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Realistic Idealism

An Aristotelian Alternative to Machiavellian International Relations

Pedro Alexis Tabensky

In this paper I criticize political realism in International Relations for not being realistic enough, for being unrealistically pessimistic and ultimately incoherent. For them the international arena will always be a place where a battle of wills, informed by the logic of power, is fought. I grant that it may be true that the international political domain is a place where such battles are fought, but this alleged infelicitous situation does not in and of itself entail the normative pessimism informing their assessments of the international domain, and it does not entail the recommendations offered by political realists, particularly relating to balance of power concerns. Their lack of realism stems from total or partial blindness to the proper and coherent ideals that ought to be informing their analyses of the international domain. Such blindness does not allow them properly to grasp what actually is the case. As we can only properly understand what an eye is by knowing the ideal that defines eyes — proper vision — so too we can only properly identify the movements of the international political arena in relation to ideals that ultimately define this arena, ideals that stem from a proper understanding of the human person. Following an Aristotelian teleological technique of analysis, I show that ideals are a constitutive part of the international domain and I recommend an alternative to political realism, namely, realistic idealism (or, if you prefer, idealistic realism).

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Christopher R. Cook

This article contributes to the discussion of internationalisation in higher education in the context of the international relations (IR) subfield of political science. The field of IR might seem by definition to be ‘internationalised’, but the underlying theoretical assumptions of the field, its social science rationalism and privileging of the unitary nation-state exhibit an American or Eurocentric bias. This Western bias with its emphasis on security issues is then replicated in research agendas and reproduced in higher education classrooms across the United States and beyond. I argue that the way forward to promoting internationalisation partially lies with promoting plurality and diversity within research and in the classroom or what Lamy calls ‘challenging hegemonic paradigms’ (2007).

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Marcela Ceballos Medina

This article examines Ecuadoran policy toward the forced migration of Colombians to Ecuador. It identifies the main changes in Ecuadoran immigration policy, including asylum, for the period 1996-2008. To do this, the author examines two dimensions of immigration policy: the normative framework and political practices (implementation of the normative framework). The article tries to answer the following questions: What are the main changes in Ecuadoran immigration policy toward Colombian forced migration? How can we explain those changes? The author suggests that the policy oscillates between regional or binational integration and border contention. The variables that explain those changes are: (1) the magnitude of Colombian migration; (2) the transnational dynamics of the internal armed conflict along the Colombia-Ecuador border and the political context in Ecuador; and (3) the international relations of Colombia and Ecuador and the political agenda of the South American region.

Spanish El propósito del artículo es examinar la respuesta del Estado ecuatoriano a las migraciones forzadas de colombianos hacia ese país, identificando los principales cambios en la política de inmigración (incluida la política de asilo y refugio) de Ecuador durante el periodo 1996- 2008. Para ello, se observan dos dimensiones de la política migratoria ecuatoriana: 1) el marco normativo y 2) las prácticas políticas para la implementación de las normas. La autora se propone responder a las preguntas ¿Cuáles son los principales cambios en la política migratoria del Estado ecuatoriano hacia las migraciones colombianas? ¿Cómo se explican esos cambios? Concluye que la política migratoria de Ecuador hacia las migraciones colombianas oscila entre una posición integracionista y abierta a la inmigración y una política de cierre de fronteras y contención del conflicto armado dentro del territorio colombiano. Las variables que explican dichos cambios son: 1) el creciente flujo de migrantes colombianos hacia Ecuador, 2) las dinámicas transnacionales del conflicto armado colombiano en la frontera y el contexto político al interior del Ecuador, y 3) las relaciones político-diplomáticas entre los dos países y la agenda política en la región suramericana.

French Cet article examine la politique de l'Équateur concernant l'immigration forcée de Colombiens vers ce pays. Il identifie les changements principaux effectués dans la politique d'immigration équatorienne (en incluant la politique publique d'asile) pour la période 1996-2008. Dans ce but, l'auteur examine deux dimensions de la politique publique d'immigration : 1) le cadre normatif, et 2) les pratiques politiques (la mise en œuvre du cadre normatif). L'auteur souhaite répondre aux questions suivantes : quels sont les changements principaux dans la politique d'immigration équatorienne concernant les migrations colombiennes forcées ? Comment pouvons-nous expliquer ces changements ? L'hypothèse est que la politique d'immigration de l'Équateur oscille entre l'intégration régionale ou binationale et le contrôle des frontières. Les variables perme ant d'expliquer ces changements sont : 1) l'ampleur des migrations colombiennes vers l'Équateur ; 2) les dynamiques transnationales du conflit armé interne au niveau de la frontière colombo-équatorienne et le contexte politique en Équateur ; et 3) les relations internationales entre la Colombie et l'Équateur ainsi que l'agenda politique de la région sud-américaine.

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Stephen Chan

Since its inception, the discipline of International Relations has struggled to establish the rigour of its methodological base in the academy, and it has struggled to establish whether and how it might have any moral place in the world. At the end of the millennium both struggles have reached a high point. Methodologically, the discipline has begun a trans-Atlantic separation. On the one hand there has been a U.S. emphasis on neo-realism and neo-liberalism, which in both its categorisations and its positivistic tendencies is not a considerable departure from the inter-war debate between realists and idealists. On the other hand there has been a British concern not only for a ‘historicised’ discipline, but for the intellectual history of the discipline itself. Steve Smith has written on ten self-images that International Relations has held.

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Jorge Magasich Airola

The government of Salvador Allende a empted to replace the traditional Chilean foreign policy of alignment with one of the blocks of the Cold War and its “ideological borders,” with a new international policy of “ideological pluralism,” aiming to establish new commercial and diplomatic relations between different countries, regardless of their national political regimes. This policy involved the defense of the principles and objectives of the so-called Third World, which included proposals to: reform the international financial order; promote Latin American integration, especially of the Andean countries; improve Chile's relationship with three neighboring countries and negotiate border disputes; and create a judicial entity to face hostility from the U.S. government. The development of this new foreign policy was interrupted by the coup d'état. Nevertheless, four decades later, it gained importance, and this policy became a reference for many Latin American governments.

Spanish El gobierno de Salvador Allende intentó reemplazar la tradicional política exterior chilena de alineamiento con uno de los bloques de la Guerra Fría y sus “fronteras ideológicas”, por una nueva política internacional de “pluralismo ideológico”, lo que significa establecer relaciones diplomáticas y comerciales con todos los países del mundo, independientemente del régimen interno que los rija. Tal política implica la defensa de los principios y objetivos del entonces llamado “Tercer Mundo”, la cual incluye proposiciones para reformar el orden financiero internacional; la promoción de la integración latinoamericana, particularmente la de los países andinos; relaciones cuidadosas con tres vecinos negociando los litigios fronterizos; y la búsqueda de una instancia jurídica para afrontar la hostilidad del gobierno estadounidense. Pese a que la mayor parte de esta nueva política internacional quedó sólo en sus inicios pues fue interrumpida por el golpe de Estado, cuatro décadas más tarde ha cobrado actualidad, transformándose en una referencia para varios gobiernos de la región.

French Le gouvernement de Salvador Allende a essayé de remplacer l'alignement traditionnel de la politique étrangère du Chili avec l'un des blocs de la guerre froide et de ses «frontières idéologiques», par une nouvelle politique internationale du «pluralisme idéologique». Autrement dit, établir des relations diplomatiques et commerciales avec tous les pays, indépendamment de leurs régimes politiques propres. Une telle politique impliquait la défense des principes et objectifs de ce qu'on appelait alors «Tiers Monde», qui comprend des propositions visant à réformer l'ordre financier international; la promotion de l'intégration latino-américaine, en particulier celle des pays andins ; l'entretien des relations chaleureuses avec ses trois voisins concernant la négociation des différends frontaliers; et l'instauration d'une instance juridique destinée à faire face à l'hostilité du gouvernement des Etats-Unis. Bien que l'essentiel de cette nouvelle politique étrangère fût esseulée à ses débuts puis interrompue par un coup d'Etat, quatre décennies plus tard elle est devenue d'actualité, tout en s'imposant comme une référence pour de nombreux gouvernements de la région.

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Oscar A. Gómez

This article analyzes the peripheral role of Latin America in global discussions about human security. The main hypothesis is that proposals for opening security theories and practices to a “human vision” failed to merge with the evolution of security concepts and institutions in the region over the last twenty years. Hence, there is no constructive communication interface between citizen and human security activities that inform security practices in the medium and long term. This article describes two approaches: (a) the slow development of human security concepts that may be somehow useful to the region due to (b) the positioning of citizen security as an alternative security paradigm in Latin America. Following a conceptual and institutional review of these approaches, the article concludes with some proposals to establish a dynamic and effective bridge between these two visions.

Spanish El presente artículo analiza el papel periférico de Latinoamérica en las discusiones mundiales sobre el concepto/enfoque de seguridad humana. La hipótesis de trabajo es que las propuestas para abrir la teoría y práctica de seguridad en la región a la visión humana no han logrado acoplarse a la evolución en las concepciones e instituciones de seguridad durante los últimos veinte años; por tanto, no existe una interface constructiva de comunicación entre lo ciudadano y lo humano que informe el quehacer en seguridad en el mediano y largo plazo. El estudio describe dos hilos conductores: (a) el lento desarrollo de versiones elaboradas del concepto de seguridad humana que resulten útiles a las sociedades de la región, en parte producto de (b) el posicionamiento de la seguridad ciudadana como el paradigma alternativo de seguridad en América Latina. Después de hacer una revisión de estos hilos en lo conceptual e institucional, el artículo cierra con algunas propuestas para establecer un puente más dinámico y efectivo entre las dos visiones.

French Cet article analyse le rôle périphérique de l'Amérique latine dans le débat mondial sur le concept / approche de la sécurité humaine. L'hypothèse de travail est que les propositions visant à ouvrir la théorie et la pratique de la sécurité dans la région à la vision humaine ont échoué à engager l'évolution des concepts et des institutions de sécurité au cours des ces vingt dernières années; par conséquent, il n'existe pas d'interface de communication constructive entre le citoyen et l'activité humaine à informer sur les initiatives de sécurité dans le moyen et long terme. L'étude décrit deux fils conducteurs: (1) la lenteur du développement des versions du concept de sécurité humaine élaborées qui sont utiles aux entreprises dans la région, en partie le produit de (2) la conception de la sécurité « citoyenne » comme un paradigme alternatif de la sécurité en Amérique latine. Après un examen de ces discussions sur le conceptuel et l'institutionnel, l'article se termine par quelques propositions destinées à établir un pont plus dynamique et efficient entre les deux points de vue.

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Alejandro Rascovan

The invention of railways in the nineteenth century changed the world, displacing older technologies and modifying how humans perceived space and time. Further, the implementation of the railroad coincided with the institutionalization of nation-states in Europe and the Americas. The creation of a nation consisted of three major tasks—formalizing national borders, creating institutions, and capitalizing on the international division of labor. Railways played a major role in each of these endeavors. They played a key role in aiding politicians and entrepreneurs in efforts to achieve specific economic growth and political consolidation. They also structured each country’s territory via infrastructural connection. Argentina and its neighbor countries each experienced these elements of railroad construction.

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Valery B. Ferim

Spearheaded by pan-Africanists around the beginning of the twentieth century, the pan-African movement hosted a series of Pan-African congresses. Though the main objectives of the First Pan-African Congresses were to fight against the colonisation of Africa and the oppression of black people, the messages behind pan-Africanism have evolved over time. The central theme behind these Congresses, however, is to reiterate calls that African unity is the most potent force in combating the malignant forces of neocolonialism and entrenching Africa’s place in the global hierarchy. These calls have clamoured for the solidarity of Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora through associated paradigms such as ‘Afrocentrism’, ‘postcolonialism’, ‘African indigenous knowledge systems’ and ‘African solutions to African problems’. Despite this, contemporary societies are characterised by the encroachment of Westernisation, which has become synonymous to globalisation. This article reassesses the relevance of the pan- African discourse within the context of the contemporary world.

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Beverly Crawford

Germany's growing weight on the world stage is indisputable, and its foreign policy is exceptional among powerful states. This article argues that while the original vision of cooperative security and multilateralism guiding German policy was shaped by occupation, division, and weakness, it has shown astonishing resilience, even as Germany has regained sovereignty, unity, and power. For a weak and divided Federal Republic, a vision that eschewed the exercise of power ensured survival; for a strong united Germany, a vision that minimizes the role of power is revolutionary and controversial. I argue that this revolutionary policy is now the most effective one to meet the challenges of a transformed world marked by new and unconventional threats and risks—a world in which traditional measures of power have lost much of their usefulness in securing the national interest. Ironically, however, while the policy vision that downplays the role of power persists, Germany's material power has grown. Germany's renewed power position makes it an influential actor in an international system where perceptions of power still matter. And the old policy vision makes German foreign policy the most appropriate for solving new global problems whose solution defies power politics. This paradoxical combination of power and vision in Germany's postunification foreign policy has introduced a new and effective form of "normative power" in global politics.

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A. Burcu Bayram

How do foreign policy beliefs affect German parliamentarians’ (MPs) support for European integration? Despite important advances, the literature has overlooked the effect of foreign policy beliefs on national representatives’ attitudes toward integration. This study provides a systematic investigation of the role foreign policy beliefs play in shaping German MPs’ support for European integration. I argue that given the complex and contentious character of European integration politics MPs derive heuristic cues from their foreign policy beliefs to form opinions on the desirability of integration. Using data from an original survey conducted with members of the seventeenth German Bundestag, I show that a belief in multilateralism increases support for European integration while isolationist and hawkish foreign policy orientations decrease support. These results indicate that support for European integration is not merely determined by party ideology, electoral pressure or economic considerations, but also has a psychological foundation shaped by politicians’ core beliefs about how the world of international politics operates.