1-10 of 590 Results  for:

  • World Politics x
Clear all

Article

Mediation has become a dominant method of peaceful conflict resolution in the international system. Since the end of the Cold War in particular, an increasing number of belligerents have relied on mediators to help end their disputes. Yet, while mediators offer many advantages in the process of making peace, at times serving as the only way for rivals to move forward, mediation may also entail negative, unintended, consequences. Escalation of the conflict upon the mediator’s entrance is one such unintended consequence. Strategic considerations on the one hand, and psychological mechanisms on the other, frequently prompt rivals to escalate rather than cease hostilities upon the onset of mediation. Another possible unintended consequence is prolongation of the conflict due to the presence of the mediator. With a mediator involved in the negotiations, rivals may be tempted to put off an agreement in the hope of gaining a better deal while evading the cost of all-out conflict, or the disputing parties may conclude that they stand to gain more from the mediation process itself than from reaching a settlement. Mediation may also lead to fragile settlements that are prone to be short-lived as compared to settlements arrived at by the disputing parties on their own. This process is driven by factors such as the tendency of mediators to push for settlement terms that are easily attainable but that do not resolve the underlying causes of the conflict and are not necessarily sustainable. Whereas the contribution of mediation to conflict resolution is widely researched and discussed by scholars, to fully appreciate the significance of mediation as a method of conflict resolution, it is crucial to understand its possible negative consequences as well. A clear understanding of the full picture is essential for scholars and practitioners alike.

Article

Stefano Guzzini

The concept of power derives its meanings and theoretical roles from the theories in which it is embedded. Hence, there is no one concept of power, no single understanding of power, even if these understandings stand in relation to each other. Besides the usual theoretical traditions common to the discipline of international relations and the social sciences, from rationalist to constructivist and post-structuralist approaches, there is, however, also a specificity of power being a concept used in both political theory and political practice. A critical survey of these approaches needs to cast a net wide to see both the differences and the links across these theoretical divides. Realist understandings of power are heavily impressed by political theory, especially when defining the ontology of “the political.” They are also characterized by their attempt, so far not successful, to translate practical maxims of power into a scientific theory. Liberal and structural power approaches use power as a central factor for understanding outcomes and hierarchies while generally neglecting any reference to political theory and often overloading the mere concept of power as if it were already a full-fledged theory. Finally, power has also been understood in the constitutive but often tacit processes of social recognition and identity formation, of technologies of government, and of the performativity of power categories when the latter interact with the social world, that is, the power politics that characterize the processes in which agents “make” the social world. Relating back to political practice and theory, these approaches risk repeating a realist fallacy. Whereas it is arguably correct to see power always connected to politics, not all politics is always connected or reducible to power. Seeing power not only as coercive but also productive should neither invite one to reduce all politics to it nor to turn power into the meta-physical prime mover of all things political.

Article

The importance of the risk portfolio managed by business continuity management professionals challenges us to think beyond the field’s current state of existence to the purposeful establishment of an academic discipline that can underpin a recognized profession of business continuity management. Viewing and extending professional practice within, and beyond, baseline expectations based on a rich body of relevant scholarly literature is necessary to this effort. The relevant scholarly literature is distributed across dozens of disciplines and is often not identified or recognized as being within the parameters of business continuity management’s body of knowledge. The lack of a clearly defined body of knowledge is an impediment to the development of an academic discipline. An academic discipline of business continuity management would provide a platform to examine, support, and enhance practice in addition to supporting professionalization efforts. Recognized professions that base practice on a specialized body of knowledge and expertise are afforded the tenets of authority, autonomy, and monopoly. These tenets enhance the profession’s ability to elevate practice and serve its constituents and organizations. The importance of business continuity management discipline development and professionalization advancement efforts cannot be overstated. These efforts are key to both enhanced organizational resilience and greater societal resilience.

Article

Fredrik Dybfest Hjorthen

International justice is about the principles of justice that set out what states may and must do in relation to other states and with respect to the people that inhabit them. Theories of international justice often assume that states are the most central agents for justice beyond the domestic realm. Even if the moral value of states is ultimately reducible to that of their inhabitants, states are the most central agents through which individuals act when it comes to international questions. Questions of international justice often involve one or more of the following justice concerns: distributive justice, rectificatory justice, and remedial justice. This is clearly seen in some of the most central topics of international justice, such as trade, climate change, colonialism, and war. International justice provides a framework for thinking about the rights and duties of states with respect to these topics. The principles that set out the rights and duties of states with respect to these issues sometimes come into conflict. This raises a question whether it is better to treat topics in isolation or whether an integrated approach is preferable. Moreover, there is a question about the extent to which states are permitted to give greater weight to its own interests. Finally, there are questions about the extent to which principles of international justice should be action guiding—that is, to what extent they should take into account the feasibility constraints that state leaders face when making decisions.

Article

Donald Abenheim and Carolyn Halladay

The German soldier and German politics in the second decade of the 21st century face the challenges of a deteriorating international system as well as the reappearance of integral nationalism at home and abroad. The security-building roles and missions of the German armed forces in the three decades since unity are being reoriented to alliance collective defense as well as security building amid great friction with sources near and far. These phenomena in their variety threaten the civic and multilateral tenets of German statecraft as well as fundamental military standards and defense organization since 1949, and in particular, since unification in 1990. Specifically, the constants of postwar German democratic civil–military relations—the citizen in uniform, both bound and empowered by Innere Führung, serving in arms in a force firmly located in European and alliance structures but with a low profile at home, undergirded by both legal and social preferences—have had to withstand multiple blows of late. Some of these blows have been a result of unintended consequences of various policies or nonpolicies articulated without sufficient regard for current context; some as a result of unforced errors by leaders relying on outdated assumptions; and some as intentional provocations amid a fraying political consensus. While the German defense establishment—civilian and uniformed—has thus far mostly mastered these circumstances, the strain on German democratic civil–military relations is unmistakable. Thus, Germany’s civil–military relations face the test that they have well surmounted in the past, that is, to have a good democracy and a good army at the same time. The Bundeswehr’s 2020 deployment amid the coronavirus crisis, alongside discussions about a corona dividend in times of exploding state deficits, seems to have boosted soldiers’ popularity, and thus has opened a new facet of civil–military relations. However, the Bundeswehr must be careful not to foster a self-image of camouflaged civilian service or to create an identity crisis of its Afghanistan veterans serving for months as attendants in retirement homes. The public debate and official reflection manifest at best a mediocre comprehension of the needs of the soldier and the imperative to find a usable past for soldiers asked to defend democracy against its many enemies, without falling prey to militarism and integral nationalism. Innere Führung remains the valid heritage of the German soldier, even—or perhaps especially—for those who are asked by duty and fate to risk their lives in combat.

Article

In crisis-ridden times, when events like the COVID-19 pandemic, acts of terrorism, and climate change-induced crises are making constant headlines, states, businesses, and individuals alike look to international organizations (IOs) to help them weather the storm. How can the role of IOs be better understood in the context of crisis and crisis management? For a start, it requires a distinction between objective and subjective crisis perspectives in studying IOs. From an objective perspective, IOs are examined as unitary actors that have the aim of contributing to the stability of the international political system. On the other hand, in a subjectivistic approach, IOs’ actual crisis management is the focus. In this perspective, the emphasis is on an IO’s internal life, that is, its perceptions, bureau politics, and decision-making. In the exploration of these issues, IOs can no longer by studied as entities but have to be unwrapped into small groups and individuals, such as members of secretariats or member state’s top politicians. As borne out by theories developed by scholars of crisis management and foreign-policy analysis, centralization and cognitive bias are of special interest in the study of IOs. IOs’ crisis management has four crisis phases and tasks: sense-making, decision-making, meaning-making, and crisis termination. Finally, crises may prove a threat to, or an opportunity for, IOs. Transnational crises may usher in IOs’ foundation and flourishing, or they may contribute to IOs’ demise.

Article

Poliheuristic theory addresses the “why” and “how” of decision making. It focuses on how decision makers use heuristics en route to choice by addressing both the process and the choice related to the decision task. More specifically, decision makers use a two-stage process wherein a more complicated choice set is reduced to one that is more manageable through the use of these heuristics, or cognitive shortcuts. In the second stage, decision makers are more likely to employ maximizing and analytical strategies in making a choice. Poliheuristic theory also focuses on the political consequences of decision making, arguing that decision makers will refrain from making politically costly decisions. While poliheuristic theory helps us better understand how decision makers process information and make choices, it does not specifically address how choice sets and decision matrices were created in the first place. Applied decision analysis (ADA) rectifies this shortcoming by focusing on how leaders create particular choice sets and matrices and then how they arrive at a choice. It does so by first identifying the decision maker’s choice set or decision matrix; that is, the alternatives or options available to choose from as well as the criteria or dimensions upon which the options will be evaluated. ADA then focuses on uncovering the decision maker’s decision code through the use of multiple decision models. Combining poliheuristic theory with ADA allows researchers to more fully explain decision making in general and crisis decision making in particular. An application of poliheuristic theory and ADA to decision making pertaining to the Fukushima nuclear disaster reveals that even in this high-stress crisis environment decision makers followed the two-stage process as predicted by poliheuristic theory. More specifically, in the first stage, decision makers simplified the decision task by resorting to cognitive heuristics (i.e., decision making shortcuts) to eliminate politically damaging alternatives such as voluntary evacuation. In the second stage, decision makers conducted a more analytical evaluation of the compulsory evacuation options.

Article

Drew Holland Kinney

Available scholarship on civil–military relations, and coup politics in particular, tends to treat military coups d’état as originating purely within the minds of military officers; that is, the overwhelming bulk of scholarship assumes that the idea to seize power stems from officer cliques. To the extent that societal factors (e.g., polarization, economic decline, party factionalism) explain coups, they merely account for why officers decide to seize power. Most research that discusses civilian support for coups does so within single case studies—almost entirely drawn from the Middle East and North Africa. Building on a vibrant wave of studies that disaggregates civil–military institutions, a small body of recent research has begun to systematically and comprehensively consider the theoretical and empirical importance of civilian involvement in military coups. This perspective deemphasizes the military’s possession of weapons and instead focuses on ideational sources of power. Civilians have more power and resources to offer military plotters than existing scholarship has given them credit for. Civilian elites and publics can legitimate coups, organize them, manipulate information on behalf of the plotters, and finance coups for their own economic interests. In short, to fully understand coups, one must seek as much knowledge as possible about their formation, including where the idea for each plot originated. Such detailed analysis of coup plots will give researchers a clearer picture about the motivating factors behind coups.

Article

Robert Nyenhuis and Robert Mattes

A useful summary of political culture is a people’s values, knowledge, and evaluations of their political community, political regime, and political institutions, as well as how they see themselves and others as citizens. Although the current map of Africa was originally drawn by European colonial powers, its states and state boundaries are no longer artificial abstractions. Ordinary Africans have developed a strong identification with their national identities, even as many maintain strong attachments to subnational linguistic, regional, or religious identities. Africans also say they want those states to be governed democratically, though the depth of their commitment to all aspects of democratic governance is not always consistent. Other aspects of political culture are marked by important contradictions. Even though people can be highly critical of incumbent leaders, they tend to exhibit high and often uncritical levels of trust in government and state institutions. At the same time, they express very low levels of trust in other citizens, or at least in those who do not share common ethnic or local identities. Yet they have high levels of membership in community organizations and are often involved in local politics. And though they express a high level of interest in politics, most Africans exhibit low levels of political efficacy. But Africa is not a country, and these attitudes often are often very different across the continent. Indeed, in many places, it is far from certain whether citizen support is sufficient to sustain the multiparty systems and democratic rule that emerged in the 1990s.

Article

Having existed for centuries, genocide is a criminal practice that aims to destroy in whole or in part a population from a particular ethnic, racial, and religious background. The study of genocide is one that builds on historic cases of genocidal violence. Specifically, it takes on various approaches to examine genocidal crime, the intent of genocide, and how the motivation to cause physical pain and harm is knowingly implemented as a strategy of war, a tool of colonization, and a government policy of progress and modernization. Predominantly the scholarship on genocide can be summarized into three methodological approaches: (a) the theoretical that emphasizes the historic context of the crime; (b) the legal that draws from the United Nations Genocide Convention; and (c) the applied perspective that focuses on specific cases of genocide using the theoretical and legal lens. Recently, in the 21st century, genocide studies involving Indigenous populations has gained more traction as governments have been forced to recognize their own involvement in genocide, such as the forced removal of children in Canada and Australia from Indigenous families in efforts to assimilate them to the majority culture. Among this group, however, the Indigenous populations of the Americas, specifically the Indigenous women, have been further targeted for genocide more than other communities of color due to their historic relations with settler-colonial and postconquest emerging societies. The experiences of Indigenous women and their genocides involving sexual violence and coercive sterilization practices are the missing story in the genocide literature.