The World Order and the (Changing) View on Violence as a Legal/Legitimate Means in International Relations
This essay is about “political orders”, historical ones, the current one but also future alternative ones. Above all it is an attempt trying to understand the current turbulent “world order” (in a historical perspective), different agents — such as states and international organisations — understanding of it as well as their will and ability to frame it (for the future). The direct cause underlying the work is the fact that we currently find ourselves in a state of flux, characterised by the fact that we are leaving an old world order behind and is entering into a new, or at least different one. This transformation is clearly manifested by the legal — but also political, economical, social, and cultural — uncertainty that prevail after the terror attacks towards the heart of the U.S. on the 11th of September 2001. In the wake of these acts of terror, the American administration explained war against international terrorism and launched military operations together with the UK, towards Afghanistan. As a consequence, the Taliban government was overthrown and the terror network al-Qaeda lost an important retreat and training camp for their “political” struggle. These occurrences, together with the presentation of a reformulated American security policy, the so-called “Bush doctrine”, has initiated an intensive debate about the future development of international relations in general and the international legal order, especially the UN-system, in particular. The debate has been even more intensified by the, by the UN, “unsanctioned” military attack on Iraq launched by the U.S. and “the coalition of the willing” in March 2003. On a more overall level these incidents and the following debate accentuate the formation of a new world order, by which we today at the most can discern the outlines of. This (gradually) emerging world order is of special interest in this essay. The main questions to be dealt with in this essay can be phrased as follows: How can the seemingly new attitude towards the use of violence that we se today, manifested in e.g. the new interpretation of the right to self-defence, be explained or understood? Furthermore, what does this new attitude mean for the shape of the future world order, and ultimately, how can this future be made different? An alternative formulation of the problem at stake is: How shall the balance between security and freedom on the international level be dealt with (in the future)? To summarise and be more straightforward: what does the new attitude towards the use of violence as an acceptable means in international relations implies for the future world order? The meta-theoretical point of departure for the essay is to be found in Neo-classical Social Constructivism to be more precise. This point of departure can, simply put, be described as a perspective assuming that “the manner in which the material world shapes and is shaped by human action and interaction depends on dynamic normative and epistemic interpretations of the material world”; on an operative theoretical level this essay is heavily influenced by the so-called English (Historical) School of International Relations. The methods used in the essay can be described as legal historical sociological. The answers to the questions dealt with in the essay circulates around how international relations shall be understood with and carried out in a world order of globalised state. This tension is very well grasped by Rober Kagan, who argues that, “[a]mericans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus: They agree on little and understand one another less and less. And this state of affairs is not transitory — the product of one American election or one catastrophic event. The reasons for the transatlantic divide are deep, long in development, and likely to endure”.
Göteborg University. School of Business, Economics and Law
International Law; International Relations; World Order; Violence; Social Constructivism; English School; International Society; 9/11 – 2001; (American) Foreign Policy; The Bush Doctrine; Unilateralism; and