Looks Interesting: August 2020
I am attempting to keep track of all the articles I come across that look interesting, that I’ll probably never read, but might read more of them if I keep track of them.
Virtual Territorial Integrity: The Next International Norm
By Michael J. Mazarr in Survival
A contribution to work on digital sovereignty and interesting in light of the American turn towards nation-state intranets instead of the internet.
The rising potential for dangerous virtual warfare points to the need for leading countries to develop an agreement parallel to the existing territorial-integrity norm – a virtual territorial-integrity principle that can set limits on non-traditional aggression toward other societies.
Leviathan on trial: should states be held criminally responsible?
By Sean Fleming in International Theory
Interesting argument that states should not be held criminally responsible for state actions, instead favouring an approach to state responsibility that combines reparative justice and individual criminal liability.
Modern liberal wars, illiberal allies, and peace as the failure of policy
By Lukas Milevski in Defense & Security Analysis
Outlines a distinction between three types of liberal war:
In line with the ultimate preference of liberalism, the common political goal for all three types of liberal war is peace. This peace is meant to be a better state of peace, ideally a liberal peace, which in liberal eyes is the best peace. In defensive liberal wars, peace must be defended against any transgressors, whose unworthy regimes must be punished and changed into democratic and hopefully liberal forms of government, thus expanding the zone of liberal peace. Offensive liberal wars motivated by humanitarian concerns aim to resuscitate peace in a particular region by preventing the continuation of humanitarian abuses, but they do not necessarily attempt to enforce liberal values outright among any of the belligerents after war – although they tend to be more successful in the political long-term when they do. Offensive liberal wars motivated by geopolitics aim to impose liberalism, and the peace it purportedly automatically entails, where little interest in such goals existed prior to geopolitical necessity.
How very massive atrocities end: A dataset and typology
By Bridget Conley and Chad Hazlett in Journal of Peace Research
we construct a new dataset covering all 43 very large mass atrocities perpetrated by governments or non-state actors since 1945 with at least 50,000 civilian fatalities. This article introduces and summarizes these data, including an inductively generated typology of three major ending types: those in which (i) violence is carried out to its intended conclusion (37%); (ii) the perpetrator is driven out of power militarily (26%); or (iii) the perpetrator shifts to a different strategy no longer involving mass atrocities against civilians (37%).
…Within the cases we study, no ending was attributable to a neutral peacekeeping mission.
The Changing Nature of Legitimate Authority in the Just War Tradition
By Amy E. Eckert in Journal of Military Ethics
Sadly Amy Eckert passed away recently, leaving us with this defence of the importance of legitimate authority in just war theory.
The revisionist proposal to jettison the legitimate authority principle assumes that the legitimate authority principle adds no value to the jus ad bellum inquiry about the just use of force. It seems clear that any formulation of the legitimate authority principle that equates legitimate authority with the state does not reflect the realities of the international system. Nonetheless, community is important to discussions about the social practices of war and the ethical principles that apply to them. Revisiting the discussion of legitimate authority in the Middle Ages suggests some reasons why this might be wrong, and also points to the types of actors in addition to states that might be able to satisfy the principle of legitimate authority.
JME added this note to the article, which I think sums up the feelings of many:
We were truly saddened to be informed that Professor Eckert passed away just after this article was finalized and published online. She will be remembered for her valuable contributions to the scholarly community, and this article is indeed a testament to that contribution.
‘Lessons learned’ during the Interbellum: ‘Irish war’ and British counterinsurgency
By Stanislav Malkin in Small Wars & Insurgencies
Original archival research challenging perceptions of the ‘Irish War’ and its relationship to the development of counterinsurgency practice in the British Empire.
the content of the ‘Record’ contradicts in many ways the established methods of thinking about the conflict. Declassified documents demonstrate that the ‘Irish war’ was not a false start of modern insurgencies. There is widespread perception that after the Second World War the insurgents were armed with technically new types of weapons and nationalist ideas, in contrast with poorly and badly armed and often tribal uprisings against colonial rule before. In fact, the ‘Irish war’ became a prototype for many of the ‘wars of national liberation’ as a symbol and practical example of successful insurgency, despite the compromise character of agreement over the dominion status of Ireland. Organization of the Jewish insurgent groups in Palestine Mandate during the Interbellum on the lines much closer to that of the IRA is the most prominent example, meaning direct contacts between Vladimir Jabotinsky, one of the fathers-founders of the Jewish terrorist group ‘Irgun Zvei Leumi’, and Robert Briscoe, the former member of the IRA and later Dublin’s Lord Major, to learn from the ‘Irish war’ experience.
The art of net assessment and uncovering foreign military innovations: Learning from Andrew W. Marshall’s legacy
By Dimitri (Dima) Adamsky in Journal of Strategic Studies
empirical evidence highlights the unparalleled accuracy of Marshall’s diagnosis. Indeed, immediately after the war the Soviets highly prioritized nuclear, missile, and air defense capabilities – as Marshall and Loftus argued, contrary to the conventional wisdom within the U.S. intelligence and strategic community at the time – that shaped Soviet military power in the following decades. As Marshall argued, Soviet doctrinal publications of the period indeed were not indicative of the leadership’s genuine strategic-conceptual vision, as well as of the new weapons R&D and procurement initiated at that time. Most intriguingly, Marshall’s argument that the implementation of the leadership’s strategic guidance was irrational, suboptimal, and ineffective due to organizational struggles, bureaucratic wars, the managerial-administrative pathologies typical of the Soviet system, and the personal ambitions of the key players proved to be correct, when checked against the Russian sources.
The impact of ‘Tempest’ on Anglo-American communications security and intelligence, 1943–1970
By David Easter in Intelligence and National Security
Article (by a colleague at the Department of War Studies) examining the early organisational responses to the discovery of electromagnetic and acoustic emissions in cypher machinery.
‘Turning’ everywhere in IR: on the sociological underpinnings of the field’s proliferating turns
By Stephane J. Baele and Gregorio Bettiza in International Theory
Possibly the most subtle knifing in an abstract that I’ve seen recently:
From this perspective, claiming a turn constitutes a position-enhancing move for scholars seeking to accumulate social capital, understood as scientific authority, and become ‘established heretics’ within the intellectual subfield of critical IR. We therefore expect the proliferation of turns to reshape more substantively what it means to do critical IR, rather than turning the whole discipline on its head.
‘The Machine Stops’: E. M. Forster’s Esoteric Critique of H. G. Wells’ A Modern Utopia
By Seamus Flaherty in History
I like the dialogue between utopia and dystopia.
On Forster’s view, instead of a world of happy, healthy and vigorous citizens, Wells’ utopia foreshadowed a world of ill‐health and frustration. Instead of a world of variety and regular travel, Wells’ utopia foreshadowed a world of uniformity and stasis. Instead of a world of increased intelligence and personal initiative, Wells’ utopia foreshadowed a world of stupidity, credulity and lack of imagination. In ‘The Machine Stops’, Forster parodied Wells’ utopia, attacking Wells’ policy of state intervention in the family, his advocacy of euthanasia, his policy of expulsion and the details of everyday life in Wells’ utopia.
Is Strategic Studies Rationalist, Materialist, and A-Critical? Reconnecting Security and Strategy
By Pascal Vennesson in Journal of Global Security Studies
Neat defence of strategic studies from critical theorists.
Limited Force and the Return of Reprisals in the Law of Armed Conflict
By Eric A. Heinze and Rhiannon Neilsen in Ethics & International Affairs
We argue that the ban on reprisals has been largely ignored by states, and that recent attempts to apply the laws of armed conflict to the cyber domain (such as the Tallinn Manual) are further weakening this prohibition.
Reconstructing infrastructure for resilient essential services during and following protracted conflict: A conceptual framework
By Alexander H. Hay, Bryan Karney and Nick Martyn in International Review of the Red Cross
I am currently delving through all sorts of writing on war and infrastructure, so this definitely makes the reading list.
Why Monarchy? The Rise and Demise of a Regime Type
By John Gerring, Tore Wig, Wouter Veenendaal, Daniel Weitzel, Jan Teorell, Kyosuke Kikuta in Comparative Political Studies
Blockbuster study that seeks to explain the rise and demise of monarchy as “an efficient solution to the primordial problem of order where societies are large and citizens isolated from each other and hence have difficulty coordinating” declining as communications costs change.