• IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Review article: The 100 billion dollar brain: central intelligence machinery in the UK and the US

    The ‘Five Eyes’ alliance, led by the United States, spends close to 100 billion dollars a year on intelligence. This review article argues that western countries are distinguished by their sophisticated approach to the making of intelligence-led national security policy. Political leaders and policy-makers who access this sensitive material are often involved in elaborate systems that constitute part of the core executive and which seek to task and improve the intelligence leviathan. Western intelligence therefore has a ‘central brain’ that devotes considerable energy to both analysis and management. By contrast, in the majority of other states around the world, the orientation of intelligence has often been inward facing, with a high priority given to regime security. Some would suggest that intelligence has been an important component of western power projection, while others would argue that this process has been over-expensive and has under-delivered, not least in the last decade. Either way, the debates about development of the central intelligence machinery that supports western security policies are of the first importance and fortunately this discussion has been advanced by the appearance of several valuable new studies: these are discussed in this review article.
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    Richard J. Aldrich

  • UN general assemblyInternational affairs

    A chronic protection problem: the DPRK and the Responsibility to Protect

    The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) is arguably the world’s most chronic abuser of human rights. In an unprecedented move, a Commission of Inquiry established by the UN’s Human Rights Council accused the DPRK government of systematic violations of human rights amounting to crimes against humanity. In so doing, the Commission succeeded in putting human rights in the DPRK on the global agenda. Within months the UN’s General Assembly and Security Council had joined the human rights body in examining the issue. This article explains the emergence of this new engagement with human rights in the DPRK, showing its relation to the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle. It charts the growing sense of frustration felt at the lack of progress on human rights in DPRK and shows how this was manifested in the General Assembly’s decision to pursue the Commission’s recommendations and call on the Security Council to take concrete steps. Despite this, however, the article shows that there are powerful obstacles in the way of a more robust international approach to human rights in the DPRK and counsels a less confrontational approach focused on engaging China and building trust within the Security Council.

     

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    Alex J. Bellamy

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Book reviews

    The March book reviews section covers a wide-ranging selection of topics and regions. Jack Spence begins by reviewing a fascinating collection of essays, edited by John Ikenberry, on the legacy and influence of Robert Gilpin’s 'War and change in world politics'. Spence notes how remarkably enduring Gilpin’s influence has proven to be. We continue featuring a selection of books on gender and conflict; in this issue Mary Kaldor reviews 'The search for lasting peace', edited by Rosalind Boyd. Also in this section, Catherine Allerton reviews Jacqueline Bhabha’s most recent work on the often ignored topic of children and migration. Under Conflict, security and defence, readers can find a review of Talking to terrorists' by Jonathan Powell. Tim Wilsey concludes that the former Downing Street chief of staff’s newest book is essential reading for anyone interested in the subject. Readers wanting to learn more about improving international development might be interested in Brian Levy’s Working with the grain', reviewed by David Leonard. Later on, in the regional sections, our reviewers look at a wide range of books on topical issues, including German power, strategy and American foreign policy, security and the South China Sea, Zimbabwean politics, the role of the Pashtuns in Pakistan and Russian domestic and foreign affairs.
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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Abstracts

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Contributors

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Index of books reviewed

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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Editorial

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    Andrew Dorman, Heidi Pettersson and Krisztina Csortea

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Securing China’s core interests: the state of the debate in China

    As China has grown stronger, some observers have identified an assertive turn in Chinese foreign policy. Evidence to support this argument includes the increasingly frequent evocation of China’s ‘core interests’—a set of interests that represents the non-negotiable bottom lines of Chinese foreign policy. When new concepts, ideas and political agendas are introduced in China, there is seldom a shared understanding of how they should be defined; the process of populating the concept with real meaning often takes place incrementally. This, the article argues, is what has happened with the notion of core interests. While there are some agreed bottom lines, what issues deserve to be defined (and thus protected) as core interests remains somewhat blurred and open to question. By using content analysis to study 108 articles by Chinese scholars, this article analyses Chinese academic discourse of China’s core interests. The authors’ main finding is that ‘core interests’ is a vague concept in the Chinese discourse, despite its increasing use by the government to legitimize its diplomatic actions and claims. The article argues that this vagueness not only makes it difficult to predict Chinese diplomatic behaviour on key issues, but also allows external observers a rich source of opinions to select from to help support pre-existing views on the nature of China as a global power.
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    Jinghan Zeng, Yuefan Xiao and Shaun Breslin

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Engagement without recognition: the limits of diplomatic interaction with contested states

    This article examines the extent to which states are able to interact at an official level with a contested or de facto state—a state that has unilaterally declared independence but is not a member of the United Nations—without being understood to have recognized it. This is an area of increasing interest and relevance to policymakers as the number of contested states has grown in recent years. In many cases, interaction may be important for ongoing peace efforts. However, there are also instances when a state is prevented from recognizing the territory in question for specific domestic or foreign policy reasons and so has to find alternative means by which to cooperate. Drawing on several key examples, notably Kosovo and the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, but also with reference to Abkhazia, the article explores the limits of interaction across various different forms of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activity. As is shown, albeit with some significant provisos, legal theory and historic practice suggest that diplomatic engagement does not constitute recognition if there is no underlying intent to recognize. This means that there is in fact a very high degree of latitude regarding the limits of diplomatic engagement with contested states. This is especially the case in bilateral contexts. Indeed, in some circumstances, the level of engagement can even amount to recognition in all but name.
    912

    James Ker-Lindsay

  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Why wealthy countries must not drop nuclear energy: coal power, climate change and the fate of the global poor

    Current estimates indicate that several hundred thousand deaths per year can be attributed to climate change. Developed countries have reacted to this growing disaster by increasing the use of renewable energies, but what is to be done with the additional electricity thus generated? Should it be used for cutting back coal-fired energy production or can it be used for substituting nuclear energy? Priority must be given to replacing coal power, since developed countries have a strong duty to minimize the physical harm caused by their electricity generation. Dropping nuclear energy prior to coal power cannot be justified because the risks of nuclear energy pale in comparison to the suffering that emissions from coalfired plants inflict both on their host countries and on poorer countries in the global South that (a) do not benefit from this energy and (b) have far less capacity to cope with the effects of climate change or other environmental damages. This article argues that when faced with a choice between operating coal-fired power plants or nuclear reactors, governments are obliged to opt for nuclear energy.
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    Reinhard Wolf

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