• IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    India's non-alignment conundrum: a twentieth-century policy in a changing world

    The idea of non-alignment has remained a central component of Indian identity in global politics that is manifest in continuities: since independence in 1947 India has been in pursuit of strategic autonomy, a quest that in practice has led to semialliances fashioned under the cover of non-alignment and shaped by regional dynamics. In this setting, the rise of China now raises an interesting conundrum for Indian policy-makers as New Delhi seeks to balance the benefits and risks of an increasingly assertive neighbour and a network of alliances with like-minded countries. This article approaches this enigma by delineating continuities of non-alignment from the early roots of the policy, through the Cold War-era and into the modern-day international system. Though domestic factors have had a significant influence on the trajectory of Indian foreign policy, the continuities of non-alignment have prevailed through changes in leadership and domestic vicissitudes. By exploring the foundation of non-alignment and how India has operationalized the policy, this article maintains that to some extent continuity will persist: India will likely continue its rhetoric in favour of strategic autonomy while moving closer to the West and its allies in practice. Yet in order to effectively balance China’s growing influence, India will need to be more assertive in building these alliances, as the success of its modern-day pursuit of strategic autonomy may well rest on a strong foundation of strategic partnerships. The coming to office in May 2014 of the National Democratic Alliance government led by Narendra Modi has signalled a move away from even the rhetoric of non-alignment, with significant implications for the future of Indian foreign policy.
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    Harsh V. Pant and Julie M. Super

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    The new killer drones: understanding the strategic implications of next-generation unmanned combat aerial vehicles

    The expansive use of armed unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), or ‘drones’, by the United States over the past decade has occurred within a particular strategic context characterized by irregular warfare operations in permissive environments. Ongoing strategic, ethical and moral debates regarding specific uses of drones may well be overtaken by a new generation of armed combat drones able to survive and operate in contested airspace with design elements such as stealth and greater levels of machine autonomy. These design parameters, and the likely strategic context within which second generation UCAVs will be deployed, suggest a fundamentally different set of missions from those performed by the current generation of drones. The most beneficial characteristic of current unmanned systems has been the ability to combine persistent surveillance with the delivery of small precision-guided munitions. With a shift to more contested environments, this type of armed surveillance mission may become less practical and second generation UCAVs will instead focus on high intensity warfare operations. These new systems may have significant implications for deterrence, force doctrine and the conduct of warfare.
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    Michael Mayer

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Global energy governance: do the BRICs have the energy to drive reform?

    It is widely accepted that the rising power of the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China—has the potential to re-shape the international system. However, little attention has been given to the BRICs’ role in a growing area of strategic importance: global energy governance. While global governance scholars now argue that the international energy architecture requires substantive reform to keep pace with the rapid transformations in global energy markets, largely driven by the BRICs, it is not clear what role these countries will play in future governance arrangements. Drawing on recent scholarship in global governance and international negotiations, interviews with G20 energy officials, and the observations of the author, a past delegate to G20 negotiations, this article examines whether the BRICs as a coalition have the capacity and willingness to drive substantive global energy governance reform. In doing so, it highlights the problems with the BRICs as a coalition on energy and considers the prospects for energy reform in light of China’s increasing engagement with energy governance ahead of it hosting the G20 Summit in 2016.
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    Christian Downie

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Regional governance and legitimacy in South America: the meaning of UNASUR

    Over the last decade, rapid changes to development models and market rules have led—yet again—to a revision of the meaning of regionalism, bringing to the fore the role of regional organizations in anchoring democracy and supporting progressive social policies. This is particularly the case in South America, where the presence of regional organizations in public policy-making is a subject of increasing scrutiny. This article examines new forms of politically sensitive regional governance in South America, focusing in particular on the case of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). It shows how contemporary South American regionalism bypasses the questions of trade and investment that dominated earlier schemes of regionalism in order to focus on shoring up democracy and managing the regional social deficit. The article explores UNASUR’s actions in two policy areas: supporting the regional democratic norm and health policy. UNASUR, this article argues, is developing a hybrid form of output-focused legitimacy that rests on a combination of credible commitments to welfare promotion, especially for the poor, and the pursuit of collective public goods, alongside a robust defence of quite minimal but uncontroversial standards of procedural democracy across the region. The analysis challenges the view that regionalism has failed in South America and identifies instead the emergence of a new sort of highly political regionalism. We call for UNASUR to be taken more seriously in the literature on comparative regionalism and, indeed, for a revision of how regionalism more widely is understood in Latin America.
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    Pía Riggirozzi and Jean Grugel

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Russia, humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect: the case of Syria

    Western analysis perceives Russian approaches to issues of humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as running counter to westerninspired international norms. This debate has surfaced with some vigour over Russia’s policy in the Syria conflict where, in order to protect its strategic interests in Syria, an obstructionist Moscow has been accused of ignoring humanitarian considerations and allowing time for the Assad regime to crush the opposition by vetoing a resolution threatening to impose sanctions. While Russian approaches are undoubtedly explained by a desire to maximize its growing political influence and trade advantages to serve its legitimate foreign policy interests, and while Moscow’s attitudes to intervention and R2P exhibit important differences from those of the major western liberal democracies, its arguments are in fact framed within a largely rational argument rooted in ‘traditional’ state-centred international law. This article first highlights key arguments in the scholarly literature on intervention and R2P before going on to examine the evolution of Russian views on these issues. The analysis then focuses on the extent to which Moscow’s arguments impact on international legal debates on the Libya and Syria conflicts. The article then seeks to explore how Russian approaches to intervention/R2P reflect fundamental trends in its foreign policy thinking and its quest for legitimacy in a negotiated international order. Finally, it attempts to raise some important questions regarding Russia’s role in the future direction of the intervention/ R2P debates.
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    Derek Averre and Lance Davies

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    German-Israeli ties in 2015 and 1965: the difficult special relationship

    This article marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Israel. It is divided into two parts, assessing the status of this unique relationship in 2015 and in 1965, respectively. Angela Merkel’s recent criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on the peace process with the Palestinians and the heavy protests that took place in Germany in the wake of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in summer 2014 have cast doubt on the strength of the bilateral partnership fifty years after the first exchange of ambassadors between the two countries. However, by examining the state of German–Israeli cooperation in a number of areas (security, commerce and knowledge exchange, among others), the first part of the article challenges popular interpretations of contemporary German–Israeli relations as being ‘at a nadir’. Fifty years ago, Chancellor Ludwig Erhard proposed to his Israeli counterpart Levi Eshkol the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries amid a severe political crisis in Bonn, following a visit of the East German leader Walter Ulbricht to Gamal Abdel Nasser. While much has changed since then, the second part of the article argues that looking at the momentous events of 1965 can provide useful reference points for understanding the current state of relations between Germany and Israel.
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    Lorena De Vita

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Review article: The Cambridge History of the First World War

    This massive study has been produced under the editorship of Professor Jay Winter of Yale University and the Editorial Committee of the International Research Centre of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, Somme. It attempts a new interpretation of the First World War, based on its transnational and global impact. Some 43 contributions by a ‘transnational’ group of scholars provide a detailed and convincing account of the war, going well beyond more orthodox treatments which emphasize the strategy and tactics involved. In the first volume, Global war, Winter and his colleagues examine, for example, the spread of the conflict to distant continents, together with a discussion of the law of war, atrocities and genocide. Volume II covers the changing nature of the state as the war progressed, the role of armed forces, the sinews of war and the search for peace. Volume III analyses the war’s impact on civil society in all its various guises during the conflict; hence we are offered scholarly treatment of, for example, private life, gender and cultural life. This bald summary does scant justice to a magisterial work, an essential resource for those —at schools and universities—who teach the history of the First World War and its impact on domestic and global developments. Of particular interest is the fine reproduction of photos and paintings and the annotated and detailed bibliographies attached to each volume. Winter and his colleagues deserve to be congratulated for providing both the scholar and the interested layperson with an exemplary treatment of an event, the significance of which still echoes down the years.
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    J. E. Spence

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Review article: Inventing truth and building power in Russia

    Next year marks a quarter century since the end of the Soviet Union. How has power evolved in the region? What might the future hold? What are the implications for the West? Three important works illuminate these questions from different angles. Henry Hale argues that (except for the Baltic states) post-Soviet regimes are fundamentally similar to one another in being constituted by informal networks that dominate resources and institutions. They converge around, and compete for, influence with a powerful presidency that imposes selective rewards and punishments. Succession is the key weakness, and an unpopular lame duck leader invariably leads to upheaval. Karen Dawisha charts the rise of Vladimir Putin’s network of friends and colleagues, and documents allegations of corruption and illegality. She shows how quickly this network, on gaining presidential power, revived state strength and undermined other networks. Peter Pomerantsev vividly portrays a society of simulations ruled by a deft and disorienting ‘postmodern authoritarianism’. But as systemic popularity has declined this has given way to a harder, shriller anti-western course, and ultimately to the annexation of Crimea. The future may see the international context play a greater role in regime evolution than before. The compelling anatomy of power laid bare in these three works points to growing tensions and flaws in patronal rule across the post-Soviet space.
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    Nigel Gould-Davies

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Book reviews

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Index of books reviewed

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