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  • International affairs

    Decolonizing branded peacebuilding: abjected women talk back to the Finnish Women, Peace and Security agenda

    This article interrogates the sexual ideology of Finnish peacebuilding, the country’s foreign policy brand and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda by examining the experiences of women ’written out of history’. Using the method of ’writing back’ I juxtapose the construction of a gender-friendly global peacebuilder identity with experiences in Finland after the Lapland War (1944–45) and in post-conflict Aceh, Indonesia (1976–2005). Although being divided temporarily and geographically, these two contexts form an intimate part of the abjected and invisible part of the Finnish WPS agenda, revealing a number of colonial and violent overtones of postwar reconstruction: economic and political postwar dystopia of Skolt Sámi and neglect of Acehnese women’s experiences in branding the peace settlement and its implementation as a success. Jointly they critique and challenge both the gender/women-friendly peacebuilder identity construction of Finland and locate the sexual ideology of WPS to that of political economy and post-conflict political, legal and economic reforms. The article illustrates how the Finnish foreign policy brand has constructed the country as a global problemsolver and peacemaker, drawing on the heteronormative myth of already achieved gender equality on the one hand and, on the other, tamed asexual female subjectivity: the ‘good woman’ as peacebuilder or victim of violence. By drawing attention to violent effects of the global WPS agenda demanding decolonialization, I suggest that the real success of the WPS agenda should be evaluated by those who have been ‘written out’.
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    Marjaana Jauhola

  • International affairs

    The ‘woman-in-conflict’ at the UN Security Council: a subject of practice

    Since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the woman-inconflict has emerged as a central figure in the discourse of the UNSC Women, Peace and Security policy community. She is an ever-present referent in discussions, the person in whose name critique is launched or action demanded. This figure is a representation of the needs and interests of the uncountable, faceless and nameless women affected by and living through war; a representation that takes place through imbuing her with particular meaning or characteristics. These meanings shape how the figure is understood in Women, Peace and Security discourse, which, in turn, constructs the horizons of possibility for both current and future policy and its implementation. This article explores how this figure is produced as a subject through layers of representation and is deeply embedded in the practices and relationships of power in the policy community. It suggests that accounting for these will offer an opportunity for feminist advocates to engage in this institutional space in more considered and effective ways.
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    Sam Cook

  • International affairs

    Martin Wight Memorial Lecture: Powers of a kind: the anomalous position of France and the United Kingdom in world politics

    Since the loss of their empires, Britain and France have been seen as states in historical but still only relative decline: no longer great powers but not typical of the large category of middle-range powers. Despite financial constraints and limited size they retain their status as permanent members of the UN Security Council and continue to display the ambition to exert global influence. At times, London and Paris deal with this anomaly by acting in harness but at others their foreign policies diverge dramatically, not least because of the contrasting domestic traditions from which they emerge, and because of their differing roles within the European Union. This article assesses the capacity of these two notable states to maintain a leading role in international politics given their own uneasy relationship and the significant constraints which they now face, both external and internal. The article is a revised version of the Martin Wight Memorial Lecture, held at Chatham House, London, on 3 November 2015.
    922

    Christopher Hill

  • International affairs

    Review article: The Responsibility to Protect at 15

    In the fifteen years since the publication of the report ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, there has been a burgeoning literature on all aspects of R2P. This review article focuses on five issues. First, it revisits the shift from ‘humanitarian intervention’ to R2P as the key innovation in 2001, highlighting the political, conceptual, normative, procedural and operational differences between the two. Second, it examines the state of knowledge regarding the causes of atrocities; the institutional vulnerabilities and points of resilience; the pathways from simmering animosities to mass killings; the indicators and precursors; and the most effective preventive and response mechanisms. Third, it reviews the unsatisfactory state of R2P implementation. Fourth, it discusses the main R2P actors, from international organizations and key groups of states to individuals. Finally, it addresses the continuing scepticism about R2P, in that it does not resolve all the dilemmas of how outsiders can provide timely, decisive and effective assistance to any group in need of protection.
    922

    Ramesh Thakur

  • International affairs

    Review article: Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress: countering revolution in Latin America

    Within weeks of his inauguration in January 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed an Alliance for Progress: a $100 billion programme of economic, political and social development for Latin America. Its purpose was to tackle the causes presumed to have sparked the Cuban revolution, chiefly poverty and bad governance, and within half a year every Latin American state except Cuba committed to the goals of the Alliance. But within a few years even proponents of the Alliance doubted its efficacy, a pessimism which increased during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, and more so under Richard Nixon. This review of the contemporary and historical literature on the Alliance sets that scholarship within the broader area of US–Latin American relations, with particular emphasis on US–Cuban relations from the 1960s until the twenty-first century. An important sub-theme is the peculiarity, the ‘exceptionalness’ of American political rhetoric, derived from and in turn shaping Americans’ sense of the history and the foreign relations of the US: the ‘American mission’ to the world.
    922

    Michael Dunne

  • International affairs

    Book reviews section

    922
  • International affairs

    March newsletter

    The March issue of International Affairs, guest-edited by Paul Kirby and Laura J. Shepherd, analyses the UN’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda 15 years on from the adoption of the first WPS resolution by the UN Security Council. In achieving its aim to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council and has recognized the centrality of gender issues through the adoption of eight, inter-related resolutions on women, peace and security. On the back of these, governments were encouraged to produce National Action Plans detailing how they would advance gender equality at home and abroad and organizations such as the EU and NATO have incorporated elements of the WPS agenda into their defence and security policies. But has the agenda lived up to its ambitions in its first 15 years? The articles in the special issue extend and enrich debates about WPS in innovative ways, reaching beyond implementation. Roberta Guerrina and Katharine Wright come closest to the question of implementation, but in the context of investigating the extent to which the EU’s engagement with WPS discourse is evidence of, or a contributory factor in, the construction of the EU as a leader in promoting ‘gender norms’. All but one of the other contributors focus on the gaps and silences in WPS discourse and practice: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin explores the applicability of WPS principles in an era of ‘new wars’ in which much security strategy is focused on counterterrorism; Jamie J. Hagen interrogates the WPS agenda from a queer theory perspective, to explore the heteronormative logics that tend to structure both discourse and practice; and Marjaana Jauhola focuses explicitly on the marginalized subjects of women, peace and security, exploring the ways in which WPS discourse is predicated upon a construct of the ‘good woman’. By contrast, Soumita Basu analyses the performative dimension of WPS in her exploration of state practice at the UN in relation to WPS. Cutting into this issue in a different manner, Sam Cook offers a compelling account of the ways in which WPS is performed by civil society actors at the UN, arguing that by examining this performance we can gain a profound understanding of the dynamics of power, legitimacy and authority that render WPS discourse intelligible, and mobilize support for the agenda into the future. Finally, Kirby and Shepherd provide an assessment of the past 15 years of WPS, an analysis of its tensions in the present, and a sketch of its possible near futures. The issue also includes the revised text of the 2015 Martin Wight Lecture, given by Christopher Hill, and a comprehensive literature review of the Responsibility to Protect by Ramesh Thakur.
    922

    Andrew Dorman

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