Slides in this set
This rise of identity politics if often seen as part and parcel of a broader phenomenon; the
growing salience of culture as a factor affecting international relationships and world affairs.
One might questions why there has been an upsurge in identity politics since the final
decades of the twentieth century?
The rise of identity politics
· Firstly, the phenomenon is often associated with post colonialism and attempts
in former European colonies to give political independence a cultural dimension
by developing a non-western and sometimes anti-western, sense of identity.
· Secondly, the failure of socialism and ultimately, the collapse of communism. By
providing a critique of exploration and oppression, and by standing for social
development and equality, socialism exerted a powerful appeal for oppressed
peoples in many parts of the world, often, but not always, linked to the wider
influence of the Soviet Union
Clash of Civilization thesis
· One of the most widely discussed and controversial attempts to highlight the
importance of culture in contemporary global politics has been Samuel Huntington's
"Clash of Civilisation thesis". The notion of the thesis attracted growing attention
during the 1990s as early, optimistic expectations of the establishment of a liberal
"new world order" were shaken by an upsurge in ethic conflict in the former
Yugoslavia Rwanda and elsewhere. However, the thesis has its greatest impact
after September 11, when it was widely used as an explanation of the changing
nature of world order as global terrorism was seen as& Teleological
a symptom of anEthics
clash between Islam and the West.
· Huntington's basic assertion was that a new era in global politics was emerging in
which civilisation would be the primary force, a civilisation being "culture writ large".
As such, the "clash of civilisations" thesis contrasted sharply with the neoliberal
image of world affair, which stresses the growth of interdependence particularly in
the light of globalisation.
Huntington stated "the most important conflicts of the future will occur
along the fault lines separating these civilisations from one another".…read more
To understand the rise of identity politics in more depth, read page 182-190
Is there an emerging "clash of civilisations"?
Firstly, one could argue that culture is to be destined to be the primary force in twenty-first
century global politics because, as Huntington put it "If not civilisations, what?" Since the end of
the Cold War, ideology has faded in significance and globalisation has weakened the states
ability to generate a sense of civic belonging, while there is little evidence of global or
cosmopolitan identities becoming a reality.
However, Huntington's notion of culture and civilisation can be dismissed as simplistic. The
"Clash of Civilisations" thesis states that cultures are rigid and "hermetically sealed" giving rise to
a narrow association between civilisations and unchanging sets of traditions, values and
understandings. In reality civilisations are not homogenous and unified blocs, but are rather,
complex and fragmented. For example; the notions of "Islamic civilisation" or a "western
civilisation" such as the USA, fail to take account of either the extent of political, cultural and
social division within each "civilisation" or the extent to which Islam and the West has influenced
and continued to influence each other.
The stronger sense of cultural belonging in the modern world cannot but lead to tension and
conflict. This is because different cultures and civilisations are incommensurate ( meaning that
establish quite different sets of values) This desirable cross-cultural understanding may be, it is
impossible to bring about.
One could respond by stating that the idea that cultural difference is always and inevitably linked
to political antagonism is highly questionable. For example; cultural similarity is no guarantee of
peace and stability as most wars take place between states from the same civilisations.
Additionally, the Balkans during the Ottoman era demonstrates that there is evidence for people
with different cultures and religions to be able to live together in peace and harmony.
Lastly, certain trends to which Huntington drew attention have undoubtable generated tension,
giving the world an increasingly problematical multipolar and "multicivilisational" character. This
is shown through the long-term decline of the west, including
Deontological &the fading the US hegemony
Teleological Ethics and
the rise or Asia , specifically China. This has caused tension between China and the USA, thus
having an inescapable civilizational dimension.
However, the clash of civilisation thesis ignores the extent to which globalisation and other
forces have blurred cultural differences in many parts of the world. Despite the image of the "one
world", there is still strong tendencies towards economic interdependence and integration which
at least counter balances and contains any centrifugal tendencies that civilsational rivalry may
Try to answer this 45 marker using synopsis: "Concerns about an emerging "clash
of civilisations" has been greatly exaggerated" Discuss…read more
Islam vs West? Page 197-205
· The rise of political Islam, and particularly 9/11 and the advent of the "war on terror" created the
image of a civilizational clash between Islam and the west. "Clash of civilisations" theorists were
quick to proclaim that this was to be one of the major fault lines in twenty-first century global
politics. However the image of deeply rooted tension has two distinct faces. Firstly, political Islam
is portrayed as implacably anti-western committed to the expulsions of western influence. In this
view, the west is an "Islamic threat" and must be combated through the destruction of
fundamentalist ideas, not just terrorism and Jihadist insurrection. Secondly, Islam, especially in
the Arab world is a victim of western intervention
Why have some modern wars been classified as "new" wars?
· Firstly, around 95% of armed conflicts, since the mid-1990s, have occurred within states with the
most recent examples being Syria, with various "rebel" groups forming a coalition to fight against
the Assad regime currently in power. One could argue that the pressures of globalisation are the
cause of the disintegration states. For example; in the Arab Spring, the increase access to the
outside world through technology led to not only a growing awareness of the difference in situation
within these states but also a greater ability to create a situation where dictators could be removed
as with Qaddafi in Libya. This shows that factors such as globalisation has caused a rise in cultural
differences leading to conflict between different cultural ideologies within states, therefore leading
modern wars being viewed as civil wars.
· Secondly, this idea of recent wars between states being conducted over cultural ideologies leads to
the term "new" war relating to modern states wars often being portrayed as being identity wars.
This is a war in which the quest for cultural regeneration is a primary motivation for conflict. This is
shown again by the rise of globalisation as it has pushed Westernisation on other states, which
therefore removes some states culture. Primarily, one could argue that the forced westernisation on
other states creates states to join together based on their shared ideologies. However, this can be
developed by Huntington's theory of "Clash of Civilisation" as he states that modern wars are
caused by ideologies differences and whereby some may agree and apply "western" idea, others
reject and try to protect their own identities, therefore causing more civil wars to occur due to the
cultural differences occurring.
· Lastly, the civilian/military divide has been blurred in a variety of ways. Modern warfare has a
greater impact on civilian populations because of its diffuse nature. One could argue that this divide
being blurred has caused a "war amongst the people". This is shown through the unconventional
tactics such as suicide bombs and drone attacks in the recent years, meaning that civilian
populations have become the military targets as they aim to create a socio-economic dislocation.
This "new" war has often created a refugee crisis shown in Syria, whereby currently, 1.3 million
Syrians have been taking in by states such as Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Therefore, it is evident to
proclaim that the modern wars are viewed as "new" wars due to the differences in relating to war as
now civilians are involved and even targets to create more of a threat and there has been an
increasing amount of conflict within states due to their cultural identities rather than over the power
between states.…read more
WMD? Weapons of mass destruction is a category of weapons that covers nuclear, radiological,
chemical and biological weapons, which have a massive and indiscriminate destructive capacity.
Nature of WMDs
WMDs are distinguished from conventional weapons in three main ways;
· Firstly, as the name suggests, they are weapons that have potential to inflict massive, collateral
damage, having devastating implications for civilian populations
· Secondly their mass impact has raised important moral questions, notably through the
suggestion that these weapons are "non-legitimate, inhuman" forms of warfare
· Lastly, they have a particularly powerful deterrent effect, making attacks on states which possess
WMD almost unthinkable.
However, the classification of all these weapons as WMD is debatable due to trends in recent years,
away from nuclear weapons with explosive potential have created a distinction between "unusable"
strategic nuclear weapons and possibly "usable" tactical or "battlefield" nuclear weapons. Not only
may the use of WMD be dependent on conventional weapons systems (as in the use of
intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver nuclear weapons), but a sustained conventional aerial
bombardment is capable of inflicting massive collateral damage devastating implications of civilian
· Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons, either by their acquisition by more states or
other actors, as known as horizontal proliferation, or their accumulation by established nuclear
state, also known as vertical proliferation.
· During the cold war, nuclear proliferation was primarily vertical rather than horizontal. Greatest
attention was given to restricting the spread of nuclear arms beyond the "big five" particularly
through the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which was introduced in 196. Almost all states
signed the NPT, with exceptions of India, Pakistan and Israel. During this period the USA and
soviet Union built up the capacity to destroy the world many times over. By the 1960s, both
superpowers had an invulnerable second-strike capability which ensured that nuclear war would
result in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) thus completing the "nuclear revolution". This lead to
"balance on terror" that some would say shows the "balance of power" in maintaining peace.
· The end of the Cold War produced early optimistic expectations that the issue of nuclear
proliferation would be of declining relevance. However, the post cold war era has been
characterised by heightened anxiety of nuclear proliferation. This has happened for at least four
reasons. Firstly, Established nuclear powers continued to use nuclear strategies, secondly, the
incentives for states to acquire nuclear weapons have increased, proliferation is easier, as nuclear
weapons and nuclear technology are more readily available and fears have heightened that
nuclear weapons may get into the "wrong hands" such as rogue states.…read more
Example of 45 marker : To what extent does nuclear proliferation threaten peace and security?
Nuclear proliferation is the acquisition and spread of nuclear weapons amongst the internal
community, and has been seen by many, (especially since the end of the Cold War and what realists
argue was the end of the stabilising bipolar dynamic of nuclear power between the USA and the
USSR) to constitute the ultimate threat to peace and security, it is also necessary to explore the
positive implications of nuclear weapons and security to fully understand the extensity of nuclear
proliferation causing effect on the peace and security internationally.
Firstly, one could argue that the foremost threat nuclear proliferation presents to portray destruction
upon their target through both immediate and long term effects. This capability of destruction
highlights realists views on what the "great power" states to do with so much ease. For example; in
1945, the USA presented military power over the non-nuclear state, Japan through the nuclear
bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The example shows the ability of such great powers to be able
to obliterate entire states presenting an irrefutable challenge to global peace. However, one might
argue that die to the spread of nuclear proliferation, causing nearly all states to possess nuclear
weapons, that states will not use their nuclear capabilities for the fear that they will also be obliterated
by the retaliatory strike. This idea suggests that nuclear proliferation actually stabilises peace and
security rather than threaten it. Although, this view is only predicted on the assumption that the Cold-
War "Balance on terror" still exists. Realist point out that there could be a fear that a multi-polar power
dynamic means newly nuclear states are now not deterred in using nuclear weapons to settle what
they could are important regional conflict ( For example; in the regional conflict between India and
Secondly, one could highlight that the post Cold war moved away from vertical proliferation ( this is
their accumulation by established nuclear states)to horizontal proliferation ( this is he spread of
nuclear weapons, either by their acquisition by more states or other actors) is an implication that
threatens peace and security. This is due to the idea that some new nuclear states do not have the
knowledge about nuclear weapon usage unlike the long-established nuclear powers do. This causes
a threat as shown by the Liberal Democratic Peace Thesis, in that "pariah states" such as North
Korea are more likely to use the weapons as they rely upon military might to legitimise their
government, therefore is being viewed as a "rogue state". One the other hand, one could argue that
even "pariah" states understand the implications and usage of nuclear weapons and realists would
point out that the main reason for North Korea gaining nuclear weapons is to establish their security
within the international community. However, from a western view, one could respond to the realist
ideologies stating that they miss out and take in consideration of the radicalism within the ideological
structures in states such as North Korea as the current leader, Kim Jong-Un has a completely
different view of the usage of nuclear weapons compared to his father, therefore there is uncertainty
of North Korea threatening peace and security internationally.
PURPLE- Synopsis RED- Analysis…read more
Lastly, the extensity of threat can be seen through the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorist
groups such as Al- Qaeda. By the view of the modern world having "new" terrorism, in the way that
they are not constrained in their potential use of "dirty bombs" ( this is radioactive material
explosives) in order to negotiate with states. This fear of nuclear proliferation causing nuclear
terrorism has been heightened by the acknowledgment of radioactive waste left over from the Soviet
Union being neglected and accounted for, meaning that proliferation of nuclear weapons by terrorist
groups much easier. However, one could argue that terrorist do not have the scientific knowledge
and capabilities to create the more destructive weapons causing less of a threat towards peace and
security. However, this response ignores what realist would point that 9/11 is evidence in which
terrorist groups shouldn't be underestimated in the harm they can cause upon states as terrorist
groups fundamental aim is to ascertain power and still have no worry in using destructive bombs
that they can produce. Therefore, nuclear terrorism should not be underestimated in causing a threat
towards peace and security.
Non- proliferation strategies
NPT- ( Non- Proliferation Treaty)is the single most important nuclear arms control treaty and has
made a major contribution to slowing the pace of horizontal proliferation, especially amongst
developed states that clearly possess the economic and technological capacity to acquire nuclear
Moreover, even when their specific provisions were effectively ignored, bilateral treaties between the
USA and the Soviet Union at least went some way to reduce tension and promote caution, arguably
helping to prepare the way ultimately for the end of the Cold War. On the debit side, however, nuclear
treaties and conventions singularly failed to prevent the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons
during the Cold War, as the USA and Soviet union each build up nuclear arsenals of staggering
START ( Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was created in 1991 and START II in 1993, through
which the USA and Russia agreed, for the first time, to reduce the number of their nuclear warheads
and to eliminate certain categories of weapons, such as land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles
with multiple warheads.
SORT- ( Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty) amounted to little more than a "gentlemen's
agreement". It contained no verification measures, allowed the USA and Russia to deploy between
1,700 and 2,200 warheads with the rest being put in storage rather than being destroyed, and
enabled either side to withdraw from the Treaty and thee months' notice
With the example model for the 45 marker, try answering the question yourself
and structure it so you can clearly see analysis and synopsis.…read more