The relationship between human rights and combatting terrorism is increasingly prominent, especially since the ‘war on terror’. Human rights are rights which people are entitled by virtue of being human. It could be argued that an infringement on human rights is acceptable as it is the lesser of two evils compared to terrorism. However, others may argue that an infringement is simply unacceptable and can never be justified. It is also argued to be counterproductive in terms of countering terrorism. There is often much debate regarding human rights and terrorism as it is often seen as a government’s responsibility to protect the right to life of citizens therefore suggesting that both human rights and combatting terrorism should complement one another, in reality however, this is not the case. This essay will explore the ways in which terrorism is combatted, for example through: military, state security and ideological approaches, and the ways in which they do and don’t undermine human rights.
A very good Radio 4 programme on the success and otherwise of modern and historical protest movements. This is very good for key contemporary pressure group examples.
In an age when technology has made organising protest movements easier than ever before, journalist Zoe Williams asks why we aren’t seeing long-term results. She looks back on the global history of activism to discover the pre-conditions needed for concrete change.
Backbenchers are Members of Parliament who do not have ministerial roles, be this in the Government or as part of the Shadow Cabinet. Their importance is highly debatable, with their potential for impact upon the legislative cycle being weighed up against the significant impact party politics, patronage and discipline has on mediating these powers. Ultimately, this essay shall conclude that backbenchers only have any real or significant importance beyond their constituency roles where they band together to produce certain outcomes, such as in backbench rebellions. Read More
Human rights are rights to which people are entitled by virtue of being human, and it is thought to be universal, fundamental and indivisible. There has been increasing efforts within the international community to enforce more mechanisms and laws to ensure that human rights are protected around the world, this includes the International Criminal Court and UN Human Rights Council etc… There are also thousands of NGO’s around the world which now have a crucial role in protecting and promoting human rights, particularly through their use of the media. However, human rights can only be protected to an extent because these organisations and institutions are limited by their lack of authority to enforce action upon a state. Therefore, state sovereignty and national interest are fundamental within global politics, which impedes attempts to protect human rights. Read More
Nikki Haley discusses the United States’ goals for its term as president of the UN Security Council in April. US Ambassador Haley outlines her plans to highlight human rights and to assess current UN peacekeeping missions.
A very good insight into human rights and global governance under the Trump administration.
In the last 50 years of British politics, a series of Prime Ministers have been seen to utilise prime ministerial powers in as increasingly independent and arguably presidential way. However, have the powers of the Prime Minister actually increased, or have a number of recent Prime Ministers simply been more bold in harnessing the powers in place and more smart in managing and tackling the political environment of the United Kingdom? The latter currently seems far more tenable for reasons that will further be discussed. Read More
The overt and unapologetic violation of human rights frameworks has been an integral element of the West’s ‘war on terror’ across the last 16 years. Rooted in the attack on American soil of September 11th 2001, American interventions across the Islamic world have aimed to eradicate the threat that terrorism supposedly poses to the Western world, with little regard for the rights of both civilians and combatants in the implicated states. Meanwhile, questionable domestic policy decisions have been driven by such an assumed threat, manifesting both in security measures and in legislation applied to citizens, often entailing the violation of civil liberties in one realm or another. To many, these are ‘necessary evils’ – former Vice President Dick Cheney proclaiming that in the war on terror, the USA ‘had to work sort of on the dark side’, using ‘any means at its disposal’ – there is, at the least, an acknowledgement of the harm measures could cause. However, a more ignorant view is that these violations of human rights have not occurred whatsoever. This essay will assess both views, examining how human rights have fared in areas of military, security-based, and ideologically-rooted resistance against terrorist activity both in the West and the (Greater) Middle East. Read More
The United Kingdom is quite unique in that it has an uncodified constitution that is not entrenched. It is criticised for being outdated, undemocratic and lacking clarity. However, it has provided stability for many years and has a number of benefits such as its flexibility. Read More
The ‘main’ political parties can be defined as The Labour Party and The Conservative Party, who have been the only political parties to gain a majority for over a hundred years. Despite other smaller parties such as UKIP, the Green Party and The Liberal Democrats building in popularity they are none of them big enough to act as a real challenger to these two. Despite Labour and Conservative being very different by definition; Labour being left wing and Conservatives right wing, in more recent years, in the terms of Tony Blair and David Cameron they have been often more similar than different both settling on centrist views trying to please the whole population. However, since the appointment of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn this has drastically changed and with Corbyn especially being so notoriously left wing the two are arguably more different now than ever. Despite this there are still surprising similarities remaining between the two. Read More
Traditionally, political parties have been characterised by very different ideologies. The policies of the three main parties were underpinned by a coherent set of ideas and beliefs, which were particular to that party. Although the three main parties still have distinct ideological traditions, they have evolved since their conception and as a result of Thatcherism and ‘New Labour’ – the once distinct policy boundaries have become blurred. All three parties now subscribe to the Thatcher concept of a free market. In recent years the parties can be said to have moderated their traditional positions as part of an effort to appeal to as wide a range of voters as possible. All three parties are now essentially social democratic in nature and are more concerned with making piecemeal changes to current arrangements as opposed to imposing an ideological model. As a result, it can be seen that there are considerable similarities in policy and the differences are usually one of approach in achieving the goal – for example, in the 2010 election, in the economic policy, all three parties agreed that there would need to be significant spending cuts to reduce the deficit: Conservatives argued for immediate major cuts in spending but the Labour and Liberal Democrats proposed no major cuts in the first year. Read More
I set my A2 politics classes an essay on whether American power is in decline, to do in untimed conditions at home. Here is a selection of excellent essays with a brief comment from me as to why they were particularly good.
Please note – these essays were set before we looked at IR theory and so I did not expect any references to realism or liberalism, however in their final drafts and in the exam this would be necessary. Please also note, I don’t expect them to write as much in the 45 minutes set for essay writing in the exam. Read More
“Leadership or domination of one element of a system over others” – Used by Gramsci to describe the leadership of the bourgeoisie over lower classes suggesting it is based on more of an ideological intent rather than one of force. Read More
A superpower is a term given to a country that has unmatched influence in global affairs, and is significant in international relations. No other state can challenge its authority, due to its superiority in military and economic capabilities, meaning it can manipulate the international environment to its best interests. A country like America, whose superpower status has not been disputed since the end of the second world war, has the ability to project power on a global scale. Read More
Approaches to development rely on a particular world view. Understanding development in terms of wealth can lead to different practices and different results as understanding development in terms of freedom. The UN has taken the ‘alternative’ view on development, focusing on human development, rather than focusing on national wealth. However, even within this one organisation, changes in their ‘world view’ can be seen, affecting their development programmes. Read More
- Referendums in the UK are not be legally binding, but they might as well be
David Cameron strongly supported the Remain camp during the EU debate, but even with a result as close as 52% leave to 48% remain, he accepted the decision made by the British electorate. To not do so would have almost certainly resulted in intra-party and wider calls for him to be removed as the Prime-Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, especially with many of his own MPs, such as Boris Johnson, having campaigned against him. This also comes as on 22nd February 2016, Cameron addressed Parliament and said ‘For a Prime Minister to ignore the express will of the British people to leave the EU would be not just wrong, but undemocratic’. Read More
91% of our school voted to stay in the EU in our internal referendum. As one might expect, a school fiercely proud of both its ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as its political engagement, is distraught. Almost none of us could vote, and 75% of the young people who could vote, voted to Remain. For the people we know and whose views we share, it’s hard to understand that this result really happened, and often in the name of our ‘future’. Read More
Neocolonialism involves a country using political, economic or other resources in other countries to gain influence or control. It has commonly been understood as a relationship between the Western core and its Southern and Eastern counterparts. However, with the identity of the ‘core’ transforming as new emerging countries increase their share of global wealth, this pattern of neocolonialism might also be changing. Read More
The decision to stay or to leave the EU is seen to be the dividing issue between political parties, friends and families. The key aspects of debate are the issues of economy, migration, sovereignty and worker’s rights. Read More
This is an interesting audio article by US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, outlining the case for American economic leadership.
The mood of much of the world is grim these days. Turmoil in the Middle East, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees; random terrorist attacks across the globe; geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe and Asia; the end of the commodity supercycle; slowing growth in China; and economic stagnation in many countries—all have combined to feed a deep pessimism about the present and, worse, the future.
Historians looking back on this age from the vantage point of later generations, however, are likely to be puzzled by the widespread contemporary feelings of gloom and doom. By most objective measures of human well-being, the past three decades have been the best in history. More and more people in more and more places are enjoying better lives than ever before. Nor is this an accident— because despite Samuel Huntington’s foreboding, what has occurred over recent generations is not a clash of civilizations but a fusion of civilizations.
This is a very good audio article on Russian foreign policy and the world order.
In the immediate post-9/11 era, the United States was riding high. But in more recent years, the order designed by Washington and its allies in the 1990s has come under severe strain. The many U.S. failures in the Middle East, the 2008 global nancial crisis and the subsequent recession, mount- ing economic and political crises in the EU, and the growing power of China made Russia even more reluctant to t itself into the Western-led international system.
In September 2015, veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the British Labour Party. After 33 years as a back bench member of parliament, the 66-year-old became one of the most important politicians in Britain. Read More
Climate change through global warming has become one of the most prominent issues in global politics. While there has been growing agreement that climate change is happening and that it is anthropogenic or human-induced, there continues to be a major debate about how pressing or serious the problem of global warming is. However, although there have been a variety of global conferences and meetings and the environment has been placed highly on the agenda of politicians hoping to come to office, very little has been addressed and few pledges have materialised never mind achieved. Even the Paris Climate Change commitments seem to be recently unraveling. This is mostly due to the ‘great powers’ complacent attitude towards climate change and the perception that it is of lesser importance than domestic national interests and growth.
It is universally accepted that following the Cold War, the USA experienced a ‘unipolar moment’, establishing itself as a super power with global influence. Many referred to this as a global hegemony. The US had the strongest economy and unparalleled influence in global organisations. Francis Fukuyama even described this period as the ‘end of history’. However in recent years a number of factors, including the rise of China, military defeats and the loss of moral standing has led many to argue that the US will not maintain its position at the top. Read More
All my class Keynote presentations for the Global unit 3 topic World Order Read More
All my class Keynote presentations for the Global unit 3 topic Approaches to Global Politics Read More
The following videos explain the connection between corruption and poverty and how the West facilitates much of this corruption
Parliament is seen as the sovereign body because it has absolute and unlimited legal authority, reflected in its ability to make, amend and repeal any laws it wishes. However, there are doubts about the accuracy and continuing relevance of parliamentary sovereignty to reasons such as the joining to the EU, devolution and the implantation of the Human Rights Act. Read More
The constitution is a set of rules by which a country is run, it establishes the distribution of power within a political system, relationships between political institutions, the limits of government jurisdiction and the rights of citizens. However, these functions have been criticised and it could now be said that the UK constitution specifically is no longer fit for its purpose. Read More
The concept of human right including principles such as freedom of expression and the freedom of religion became a popular concept, adopted by many nations following the end of the Second World War in 1945. Today, the principles of Human Rights are promoted by many non-governmental organisations who survey abuses of Human Rights globally; many states also act on the international stage in a way to promote the ideas of Human Rights, an approach often criticised by Realist thinkers. However to say Human Rights are globally accepted is wrong as many non-westerners see Human Rights simply as a form of western imperialism and argue organisations such as the International Criminal Court are flawed. Therefore Human Rights is accepted as a fundamental doctrine primarily in western nations. Read More
In attempting to assess the policies, namely the neoliberal policies of the last thirty years on the poor, three different ways of measuring poverty have been put forward, all with their own merits and disadvantages
The first way of measuring it is the absolute income approach. The World Bank currently measures poverty in terms of people living on less than $1.90 a day. This approach has shown poverty to decrease from 50% of the world’s population in 1980 to 10% today. Peter Edwards criticizes the $1.90 figure for being too low, himself proposing $7.60. That to shows poverty to have gone down from 73% in 1980 to 60% today (as a % of world population). These absolute income approaches all show poverty to have gone in % of people down since 1980, and so are deemed inadequate by critical theorists who insist poverty is more than just how much someone is making.
The next way of measuring poverty is the relative approach. Those advocating this approach insist that poverty is relative- Adam Smith himself saying that while a linen shirt is not a necessity, not having one in a society in which everyone else does is a sign of poverty. In the UK poverty is measured as living on a figure 60% of median income, and applying this to worldwide countries would show poverty has increased in the last 30 years alongside inequality. However some would argue this itself is a flawed measure, since using such figures would show poor but equal countries such as Romania to have lower poverty levels than the UK, which is rich but unequal.
Some development economists, such as Seyn insist that looking at income, absolute measurements or relative ones are too focused on income and not enough on human wellbeing. Such economists tend to use the HDI, which measures living standards, things such as housing and food. The HDI shows a mixed record for the last 30 years, with hunger and poverty going up in some areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa but down in others such as China and India.
Since its intellectual ascendancy in the 1990’s, the concept of humanitarian intervention, that is, military intervention to protect human rights, has been criticized for a number of different reasons by a number of different theorists of international relations.
The realist school of thinking holds that states should only act in their own self-interest, and that excessive and prolonged interventions overseas for “humanitarian” purposes only causes to weaken you as a state. Running as a realist in his 2000 election campaign, George W Bush alleged that President Bill Clinton was engaging in “social work” in areas such as the Balkans between 1995-1999 and Haiti, as well as the failed US troop deployment in Somalia and Rwanda, all of which were billed as humanitarian interventions. This caused imperial overstretch and a vulnerability at home to a possible attack. Additionally the various deployments cost billions of dollars, which should have been spent on decaying US infrastructure. Clinton’s troop deployment, Bush alleged, was not in the US national interest and so should not have been done. Such realist criticisms of humanitarian intervention have also been aired by 2016 presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Another criticism of the concept of humanitarian intervention is that, in its military form, it is not cost effective. The intervention in Kosovo, is estimated to have saved 100,000 lives (a very generous estimate) the cost of the various Allied bombings was £30 billion according to a study by the BBC, both in terms of operational cost to the US and cost of rebuilding infrastructure in the region. This meant the US valued each human life saved at roughly $300,000. Vaccines, development aid and education would all have been much cheaper ways of preventing conflict, but were never considered despite being much cheaper than the military alternative. Humanitarian aid would allow the West to ensure economic rights are fulfilled, such as right to healthcare or schooling, but would also be effective at preventing conflict situations. Critical theorists allege that if those conducting humanitarian intervention really cared about the lives and wellbeing of the downtrodden in the 3rd world, they would up their aid budgets to the UN requirement of 0.7% of GDP, something the US fails to do, spending just 0.2%.
Another criticism of the concept of humanitarian intervention is that very rarely do those advocating humanitarian intervention very rarely follow up their intervention with a meaningful follow-up plan, and this often leads to unintended consequences. Though the 1999 bombing of Kosovo by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair is considered a success, Kosovo between 1999 and its declaration of independence was ignored and 17 years later the Council of Europe has labelled it a “mafia state” in the control of Albanian organized crime and Islamists. Additionally roughly 100,000 Serbians have been removed from Kosovo since the 1999 bombing, and ethnic cleansing to which there has been no humanitarian intervention. Because Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did not follow up their intervention in Kosovo with a meaningful way to build the nation, it remains a failed state. A similar fate befell Libya after the 2011 NATO intervention, with dozens of Islamist gangs trying to take control and the region now being a hotspot for terrorism and hordes of refugees. Because those advocating humanitarian intervention rarely consider the after-effects, the concept can be criticized even on the utilitarian grounds with which it is usually justified.
Donald Trump Foreign Policy Speech– 27th April 2016 New York Times
The True Cost of Humanitarian intervention Foreign Affairs Winter 2011 issue
Remember Kosovo- By Justin Raimondo.
In recent years, it has been noticed that various Prime ministers have attempted to reduce the amount of formal powers they have, largely due to public and political pressure. Whilst formal powers derived from the Prime Minister’s prerogative have decreased, there has been a growth in prime ministers exercising their use of informal powers that give the PM undefined authority. This was particularly the case in the Blair years when he was accused of manipulating government through the use of informal powers to suit his own interests. However, these powers are subject to the limitations that appear in government at any one time, with each prime minister facing different challenges, such as growing back bench activism, in Cameron’s case, or decreasing popularity in the case of Brown. Read More
The Ukraine crisis marked the return of geopolitics in Europe. Can the EU, which has been originally designed to prevent geopolitics inside its borders, act as decisive foreign policy actor outside of them? How to cope in particular with the severe and manifold crisis in its neighbourhoods?
All the past papers for unit 4d Global Politics in one PDF can be downloaded here
All the past papers for unit 3d Global Politics in one PDF can be downloaded here
Download a PDF of all Edexcel 40 mark questions (2009-2015) here