democratic ideals.
*
Human rights abuse is abuse of people in a way that violates any fundamental human rights. It is a term used when a government violates national or international law related to the protection of human rights.
*
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fundamental human rights are violated when:
*
A certain race, creed, or group is denied recognition as a "person".
*
Men and women are not treated as equal
*
Different racial or religious groups are not treated as equal.
*
Life, liberty or security of person are threatened.
*
A person is sold as or used as a slave.
*
Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment is used on a person (such as torture or execution).
*
Punishments are dealt arbitrarily or unilaterally, without a proper and fair trial. (Article 11)
*
Arbitrary interference into personal or private lives by agents of the state.
*
Citizens are forbidden to leave their country.
*
Freedom of speech or religion is denied.
*
The right to join a union is denied.
*
Education is denied.
*
Where it has been adopted, human rights legislation commonly contains:
*
//security rights// that protect people against crimes such as murder, massacre, torture and rape
*
//liberty// rights that protect freedoms in areas such as belief and religion, association, assembling and movement
*
//political// rights that protect the liberty to participate in politics by expressing themselves, protesting, voting and serving in public office
*
//due process// rights that protect against abuses of the legal system such as imprisonment without trial, secret trials and excessive punishments
*
//equality// rights that guarantee equal citizenship, equality before the law and nondiscrimination
*
//welfare// rights (also known as economic or social rights) that require the provision of education and protections against severe poverty and starvation
*
//group rights// that provide protection for groups against ethnic genocide and for the ownership by countries of their national territories and resources
*
As a result of the horrors of the Second World War and Holocaust the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. While not legally binding, it urged member nations to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights, asserting these rights are part of the "foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world". The declaration was the first international legal effort to limit the behaviour of states and press upon them duties to their citizens following the model of the rights-duty duality.
*
Many states wanted to go beyond the declaration of rights and create legal covenants which would put greater pressure on states to follow human rights norms.
*
Because some states disagreed over whether this international covenant should contain economic and social rights (which usually require a greater effort to fulfil on the part of individual states), two treaties were prepared.
*
In 1976, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights came into force
*
With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights these documents form the International bill of rights.
*
Since then several other pieces of legislation have been introduced at the international level:
*
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
*
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
*
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees
*
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
*
Convention Against Torture (CAT)
*
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
*
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
*
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (MWC)
*
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
*
Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
*
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948)
*
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (OAS, 1948)
*
Cairo Declaration of Human Rights (OIC,1990)
*
With the exception of the non-derogable human rights (the four most important are the right to life, the right to be free from slavery, the right to be free from torture and the right to be free from retroactive application of penal laws), the UN recognises that human rights can be limited or even pushed aside during times of national emergency - although "the emergency must be actual, affect the whole population and the threat must be to the very existence of the nation. The declaration of emergency must also be a last resort and a temporary measure"
*
Conduct in war is governed by International Humanitarian Law.
*
International Humanitarian Law is the legal corpus "comprised of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It defines the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations and individuals engaged in warfare, in relation to each other and to protected persons, usually meaning civilians.
*
The law is mandatory for nations bound by the appropriate treaties. There are also other customary unwritten rules of war, many of which were explored at the Nuremberg War Trials.
*
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights created an agency, the Human Rights Committee, to promote compliance with its norms. The eighteen members of the committee express opinions as to whether particular practice is a human rights violation, although its reports are not legally binding.
*
A modern interpretation of the original Declaration of Human Rights was made in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. The degree of unanimity over these conventions, in terms of how many and which countries have ratified them vary, as does the degree to which they are respected by various states.
*
The UN has set up a number of bodies to monitor and study human rights, under the leadership of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
*
There are also many regional agreements and organisations governing human rights including:
*
The European Court of Human Rights, which is the only international court with jurisdiction to deal with cases brought by individuals (rather than states)
*
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
*
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
*
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
*
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
*
European Convention on Human Rights
*
European Social Charter
*
Human rights violations and abuses include those documented by non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, International Freedom of Expression Exchange and Anti-Slavery International.
*
Only a very few countries do not violate human rights at all according to Amnesty International. In their 2004 human rights report, (covering 2003,) the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Costa Rica are the only (mappable) countries that did not violate human rights.
*
Some people believe human rights abuses are more common in dictatorships or theocracies than in democracies because freedom of speech and freedom of the press tend to uncover state orchestrated abuse and expose it.
*
Nonetheless human rights abuses do occur in democracies. For example, the Macpherson report found that the British police had been institutionally racist in the handling of the death of Stephen Lawrence.
*
Amnesty International has called the running of Guantanamo Bay detainment camp by the United States "a human rights scandal" in a series of reports
*
The UN is also charged with the upholding of human rights:

*
According to David Whittaker, in his book UN in the Contemporary World, human rights have been promoted and protected through “Declarations, covenants and campaigns” as well as monitoring, enquiry and enforcement bodies, worldwide research and teaching and training programmes.

*
Since 1945 30 million refugees, fleeing form persecution, oppression and war have been assisted and protected due to encouragement, from the UN, for states to accept and help resettle asylum seekers.
*
Due to lake of funds and the relative inadequacy of the monitoring, enquiring and enforcement instruments, they have still been many atrocities against human rights, in countries such as Rwanda, which is a member of the UN. This shows that although the UN tries it has been unable to prevent these atrocities even in countries that are supposed to listen and obey the UN.
*
The European Court of Human Rights, often referred to informally as the "Strasbourg Court", was created to systematize the hearing of human rights complaints from Council of Europe member states. The court's mission is to enforce the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

**//Why is there more determination nowadays to uphold human rights?//**

*
Media – can show us what is actually happening in countries with films and pictures. Increases awareness and recognition of monstrosities
*
Part of the fight against poverty and for democracy. We believe they are interlinked and that we can help people by improving all three. An extension of the war on poverty another way of improving the quality of life.
*
Globalisation things that happen in one place affect other places emotionally, economically and diplomatically. “By the 1990s, globally integrated markets had also led to increased emphasis on the plight of workers world-wide, such as the estimated 250 million child labourers” (David Forsythe)
*
“Science and technology had produced both devastating wars and globalized markets. Following in the wake of each was a process of social globalisation, with human rights as the cutting edge” (David Forsythe)
*
Blair has made it a plight
*
We have come to think of them as fundamental (the non-derogable human rights)
*
Another way of neo-colonialisation to enforce our own beliefs on others “Human rights was essentially a western concept, first put into widespread political and legal practice by western states. But over time and for various reasons human rights had become internationalized. Modern war, modern markets, modern repression all presented similar threats to human dignity. Human rights was widely seen as a useful means to help achieve human dignity in contemporary international relations.” (David Forsythe)
*
The increased membership and awareness of pressure groups and INGOs such as Amnesty International has increased the importance of human rights and hence time spent focussing on them.
*
After Rwanda we were so upset with the lack of action taken to prevent the genocide that we have placed greater importance on human rights with the hope of preventing such a manmade horror from happening again
*
MEDCs better situation and growing importance domestically of human rights means that the people believe that it should be the same everywhere
*
Ability – politically and financially
*
Guess the answer to this would basically be because there is greater awareness of human rights abuses. This could be because of the media which reports on such matters, or because of the work of organisations such as Amnesty, or key individuals like Blair and the more "ethical dimension" to New Labour's policy. You could probably talk about the G8 summit and how this brought attention to the problems we face so that human rights moved to the top of the political agenda.
*
Also, it's probably due to the fact that human rights are now increasingly accepted as something worth protecting. They are rights instead of privileges. You could cite the fact that the UN now talks about the "responsibility to protect" as well its original function of "upholding international peace & security," so intervention is arguably seen as legitimate for humanitarian reasons.


Are war crimes trials effective?

*
Established by the UN to complement the ICJ
*
International war crimes tribunals are courts of law established to try individuals accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
*
Despite the often heinous nature of the crimes that individuals commit during intractable conflicts, including genocide, torture, and rape, it has become common practice to offer the accused an opportunity to explain his or her actions in front of the victims and their families, as well as the media.
*
Following a conflict, crimes that have exceeded the normal parameters of war behaviour must be dealt with before a society can begin the peace building process of reconciliation.
*
The democratic, progressive success of both nations following these tribunals is often given as evidence of the effectiveness of war crimes tribunals in helping a society that has perpetrated war crimes to return to stable diplomatic relations and the road to peace.
*
One of the arguments in support of war crimes tribunals is that they act as a deterrent to potential war criminals. In fact, this idea is one of the main arguments behind a push to construct a permanent international war crimes tribunal. Currently, tribunals have to be sponsored by an organization like the U.N. or a national government. Without a permanently-established war crimes court, military and government leaders may feel emboldened to commit crimes such as the mass murder of ethnic groups in East Timor in the 1980s and 1990s, or in Rwanda in 1994.
*
War crimes tribunals offer a rare chance for the world's leaders and citizens to scrutinize both the deplorable decisions made by particular leaders, and the atrocities committed by the soldiers and agents of those leaders. Without such a forum, there would be no method for assuring that the masterminds and perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes are justly punished.
*
Tribunals also give victims and their families an opportunity to regain a sense of power that may have been lost resulting from a war crime. It is empowering for victims to stand up in a court of law and identify those who wronged them.
*
A war crimes tribunal can also force forgotten or hidden atrocities to be retold by survivors. In this way war criminals living free of judgment are finally forced to accept responsibility for their actions and be judged for what they have done.
*
For a country attempting to make a transition from a repressive regime to a democracy, war crimes tribunals offer citizens and leaders the opportunity to put their faith in an equitable rule of law. Countries that truly wish to become modern democracies must accept the rule of democratic law and apply it to even their most powerful criminals.
*
While this process takes an enormous effort of national will, nations that successfully conduct tribunals within the bounds of such laws prove they can function without reverting to the undesirable methods of repression and violence.
*
Thus war crimes tribunals have the potential to help emerging democracies discover the benefits of a strong legal system while reconciling past atrocities.
*
Finally, if all members of a society can agree upon what is unacceptable by trying its war criminals, then it is easier for the society to agree on what is acceptable. A successful war crimes tribunal allows the past to be laid to rest and a peaceful future forged from its results.
*
Many argue that war crimes tribunals offer no deterrent to potential criminals whatsoever. People with strong convictions against a certain religious or ethnic group will likely not feel any less hatred for that group just because a possible tribunal looms in the future. Both Hitler and Pol Pot believed they would be revered by future generations for the extreme measures they took to change the makeup of their societies. These leaders were inspired by their visions of the future and it is unlikely the prospect of a war crimes tribunal would have swayed either dictator.
*
In fact, another argument against tribunals is that men like Hitler and Pol Pot, the leaders of violent movements, are never judged by tribunals for what they do. A war crimes tribunal that tries only middle ranking officers, soldiers, and politicians is not as effective as one that tries the mastermind behind the crimes.
*
Although the Iraq Tribunal tries the mastermind many are angry that not all his crimes will be put before the court, and see it as injustice, as only a very small amount will be ruled upon. The families of other victims see it as unjust and that crimes against them are in effect going unpunished.
*
Another criticism of war crimes tribunals is that they do not alleviate the underlying causes of the conflict. In fact, tribunals can escalate conflict, especially in a multi-ethnic society. In cases of genocide, those accused of war crimes are usually all from one ethnic group. To this group, a war crimes tribunal can appear to be a trial against their ethnicity, not just an individual from their group. This is especially true when the judicial system fails to fairly represent the whole society. For example, Rwandan Hutus accused of killing Tutsis would doubt in the possibility of a fair trial if only Tutsis were running the tribunal. Other Hutus, including those not accused, would likely feel the same way. Thus the war crimes tribunal could act as a wedge driving the two groups further apart.
*
Possibly the most powerful argument against war crimes tribunals is that they offer only the victors justice. What was most obviously missing following World War II was not Hitler at Nuremberg, but a trial for Americans, French, British, and Russian individuals who committed acts that would have been considered war crimes had the Allies lost the war. The fire bombing of Dresden and the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are clear examples of acts for which Allied leaders would have been tried had the war ended in favour of the Germans and Japanese. While it is easy and satisfying to put the enemy in prison for what he or she has done, it does not seem entirely fair if all those who participate in a war are not held to the same standards.
*
Whatever the truth about globalisation and sovereignty, War Crimes Tribunals do not standardise justice. They are nothing more than victors’ justice and arbitrary, victors’ justice at that. This undermines international law with its ad hoc arbitrariness.
*
Marc Cogen, a professor of international law at Ghent University in Belgium, says that measured against the standards of the Nuremberg Trials, which successfully convicted many leading architects of the Nazi regime in Germany, modern war crimes tribunals fall short. "[It] is unfortunately true, not only for the War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia but also for the Rwanda Tribunal," he says. "Both international tribunals …disappoint because they do not deliver their judgments in a timely manner.".
*
Cogen says that, if it appears a case will drag on for several years, then prosecutors are not serving the interest of justice -- or the defendant -- by folding all the indictments into one trial.
*
"We should split the case into a series of cases because as long as you are not convicted, you are just accused of something. This is a matter of a fair justice system," says Cogen.
*
Ironically, that is what prosecutors at the much-criticized trial of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad have attempted to do, initially trying the former dictator on charges related to a single massacre.
*
War crimes tribunals:
*
Milosevic – The Hague Feb 2002. Milošević was found dead in his cell on March 11, 2006 in the UN war crimes tribunal's detention centre, The reactions to the death were mixed: officials and sympathisers of the ICTY Prosecution lamented what they saw as Milošević's having remained unpunished, while opponents, mostly Serbian and Russian figures, stressed what they viewed as the responsibility of the Tribunal for what had happened.
*
Suddam- Iraqi special tribunal 2004. On May 15, 2006, over two years since his initial capture and arrest, Saddam Hussein was formally indicted for crimes against humanity. He refused to plead, stating, "This is no way to treat the president of Iraq."
*
Rwanda- is an international court under the auspices of the United Nations for the prosecution of offenses committed in Rwanda during the genocide which occurred there during April, 1994, commencing on April 6.It was created on November 8, 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in order to judge those people responsible for the acts of genocide and other serious violations of the international law performed in the territory of Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between January 1 and December 31, 1994. So far, the Tribunal has finished 21 trials and convicted 27 accused persons. Another 11 trials are in progress. 15 individuals are awaiting trial in detention. 18 others are still at large

9/11 / Terrorism

What is terrorism and why is it so difficult to combat?

*
In an examination of the U.S. government's response to terrorism, a senior official in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff found that "it is not always clear just what one has in mind. The term has no precise and completely accepted definition."' He concluded, quoting the much cited Brian Jenkins, the Rand Corporation's expert on terrorism, that "the definition of terrorism seems to depend on one's point of view-it is what the 'bad guys' do."
*
Wardlaw says that the use of terror does not in itself constitute terrorism. Terror must be used as "a symbolic act designed to influence political behaviour by extranormal means, entailing the use or threat of violence." Wardlaw adds his own definition: "Political terrorism is the use, or threat of use, of violence by an individual or a group, whether acting for or in opposition to established authority, when such action is designed to create extreme anxiety and/or fear-inducing effects in a target group larger than the immediate victims with the purpose of coercing that group into acceding to the political demands of the perpetrators.”
*
Terrorism refers to a strategy of using political violence, social threats or coordinated attacks closely related with unconventional warfare in manner of conduct and operation.
*
The term is often used to assert that the political violence of an enemy is immoral, wanton, and unjustified; and terrorist attacks are commonly characterized as "indiscriminate", "targeting civilians", or executed "with disregard for human life".
*
According to the definition of terrorism typically used by states, academics, counter-terrorism experts, and non-governmental organizations, terrorists are actors who don't belong to any recognized armed forces, or who don't adhere to their rules, and who are therefore regarded as "rogue actors".
*
Jason Burke, an expert in radical Islamic activity, has this to say on the word "terrorism":
"There are multiple ways of defining terrorism, and all are subjective. Most define terrorism as 'the use or threat of serious violence' to advance some kind of 'cause'. Some state clearly the kinds of group ('sub-national', 'non-state') or cause (political, ideological, religious) to which they refer. Others merely rely on the instinct of most people when confronted with an act that involves innocent civilians being killed or maimed by men armed with explosives, firearms or other weapons. None is satisfactory, and grave problems with the use of the term persist. Terrorism is after all, a tactic. the term 'war on terrorism' is thus effectively nonsensical. As there is no space here to explore this involved and difficult debate, my preference is, on the whole, for the less loaded term 'militancy'. This is not an attempt to condone such actions, merely to analyse them in a clearer way."
*
Other arguments include that:
*
There is no strict worldwide commonly accepted definition.
*
Any definition that could be agreed upon in, say, English-speaking countries would be biased towards those countries.
*
Most groups called "terrorist" deny such accusations. Virtually no organisation openly calls itself terrorist.
*
Many groups call all their enemies "terrorist".
*
There is no hope that people will ever all agree who is "terrorist" and who is not.
*
The term as widely used in the West reflects a bias towards the status quo. Violence by established governments is sold as "defence", even when that claim is considered dubious by some; any attempt to oppose the established order through military means, however, is often labelled "terrorism".
*
If we labelled groups terrorist on the basis of how their opponents perceive them, such labels would be very controversial, for example:
*
State of Israel, but also the states of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban
*
The Contemporary Palestine Liberation Organization, but also the United States and CIA
*
Groups conducting revolution, such as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), are routinely denigrated as "terrorist"
*
Almost all guerrilla groups (like Tamil Tigers or Chechen rebels) are accused of being "terrorist", but almost all guerrilla groups accuse countries they fight against of being "terrorist" too.
*
Organizations such as the American Revolutionary Sons of Liberty—revered in the Unites States—might have been considered "terrorists" by today's standards, which suggests the standards for applying the label are not consistent.
*
Resistance movement during World War II. Some historians even claim that resistance in Poland used biological weapons.
*
All forms of colonization (especially by North Americans and Europeans) which exposed indigenous peoples to diseases they had no immunity to especially if they were vaguely aware they were doing it.
*
Because of this connotation, those accused of being terrorists rarely identify themselves as such, and instead typically use terms that refer to their ideological or ethnic struggle, such as separatist, freedom fighter, liberator, revolutionary, vigilante, militant, paramilitary, guerrilla (Spanish for "small war"), rebel, jihadi or mujaheddin ("one engaged in holy war"), or fedayeen ("prepared for martyrdom").
*
The difference between the words "terrorist" or "terrorism" and the terms above can be summed up by the aphorism, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." This is exemplified when a group that uses irregular military methods is formally an ally of a State against a mutual enemy, but later falls out with the State and starts to use the same methods against its former ally.
*
During World War II the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army was allied with the British, but during the Malayan Emergency, members of its successor, the Malayan Races Liberation Army, were branded terrorists by the British.
*
More recently, President Reagan and others in the American administration frequently called the Afghan Mujahideen freedom fighters during their war against the Soviet Union, yet twenty years later when the a new generation of Afghan men are fighting against what they perceive to be a regime installed by foreign powers and with the support foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, their attacks are labelled terrorism by President Bush.
*
Since World War II there have been a whole host of men who when involved in a liberation struggle have been called a terrorist in the liberal western press, who later, as leaders of the liberated nations, have been called statesmen by the same news media, for example Menachem Begin and Nelson Mandela.
*
Sometimes States that are close allies, for reasons of history, culture and politics, can disagree if members of a certain organisations are terrorists. For example for many years some branches of the United States government refused to label members of the IRA a terrorists, while it was using methods against one of Untied States closest allies, that, that ally (Britain), branded as terrorist attacks, this was highlighted by Quinn v. Robinson
*
Although the term is often used imprecisely, there have been many attempts by various law enforcement agencies and public organizations to develop more precise working definitions of terrorism.
*
The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention has proposed a short legal definition: that an act of terrorism is "the peacetime equivalent of a war crime."
*
United States court found that "the malice associated with terrorist attacks transcends even that of premeditated murder."
*
More precise definitions of terrorism tend to be relativist, because views toward particular acts of political violence are often subjective. For example, according to the United States Department of Defense, terrorism is:
"the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."
*
The extent of disagreement on a single definition of terrorism is illustrated by contradictions between different agencies in a single national entity. While the DOD definition stresses the effects on institutions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's definition highlights the unlawfulness of terrorism, and the State Department emphasizes the political motivations behind a terrorist act.
*
The use of different definitions by different agencies could hinder a concerted effort to understand and prevent terrorist acts, since an interested party could fail to consider the same act as terrorist that another party does.
*
These definitions are open to several points of criticism. First, they fail to make mention of who the targets of terrorism are and who terrorist agents may be. Second, definitions of what precisely constitutes "unlawfulness" will vary with the law and precedent of each nation. The ambiguity does, however, leave open the possibility that violent actions by state actors can qualify as terrorism.
*
In response to the September 11 attacks, political leaders from Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East have placed the phenomenon of terrorism within the context of a global battle against systems of government perceived by those accused of using terrorist tactics as harmful to their interests.
*
The European Union includes in its 2002 definition of "terrorism" the aim of "destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country."
*
One of the reasons why it is so hard to combat is simply that none can give a definitive definition.
*
Jonathan Steele called the war on terror “a war that can never be won” because terrorism is like crime, violence and poverty; it “will always be with us. At best they can only be diminished and contained”. “Terrorism is a technique. It is not…an enemy state”, it is not tangible.
*
“is difficult to fight terrorism without endangering civil liberties” (Towston state university)
*
“It is as impossible to "fight terrorism" as it is to "hate freedom." Terrorism, like freedom and evil, is an abstraction. It is a methodology, a style of fighting, that is employed across the world by various groups to various ends.” (Neal Schaffer)
*
it is impossible to fight terrorism without addressing its causes, such as poverty, ignorance, disease and environmental degradation (Ved Bhasin)
What is the significance of the 9/11 attack?

*
The September 11, 2001 attacks (often referred to as 9/11) were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks upon the United States of America carried out on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, nineteen men affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The attackers crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City, one plane into each tower, causing the collapse of both towers within two hours. Hijackers of the third aircraft crashed that plane into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Passengers on the fourth hijacked aircraft attempted to retake control of their plane from the hijackers, which crashed into a field in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
*
Approximately 3,000 people died in these attacks.
*
Affected property owners and their insurers incurred billions of dollars in damages.
*
In the aftermath of the attacks, many U.S. citizens held the view that they had "changed the world forever," that the United States was now vulnerable to terrorist attacks in ways it had not been previously.
*
The Bush administration declared a war on terrorism, with the stated goals of bringing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks. These goals would be accomplished by means including economic and military sanctions against states perceived as harbouring terrorists and increasing global surveillance and intelligence sharing.
*
The second-biggest operation outside of the United States was the invasion of Afghanistan, by a U.S.-led coalition. The U.S. was not the only nation to increase its military readiness, with other notable examples being the Philippines and Indonesia, countries that have their own internal conflicts with Islamic extremist terrorism.
*
President Bush said "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001..."
*
Also, the U.S. government has continued to maintain that the war on Iraq is critical to the American "War on Terrorism": "In the war on terror, Iraq is now the central front..." President Bush said on December 14, 2005.
*
Two years after the attacks, the Program on International Policy Attitudes reported on an opinion poll it conducted of the American public from January through September 2003. The poll asked, "How likely it is that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th Terrorist attacks?" The response was 32% very likely, 37% somewhat likely, 12% not very likely and 3% not at all likely. This unsubstantiated view was promoted by the U.S. government in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when for example, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attack during a, "Meet the Press" interview: Iraq is, "the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9-11." No clear evidence has emerged to support the claim. (Unsubstantiated U.S. government claims to the contrary include: (1) allegations by Czech intelligence of a meeting between 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague on the same day Atta was seen in Florida; and (2) evidence that Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, allegedly a contact of Iraqi intelligence, was present at a meeting in Malaysia where future 9/11 hijacker Khalid al Mihdhar is believed by the CIA to have attended.)
*
The attacks had a significant economic impact on the United States and world markets. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange and NASDAQ did not open on September 11 and remained closed until September 17. NYSE facilities and remote data processing sites were not damaged by the attack, but member firms, customers and markets were unable to communicate due to major damage to the telephone exchange facility near the World Trade Centre.
*
When the stock markets reopened on September 17, 2001, after the longest closure since the Great Depression in 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (“DJIA”) stock market index fell 684 points, or 7.1%, to 8920, its biggest-ever one-day point decline. By the end of the week, the DJIA had fallen 1369.7 points (14.3%), its largest one-week point drop in history. U.S. stocks lost $1.2 trillion in value for the week.
*
North American air space was closed for several days after the attacks and air travel decreased significantly upon its reopening. The attacks led to nearly a 20% cutback in air travel capacity, and severely exacerbated financial problems in the struggling U.S. airline industry.
*
The attacks brought international terrorism and Al Qaeda to the front of public attention. Whereas previously terrorist attacks had passed by with little attention, international terrorist attacks now grabbed headlines.
*
The attacks caused the start of the war on terror and also brought Islam fundamentalism to centre-stage, increasing the amount of racially-motivated attacks on Muslims.
*
Islam-Western relations have gained an increasing attention after September 11.
*
Got Bush a second term
*
Caused the War in Afghanistan
*
Led to the Iraq War
*
Damaged the Labour Party over here a bit
*
Caused the 'Bush Doctrine' of pre-emptive strikes first on other countries
*
Damaged the credibility of the UN after the whole weapons inspectors thing
*
Talk of invading Iran now
*
It also forced the Pentagon to stop gearing up for a war c.2020 with China and start focusing on less 'attractive' threats.
*
Certainly the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has also caused a re-alignment of some US alliances (more anti-Old Europe, pro-strategic allies outside W.Europe)
*
Pushed the UK closer to the US and further from France/Germany. (Possibly splitting the EU in pro- and anti-US/UK camps.)
*
Definitely damaged the UN as Bush felt he could ignore it. (dangerously like the way the big powers treated the League of Nations in the 1920's.)
*
Made the US far more Interventionalist and less Internationalist. (Although the US has failed to sign all sorts of international agreements -i.e. Kyoto.)

Does the war on terrorism imply “a clash of civilisations”?**

*
The Clash of Civilizations is a controversial theory in international relations popularized by Samuel P. Huntington. The basis of Huntington's thesis is that people's cultural/religious identity will be the primary agent of conflict in the post-Cold War world
*
First of all, Islam-Western relations have gained an increasing attention after September 11. Even though many in the West have rightly reiterated that Islam is religion of peace and Al-Qaeda cannot be considered as representative of Islam, Islam vs. terror debate has frequently come into agenda. Not unexpectedly, the Western media looked at 'Islamic roots' of the terrible attacks. Thereafter, 'Islam', 'Islamism', 'political Islam' and 'Islamic fundamentalism' became the most frequently used terms in the media. Not surprisingly, the 'clash of civilizations' has also extensively taken place in this time.
*
Either with us or against us… Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush have used this argument.
*
The "War on Terrorism" or "War on Terror" (officially the "Global War on Terrorism" or "GWOT") is a campaign by the US government and some of its allies with the stated goal of ending international terrorism by stopping those groups identified as terrorist groups, and ending state sponsorship of terrorism.
*
The "War on Terrorism" was launched in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington D.C. by Al-Qaeda.
*
It has become a central part of U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign and domestic policy.
*
Unlike earlier concepts and definitions of war—with defined nations, boundaries, standing armies, and navies—the "War on Terrorism" has largely been dominated by the use of special forces, intelligence, police work, and diplomacy.
*
In 2005 the US' strategic goals have been expanded, from fighting a war on terrorism to fighting "The Long War".
*
More recently, members of the US-government also used the labels "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" and "World War III".
*
The United States retaliated against al-Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.
*
The George W. Bush administration also considers the Iraq War part of the "War on Terrorism". The administration claimed that Saddam Hussein had partnered with Islamist terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda along with several other possible partners.
*
Several subsequent investigations by U.S. government agencies, the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the 9/11 Commission found no evidence of substantial cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaeda during Saddam's rule.
*
Other incidents that have been cited as contributing to the focus on terrorism include the World Trade Centre bombing of 1993, the 1998 United States embassy bombings, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in October 2000, suicide bombings in Israel, and the Lockerbie bombing.
*
Major terrorist incidents which occurred after the September 11 attacks include the 2002 Bali bombing, the Madrid train bombings, and the London Underground bombings.
*
The country currently most affected by terrorism is Iraq.
*
Since the US-led coalition invasion, a large number of Iraqis have been victims of bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations. Suicide bombings with dozens, even hundreds of victims, are a regular occurrence.

Criticisms of the "War on Terrorism"


*
Critics argue that terrorism is being exploited for other purposes;
*
That it has resulted in human rights abuses;
*
That it has decreased the personal freedom of US (and other) citizens;
*
That it has served as a pretext for restricting access to government information.
*
Also, there is a fine distinction between guerrilla operations and terrorist operations. Many guerrilla organizations, such as the Zionist armed group known as the Irgun in British-Mandated Palestine, the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) during the Algerian War of Independence, and Vietnam's National Liberation Front (NLF), included urban terrorism as part of their overall strategy.
*
The notion of a war against terrorism has proven highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by the participating governments to pursue long-standing policy objectives, reduce civil liberties, and infringe on human rights.
*
Some argue that the term war is not appropriate in this context (as in war on drugs), since they believe there is no tangible enemy, and that it is unlikely that international terrorism can be brought to an end by means of war.
*
Others note that "terrorism" is not an enemy, but rather a tactic; calling it a "War on Terror," they say, obscures the differences between, for example, anti-occupation insurgents and international jihadists.
*
The term "Terrorist" is highly subjective, as well. Former CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles is wanted for a 1976 bombing of a civilian airliner that killed 76 people. Requests by two different countries (Cuba and Venezuela) for his extradition from the United States have been denied by the Bush Administration.
*
Many have argued that the invasion of Iraq was intended primarily to stabilize and better control a region crucial to the world's oil supplies. "President Bush's Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that 'Iraq remains a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East' and because this is an unacceptable risk to the US 'military intervention' is necessary." (The debate.org). Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world (Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves)
*
One set of critics is against the "war on terror" in its entirety. They believe there is a distinction between criticizing the way the "war on terror" is conducted and criticizing the "war on terror" itself. The reason they think it is important to be against the "war on terror" as a whole is because it sacrifices liberty to security. As a consequence, these critics are often unhappy not just with the current administration but much of the opposition as well.
*
Some cite the high civilian casualty rate in Afghanistan. Some 3,000+ Afghan civilians died in the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.
*
Amnesty International has described the secret worldwide network of detention facilities as the "gulag of our times". The organization claims that ghost detainees are held indefinitely without charge and without access to lawyers, effectively being extrajudicial prisoners of the United States, and that they have been tortured and even killed, sometimes after extraordinary rendition process.
*
The U.S budget surplus has turned into a huge deficit, leaving less for health insurance improvements and other domestic initiatives. Others argue that war is not a cost-effective way of ensuring security against stateless terrorists, and that intelligence and police efforts can also be effective.
*
Many argue that U.S. oil money indirectly benefits terrorists via states such as Saudi Arabia, and that the U.S.'s unwillingness to break its relationship with such states reflects ulterior motives in the war.
*
As in the Persian Gulf War, many have argued that the invasion of Afghanistan was intended primarily to stabilize and better control a region crucial to U.S. oil supplies. It is also argued that although the war on Iraq should not be considered part of the "war on terror", the supporters of the war on Iraq presented terrorism as the main reason to invade that country.
*
Many argue, from pacifist, antimilitarist or other standpoints, that the violence of bombings and invasions will only provoke further hatred from the Muslim world, and that the poverty and desperation associated with war will furnish terrorist organizations with ample recruits. This is further reinforced by Ayman Al-Zawahiri, spiritual leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, who confirms that "A jihadist movement needs an arena that would act like an incubator, where its seeds would grow" (in a translation quoted by Stephen Coll in Ghost Wars).
*
The ongoing "War on Terrorism" with clearly visible casualties but without any major victories on the side of the U.S. may further increase the support for terrorism.
*
While there have not yet been any permanent positive results from the "War on Terror", it has been the reason on many occasions for permanently limiting personal freedom and civil rights.
*
With the "War on Terrorism" being the main aspect of the U.S. government's policy, many fear that it prevents acting on other important issues as health care, education, prevention of poverty and environmental protection.
*
Human rights abuses at Guantánamo have severely damaged the reputation of the Western culture.

Support for the "War on Terrorism"

*
Its supporters argue that a reduction in civil liberties is a necessary price to pay for greater protection against what they perceive as a heightened risk of terrorism.
*
They also contend that some previous wars waged by America and its allies lasted many years but were ultimately successful.
*
Supporters assert that democracy in traditionally authoritarian countries has a transformative power that will add to peace and stability.
*
Supporters downplay civilian casualties by arguing that many who live near terrorist cells are likely to support them materially.
*
Some argue that war could act as a deterrent against terrorists, demonstrating to potential recruits that they would face certain retribution. This argument may hold less water in reference to suicide terrorism, or when terrorists expect to become martyrs, but can be argued to deter such attacks by weakening the logistical base which provides martyrs with explosives and points them toward effective targets.
*
Some analysts argue that democracy in the Middle East might elevate Islamists or radicals--who then implement their autocratic agenda--but the long term results of increased democratic governance will lead to a better outcome than the status quo even if the emerging democracies initially oppose U.S. policies.
*
Supporters note that there have been no attacks since September 11, 2001, in the United States.
*
Supporters of the "War on Terrorism" say that just as Ronald Reagan was vehemently opposed by the peace movement and many foreign countries, his policies were arguably the policies that brought down the Soviet Union, and maintain that George W. Bush may make the Middle East free.
*
Supporters point out that there have been remarkable achievements outside of Afghanistan; Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program, Lebanese protestors forced out much of the Syrian occupation, Lebanon is making strides toward democracy, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia have held limited elections.