Rogue States: Rogues no more

The US Department of State announced on June 19 that Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea will no longer be ‘rogue states’ but rather ‘states of concern’.

The World Today Published 1 August 2000 Updated 30 June 2022 4 minute READ

Wyn Q. Bowen

Head of the School of Security Studies, King's College London

A spokesman for the State Department explained that this change in terminology had taken place over the ‘past few months’ although it did not signal a dramatic shift in American policy or behaviour towards them. Was it ever a useful description of states thought to threaten Washington’s security and how far has the change been driven by the National Missile Defence scheme?

The decision to drop the term rogue state is welcome and overdue as it has always been of dubious analytical utility. The phrase has been used in the United States as a label of stigmatisation to generate domestic and international support for remedial policies against states whose behaviour has been deemed unsavoury and unacceptable because it violates international law and norms, undermines the status quo and threatens American security interests.

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