• International Affairs

    Review article: The Cambridge history of the Second World War

    Following on from earlier three-volume histories of the Cold War and the First World War, Cambridge University Press completes a trilogy with this detailed treatment of the Second World War. Multi-authored in the Cambridge tradition, the individual chapters cover a wide range of events and topics and the 81 contributors, mainly but not exclusively from the United Kingdom and the United States, include both scholars who have already established a reputation in the subject as well as those who are in the process of doing so. Perhaps the greatest strength of the volumes is the treatment given to what may be loosely referred to as the Pacific War. No one who uses them properly is going to have any doubts about the nature and importance of the struggle between Japan and its opponents between 1937 and 1945, and it is particularly encouraging to note the use of Chinese and Japanese sources by the authors, when so many English-language books on the subject cite none. The principal weakness of the enterprise is its division into an unnecessarily complicated series of topics, which is not always adhered to by the authors and which often compels the unfortunate reader to skip backwards and forwards, not only within but between volumes. Despite this flaw, however, this remains an important contribution to the history of the Second World War and will need to be consulted by any serious student of the subject for many years to come.
    925Geoffrey Warner
  • public health poster warning against mosquitos with out of focus woman in the backgroundInternational Affairs

    A gendered human rights analysis of Ebola and Zika: locating gender in global health emergencies

    Looking specifically at the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks, what we find particularly troubling in both cases is the paucity of engagement with human rights language and the diverse backgrounds of women in these locations of crisis, when women-specific advice was being issued. We find the lessons that should have been learnt from the Ebola experience have not been applied in the Zika outbreak and there remains a disconnect between the international public health advice being issued and the experience of pervasive structural gender inequalities among those experiencing the crises. In both cases we find that responses at the outbreak of the crisis presume that women have economic, social or regulatory options to exercise the autonomy contained in international advice. The problem in the case of both Ebola and Zika has been that leaving structural gender inequalities out of the crisis response has further compounded those inequalities. The article argues for a contextual human rights analysis that takes into account gender as a social and economic determinant of health.
    925Sara E. Davies and Belinda Bennett
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    Index of books reviewed

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    Abstracts

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    Contributors

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    Note from the editor

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  • International Affairs

    Off-road policing: communications technology and government authority in Somaliland

    Prompted by the trend to see information and communications technology (ICT) as a tool for capacity building, this article asks whether the use of ICT has—or can—recast centre–periphery relations in a hybrid country such as Somaliland. Taking as its departure point Herbst’s observation that a fundamental problem confronting African leaders concerns how to extend or consolidate authority over sparsely settled lands, it uses recent developments in Somaliland’s coast guard and immigration police to assess ICT’s contribution to changing security provision in remote and coastal areas. This allows for an analysis of Somaliland’s law enforcement framework, the relationship between its politics and practice, the practical application of its coercive resources, and the Silanyo government’s priorities and preference for consensus and co-existence whenever security imperatives allow. It suggests that ICT can be a desirable operational tool or a variable in existing power networks, but that it does not represent a new mode of security governance. ICT’s potential to connect Somaliland’s government and populace, and politics and practice, is for now minimal, but identifying the ways in which security actors such as coast guards actually use ICT allows for a more accurate assessment of the variables shaping centre–periphery relations. Contrary to Herbst’s observation, the Silanyo government does not need to overtly or systematically extend, consolidate or exert its authority in remote and coastal areas. Spatial metaphors such as centre–periphery help to clarify the situation, but the significance invested in them reflects western rationalities, rather than Somali realities.
    925Alice Hills
  • International Affairs

    UK cyber security and critical national infrastructure protection

    This article is intended to aid the UK government in protecting the UK from cyber attacks on its Critical National Infrastructure. With a National Cyber Security Centre now being established and an updated National Cyber Security Strategy due in 2016, it is vital for the UK government to take the right approach. This article seeks to inform this approach by outlining the scope of the problems Britain faces and what action the UK government is taking to combat these threats. In doing so, it offers a series of recommendations designed to further help mitigate these threats, drive up cyber resiliency and aid recovery plans should they be required. It argues that complete engagement and partnership with private sector owner–operators of Critical National Infrastructure are vital to the success of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy. It makes the case that for cyber resiliency to be fully effective, action is needed at national and global levels requiring states and private industry better to comprehend the threat environment and the risks facing Critical National Infrastructure from cyber attacks and those responsible for them. These are problems for all developed and developing states.
    925Kristan Stoddart
  • International Affairs

    The Paris Agreement and the new logic of international climate politics

    This article reviews and assesses the outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Paris in December 2015. It argues that the Paris Agreement breaks new ground in international climate policy, by acknowledging the primacy of domestic politics in climate change and allowing countries to set their own level of ambition for climate change mitigation. It creates a framework for making voluntary pledges that can be compared and reviewed internationally, in the hope that global ambition can be increased through a process of ‘naming and shaming’. By sidestepping distributional conflicts, the Paris Agreement manages to remove one of the biggest barriers to international climate cooperation. It recognizes that none of the major powers can be forced into drastic emissions cuts. However, instead of leaving mitigation efforts to an entirely bottom-up logic, it embeds country pledges in an international system of climate accountability and a ‘ratchet mechanism’, thus offering the chance of more durable international cooperation. At the same time, it is far from clear whether the treaty can actually deliver on the urgent need to de-carbonize the global economy. The past record of climate policies suggests that governments have a tendency to express lofty aspirations but avoid tough decisions. For the Paris Agreement to make a difference, the new logic of ‘pledge and review’ will need to mobilize international and domestic pressure and generate political momentum behind more substantial climate policies worldwide. It matters, therefore, whether the Paris Agreement’s new approach can be made to work.
    925Robert Falkner
  • International Affairs

    Washington’s failure to resolve the North Korean nuclear conundrum: examining two decades of US policy

    More than two decades of nuclear dialogue between the United States and North Korea have not prevented Pyongyang from conducting four nuclear tests and building up a nuclear weapons arsenal. Putting the blame for the failure of this dialogue solely on Pyongyang ignores the hesitancy and confusion of US policy. Historical evidence suggests that the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations consistently failed to prioritize their objectives and adopted an impatient and uncompromising negotiating strategy that contributed to this ongoing non-proliferation fiasco. Identifying US policy mistakes at important crossroads in the dialogue with Pyongyang could help to prevent similar mistakes in the future. In this regard, the following analysis suggests a new approach towards Pyongyang based on a long-term trust-building process during which North Korea would be required to cap and then gradually eliminate its nuclear weapons in return for economic assistance and normalization of relations with the United States. Importantly, the United States might have to resign itself to North Korea’s keeping an independent nuclear fuel cycle under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as to accepting South Korea’s request to independently enrich uranium and pyroprocess spent nuclear fuel. This would be a more favourable alternative to allowing North Korea to continue accumulating nuclear weapons. Moreover, if the United States continues on the Obama administration’s failed policy path, then there is a better than even chance that the Korean Peninsula may slide into a nuclear arms race.
    925Niv Farago

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