lördag 13 oktober 2012

The occurrence of war

Within the discourse of occurrence of wars there are a different range of opinions. Kenneth Waltz who is a neorealist has illustrated this very well in his three images. The images are supposed to help us understand why wars occur. Human behaviour, states as unitary actors and the international anarchy. Now, I would like to discuss this because Waltz refers to the cold war when explaining the occurence of war. For example, one strong point that he holds is that states are less likely to go to war if the international system is bipolar, meaning that we have two great powers possessing nuclear weapons - a balance of power structure. Referring to the cold war as an example for a stable peace strikes me as surprising. Yes, there were no big scale wars that emerged during the cold war, but there definitely was always a threat of the usage of nuclear weapons. Waltz's argument to this is that if both great powers possess nuclear weapons then they will always fear each other - that is where the balance of power structure comes in. But that cannot be the best solution - always operating in fear of each other. Some points of Waltz is accurate but he does certainly not have a fully reasonable solution for a stable peace or perpetual peace, of course no theory can be fully solving problems. His three images are to some extent true. States do tend to act in terms of self-interest using liberal values in order to maintain their interests. Maybe there is some truth to his theory about states acting within the international anarchic system, since there is no overall judicial system that can prosecute states. But we have non governmental organizations, there is the UN operating. So there are organizations that work together in order to secure for example human rights and regulate states behaviours in order to secure them. I think a mixture of neorealist views and neoliberal views could explain phenomena's such as the occurrence of war.

onsdag 5 september 2012

Syria - When do we have the responsibility to protect?

I'm sure most of you who have been following the daily news have seen the situation in Syria. A situation which really is a civil war. Syria obviously can't protect their people. So, with that noted the responsibility to protect becomes important. The norm is formulated as following: " - The State carries the primary responsibility for the protection of populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. - The international community has a responsibility to assist States in fulfilling this responsibility. - The international community should use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State fails to protect its populations or is in fact the perpetrator of crimes, the international community must be prepared to take stronger measures, including the collective use of force through the UN Security Council." All kinds of violations of human rights are allowed to take place here but where's the international community? Why is there hesitation when the Syrian government obviously can not protect their people? Especially the children. Many children have lost their homes, parents and families. They're forced to live in the middle of the civil war where they really don't have any security at all. Practically always one step away from beeing hit by a bullet, bomb or experiencing other types of human rights violations. I know it also has got to do with China using their right to put in veto. But don't they deserve the same rights, both positive and negative rights, as every other child? I think everbody can agree with me when I say they do. So, the norm on the responsibility to protect needs to be strengthened and used more effectively, because really? How long is it going to take? I mean it's one thing to talk about the situation and have meetings and conventions regarding this, but the situation in Syria has been stated several times. It is now known. Yes, the situation is critical and now, it's time to let words become action. Now.