• IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Heading west? Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic path

    Events in Ukraine in 2014 are likely to transform the presence and role of western institutions such as NATO in the post-Soviet area. The crisis has starkly revealed the limits of their influence within Russia’s ‘zone of privileged interest’, as well as the lack of internal unity within these organizations vis-à-vis relations with Moscow and future engagement with the area. This will have long-term implications for the South Caucasus state of Georgia, whose desire for integration into the Euro-Atlantic community remains a key priority for its foreign and security policy-makers. This article examines the main motivators behind Georgia’s Euro- Atlantic path and its foreign policy stance, which has remained unchanged for over a decade despite intense pressure from Russia. It focuses on two aspects of Georgia’s desire for integration with European and Euro-Atlantic structures: its desire for security and the belief that only a western alignment can guarantee its future development, and the notion of Georgia’s ‘European’ identity. The notion of ‘returning’ to Europe and the West has become a common theme in Georgian political and popular discourse, reflecting the belief of many in the country that they are ‘European’. This article explores this national strategic narrative and argues that the prevailing belief in a European identity facilitates, rather than supersedes, the central role of national interests in Georgian foreign policy.
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    Tracey German

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Contributors

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Abstracts

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Book reviews


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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Review article: 'The tyranny of experts' and the denial of inconvenient truths

    Diamond as a ‘democracy recession’, is it helpful to argue by taking no prisoners and not letting inconvenient truths get in the way? In The tyranny of experts, Bill Easterly uses his trademark blend of insight and relentlessness to detail two big and important ideas: that underlying the prescriptions of all too many development practitioners is the hidden presumption of governance by well-intentioned autocrats; and that, by contrast, free societies offer the opportunity for people, societies and economies to thrive. But the book’s mode of argumentation and its substance are at odds with much recent scholarship on how institutions evolve in the course of development. As this literature underscores, countries diverge from one another in the patterns of leads and lags through which public sector capability and the rule of law strengthen. In some settings statebuilding leads; in others, a strengthened rule of law comes first. Both sequences are fraught with risk and the potential for unintended consequences. Rather than engage with the challenges posed by this scholarship, The tyranny of experts dismissively brushes aside any and all complications, counterexamples and other inconvenient truths. In this era of evident challenge and complexity, overheated, argumentative enthusiasm can no longer substitute for the hard practical work that needs to be done. We need to move on.
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    Brian Levy

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Index of books reviewed

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Ending sexual violence in conflict: the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and its critics

    During the past year, the UK Government has become the lead advocate for a perhaps surprising foreign policy goal: ending sexual violence in conflict. The participation of government representatives from more than 120 countries in a London Summit in June 2014 was the clearest manifestation of this project. This article offers an early assessment of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and situates it within the history of global action against sexual and gender-based violence from UN Security Council Resolution 1325 onwards, with a particular focus on three key developments. First, the PSVI has embraced the already common understanding of rape as a ‘weapon of war’, and has stressed the importance of military training and accountability. This has exposed the tensions within global policy between a focus on all forms of sexual violence (including intimate partner violence in and out of conflict situations) on the one hand, and war zone activities on the other. Second, the Initiative has placed great emphasis on ending impunity, which implicates it in ongoing debates about the role of international and local justice as an effective response to atrocity. Third, men and boys have been foregrounded as ignored victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The PSVI has been crucial to that recognition, but faces significant challenges in operationalizing its commitment and in avoiding damage to existing programmes to end violence against women and girls. The success of the Initiative will depend on its ability to navigate these challenges in multiple arenas of global politics.
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    Paul Kirby

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Normalizing US–Cuba relations: escaping the shackles of the past

    President Barack Obama explained his historic reversal of half a century of US antagonism towards Cuba as necessary because of the failure of the policy of hostility pursued by his ten predecessors. But the old policy’s failure was not new, and thus was not, in itself, an adequate explanation for the dramatic shift. This article uses theories of agenda-setting, policy failure and policy change to explain the persistence of the US policy of hostility from 1959 to 2014 and the policy change announced by President Barack Obama in December 2014. Four structural factors account for the continuity in policy and, as a result of gradual changes in those factors, the eventual policy shift. They are: the security threat Cuba posed to the United States during the Cold War; the political influence of the Cuban American community; the diplomatic cost to Washington, especially in Latin America, of maintaining the status quo; and domestic changes under way in Cuba.
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    William M. LeoGrande

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    When a gamekeeper turns poacher: torture, diplomatic assurances and the politics of trust

    Diplomatic assurances are promises which purport to manage the tension between the need for national security and the human rights obligations not to send individuals to countries where they would be at risk of torture. This article looks at how and why diplomatic assurances have become a part of policy efforts to make counterterrorism human rights compliant and as part of a wider strategy for drawing a line under the damaging legacy of the ‘war on terror’. This positive gloss on the use of diplomatic assurances is, however, in contrast to the worries motivating human rights advocates which centre on the implications for the global anti-torture regime. Behind the doubts surrounding diplomatic assurances is a wider concern, centred on whether the past architects of the war on terror can be trusted to progressively develop the rules and norms governing this domain.
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    Andrew Jillions

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    The Budapest Memorandum and Russia’s intervention in Ukraine

    Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States extended security assurances to Ukraine in December 1994 in an agreement that became known as the Budapest Memorandum. This agreement was part of a package of arrangements whereby Ukraine transferred the Soviet-made nuclear weapons on its territory to Russia and acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS). Russia’s violations of the Budapest Memorandum, notably its annexation of Crimea, could have far-reaching implications for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament because of the questions that Russia’s behaviour has raised about the reliability of major-power security assurances for NNWS parties to the NPT. Doubts about the reliability of such assurances could create incentives to initiate, retain or accelerate national nuclear weapons programs. Moreover, because the Budapest Memorandum included restatements of UN Charter provisions and principles articulated in the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Russia’s disregard for the Budapest Memorandum has raised fundamental questions about the future of international order. The Russians have demonstrated that, despite economic sanctions and international condemnation, they are prepared to disregard longstanding legal and political norms, including those expressed in the Budapest Memorandum, in pursuit of strategic and economic advantages and the fulfilment of national identity goals. Unless Russia reverses its dangerous course, the fate of the Budapest Memorandum may in retrospect stand out as a landmark in the breakdown of international order.
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    David S. Yost

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