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‘War is never civilised’

Civilisation, civil society and the Kosovo war

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen

War is never civilised', British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared on 10 June 1999, 'but war can be necessary to uphold civilisation.' In the context of the debate on the futures of European order, Blair's construction of the Kosovo war may be seen as an illustration of Samuel Huntington's scenario of some forthcoming 'clash of civilisations'. Adam Ferguson coined the term 'civil society' in An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Ferguson suggested that civil society was the vehicle of civilisation, being the result of what Norbert Elias was to term the 'civilising process'. Like other constitutive texts of the post-Cold War world, Huntington suggests that the end of the Cold War has been a moment of becoming. The West will have to realise, Huntington argues, that 'its Europe' is fundamentally different from 'Orthodox Europe', the Europe of Russia and, indeed, of Serbia.

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‘vvv.nato.int.’

Virtuousness, virtuality and virtuosity in NATO’s representation of the Kosovo campaign

Andreas Behnke

Jean Baudrillard's diagnosis of the Gulf War applies to the expression of organised violence in contemporary politics. This chapter describes that Kosovo campaign lends evidence to the suspicion that war as such no longer 'takes place', but that it has transmogrified into a different game with a different logic. As Paul Patton argues in his Introduction to Baudrillard's The Gulf War, virtual war, the war over truth rather than territory, is an integral part of modern warfare. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has conducted an epistemic war to secure its privileged moral status, fighting against the systemic anarchy of the international system, the inherent ambivalence and undecidability that necessitates and demands the political designation of identity. The chapter analyses NATO's virtuoso campaign to virtualise Operation Allied Force in order to represent itself as the virtuous actor in the messy reality of war.

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South East European settlements?

Democratisation, nationalism and security in former Yugoslavia

Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has taken a prominent security role in international attempts to make work the political settlements in Bosnia, Kosovo and, to a lesser extent, Macedonia. Just as NATO's ‘humanitarian intervention’ over Kosovo highlighted the normative tension between the doctrine of non-intervention in sovereign states versus efforts to promote respect for human rights that transcend state boundaries, the subsequent efforts at peace-building have revealed other normative conundrums. For NATO and other international institutions, this has made South East Europe a normative labyrinth where democracy, ‘stateness’, identity and security are difficult to bring together. This chapter examines the international attempts at peace-building in the former Yugoslavia by focusing on the challenges to efforts to bring lasting stability posed by democratisation, ethnic nationalism and the promotion of security. It also discusses the Dayton agreement and its impact on human rights and multiculturalism in Bosnia, the Stability Pact, and nationalism's relationship to democratic norms.

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Simulating European security

Kosovo and the Balkanisation–integration nexus

Peter van Ham

In Europe's security discourse, 'Kosovo' tends to allegorise the Balkanisation of Europe, the ultimate metaphor of chaos and disintegration which supposedly is the antithesis of the real Europe of peace and stability. The challenge for the EU has been to prevent a slow drift from a postmodern politics of family resemblance to a narcissistic policy of passive self-absorption and epistemic closure. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) air campaign has legitimised not only new European order (NEO) realism: it has made another step in legitimising the structure of meaning that circulates in the very debate on 'European security'. The discourse of 'European security' produces a parallel paradigm of European sovereignty, a paradigm that faces serious challenges of local resistance (of the still-resilient state), as well as external opposition.

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Preface

Kosovo and the outlines of Europe’s new order

Sergei Medvedev and Peter van Ham

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores how experiences in Kosovo have changed the discourse of European security. It provides new and stimulating perspectives on how 'Kosovo' has shaped European post-post-Cold War reality. The book aims to contribute to the insecurity of the field of security studies by sidelining the theoretical worldview that underlies mainstream strategic thinking on the Kosovo events. It investigates how 'Kosovo' has developed into this principal paradigmatic sign in the complex text of European security. The book also investigates how its very marginality has emphasised the unravelling fringes and limits of the sovereign presence of what 'Europe' thinks it stands for, and how it affects the discourse on European security.

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Of models and monsters

Language games in the Kosovo war

Mika Aaltola

This chapter examines an interpretative freedom, the 'magical' and 'fluid' construction of the Kosovo phenomenon, in both Western and Serbian discourses. It considers how power can be derived from the art of repetition that is how 'security' can be created and maintained by sticking to a single message and spreading it as widely as possible. The chapter argues that this is a quandary inherent to the nature of repetition. The phantasmata were made physical in many ways during the Kosovo war. Language games referring to 'love for one's fatherland', 'honour of the war-dead', 'cruel massacres of innocent civilians' and 'genocide' were at once mysteriously intangible and forcefully concrete. These linkages materialised in the power of weapons on both sides; weapons which, just by themselves and detached from the phantasmal, would have been powerless.

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Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) use of military power against the government of Slobodan Milosevic of the former Yugoslavia over Kosovo has been among the most controversial aspects of the Alliance's involvement in South East Europe since the end of the Cold War. The air operations between March and June 1999 have been variously described as war, ‘humanitarian war’, ‘virtual war’, intervention and ‘humanitarian intervention’. Key features of the debates over NATO's employment of military power have been concerned with its legality and legitimacy (that is, the role of the United Nations and international law), its ethical basis, and its impact on the doctrine of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states. The conceptual debates that have raged over these issues are important not only within the context of European security but more generally for their impact on the international system as a whole. This chapter examines these issues by exploring why NATO undertook military action over Kosovo, the kind of armed conflict that it engaged in, and whether such a resort to force can be justified.

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Edited by: Peter van Ham and Sergei Medvedev

In the story of post-Cold War conceptual confusion, the war in and over Kosovo stands out as a particularly interesting episode. This book provides new and stimulating perspectives on how Kosovo has shaped the new Europe. It breaks down traditional assumptions in the field of security studies by sidelining the theoretical worldview that underlies mainstream strategic thinking on recent events in Kosovo. The book offers a conceptual overview of the Kosovo debate, placing these events in the context of globalisation, European integration and the discourse of modernity and its aftermath. It then examines Kosovo's impact on the idea of war. One of the great paradoxes of the war in Kosovo was that it was not just one campaign but two: there was the ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo and the allied bombing campaign against targets in Kosovo and all over Serbia. Serbia's killing of Kosovo has set the parameters of the Balkanisation-integration nexus, offering 'Europe' (and the West in general) a unique opportunity to suggest itself as the strong centre that keeps the margins from running away. Next, it investigates 'Kosovo' as a product of the decay of modern institutions and discourses like sovereignty, statehood, the warring state or the United Nations system. 'Kosovo' has introduced new overtones into the European Weltanschauung and the ways in which 'Europe' asserts itself as an independent power discourse in a globalising world: increasingly diffident, looking for firm foundations in the conceptual void of the turn of the century.

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Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith

In the eyes of some observers, the Kosovo crisis posed the greatest threat to relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) since the end of the Cold War. This chapter first charts the course of Russian policy towards, and involvement in dealing with, the Kosovo crisis. It then examines the longer term impact of the crisis on relations between Russia and NATO. Russia and the leading NATO members were extensively engaged in discussing what to do about the developing crisis in Kosovo in 1997 and 1998. Two main forums were utilised for the conduct of these conversations, which produced a greater degree of agreement than is sometimes supposed. They were the Contact Group and the United Nations Security Council. When Russia and the NATO members began to disagree, it was over the possible use of coercion in order to impose a settlement on President Slobodan Milosevic of the former Yugoslavia. The launch of Operation Allied Force on March 24, 1999 followed the final breakdown of negotiations.

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Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith

The conflict in Kosovo represents a significant watershed in post-Cold War international security. Interpreting its political and operational significance should reveal important clues for understanding international security in the new millennium. This text analyses the international response to the crisis in Kosovo and its broader implications, by examining its diplomatic, military and humanitarian features. Despite the widely held perception that the conflict in Kosovo has implications for international security, unravelling them can be challenging, as it remains an event replete with paradoxes. There are many such paradoxes. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) entered into the conflict ostensibly to head off a humanitarian catastrophe, only to accelerate the catastrophe by engaging in a bombing campaign; the political aims of all the major players contradicted the military means chosen by them in the conflict. The Russian role in the diplomatic efforts demonstrated that NATO did not want Russia to be involved but in the end needed its involvement. Russia opposed the bombing campaign but ultimately did not have enough power or influence to rise above a role as NATO's messenger; the doctrinal hurdles to achieving ‘immaculate coercion’ by use of air power alone seemed to tumble in the face of apparent success; it is ultimately unclear how or why NATO succeeded.