This article uses snapshots, rather than the ongoing flows of diffusion/contestation typically emphasized by constructivists, to explore the exercise of power through normative change. Its case is a high-profile Human Rights Council initiative: the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP s). These UNGP s have successfully presented meanings as fixed while actually stretching those meanings’ boundaries. They reconceptualize what it means to “respect” and “protect” human rights. This is surprising given that the principles were framed as a conservative exercise at clarification, and under-noticed due to the legal rather than conceptual focus of the existing critical literature. To respect human rights, according to the UNGP s, agents need to take costly positive action. Furthermore, protect obligations come before respect. These are significant innovations. On the other hand, two missed opportunities of the UNGP s are their thin harm-based foundation for respect obligations, and their state centrism about who has duties to protect.
Recent scholarship has highlighted the role of domestic pressures in determining state preferences toward the reform of international organizations (IO s). This article adds a new dimension by examining how partisanship and ministerial control affect state preferences toward IO empowerment. The article derives two expectations from the existing literature. First, partisan position will determine preferences toward IO empowerment. Second, when a government is constituted by multiple parties, the position of the party with the IO’s ministerial portfolio will determine the government’s position toward IO empowerment. The article illustrates this argument by examining the positions of four net donors (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and two net recipients (Brazil and India) during the World Bank’s reforms. By bringing domestic politics back in, this article complements existing studies on the politics of IO reform and weighs in on central debates in comparative politics and international political economy.
Coercive diplomacy was utilized by a coalition of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany (collectively known as the P5+1) to negotiate an end to the Iranian nuclear crisis from 2002–2013. Eventually, this approach culminated in the Geneva interim agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in November 2013 and October 2015, respectively. This article charts the course of the P5+1’s coercive diplomacy efforts against Iran and demonstrates that coercive diplomacy pressured Iran to a point where the cost of continued resistance was too high to continue enduring. It shows that a combination of factors succeeded after 11 years of a coercive diplomacy strategy. These findings will have implications for policymaking and academia, as it is a rare illustration of successful, coalitional coercive diplomacy.
This article examines best practices in local ownership of Track Two diplomacy. Taking as a starting point the idea that best practices change over time as conflicts and social responses to them change, the article seeks out recent innovations and practices in Track Two diplomacy, focusing on practices of local ownership. A series of two reflective practice workshops with facilitators of Track Two processes offer insights on local ownership in current Track Two diplomacy. More in-depth examination of the Georgian-South Ossetian case illustrates an example of increasing local ownership developing over time during a ten year Track Two process. Together, the reflective practice workshops and the case study suggest team approaches to Track Two diplomacy so that insiders and outsiders work together as a team to facilitate, bringing the strengths of both insiders and outsiders to Track Two processes.
The paper explores how experts in Japan assess and understand the process and consequences of the unification of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Based on the theoretical framework of interrelations between social identity and power, this paper asks how Japanese experts frame the process of Korean unification and evaluate its impact on Japan. The data was collected in Tokyo, Japan, through 37 semi-structured and focus group interviews, then examining these interviews using phenomenological and critical discourse analysis. Analysis of data reveals the existence of four competing narratives rooted in the complex relations between meaning of identity, concepts of power, and Japanese policies toward the unification process. The paper expands the description of two narratives currently present in the existing literature, (1) threat and (2) peace, and introduces two new narratives, (3) democratic processes and (4) restorative justice. The final discussion explores how three groups of factors, (1) regional dynamics, (2) domestic policy, and (3) possible models of unification, influence the prevalence of a particular narrative as well as resulting policies of Japan toward Korean unification.
Aspirations for sub-regional, regional and global cooperation at a bi-lateral and multilateral level over water security are strong and yet often a real or perceived gap exists between intentions and the workings of institutions. In the area of water security difficulties are often premised on tensions between national territory and national sovereignty. As a result, emphasis has been placed by decision makers on how to most effectively classify the ‘most at risk’ areas from water security issues. However, this objective itself is often separated from wider issues of economic land ownership. Yet stakeholders paradoxically have both similar and yet different understandings of what counts as territory and sovereignty. A majority of stakeholders continue to pursue a ‘realist’ or liberal approach to the spaces of national sovereignty and territory as water course or water basin. This binary assumption of territory as a specifically bounded political space is given here as a reason for limited concrete results on water security governance. Recalibrating this understanding of sovereignty, territory and security through a sociology of materialism might therefore open alternative spaces for ensuring issue-specific governance in spaces now impacted by the dynamics of infrastructure and sub-regional connectivity. By framing these tensions through the issue of territory and materialism the paper identifies gaps and strategic opportunities emerging that might potentially recalibrate the conceptual and policy debate on water security and its territorial assumptions.
With the passing of Immanuel Wallerstein, it is worthwhile to take note of his contribution to problematizing the unit of analysis. Rather than the states-as-containers interpretation, Wallerstein contributed that spatiotemporal units of analysis could be more meaningfully discussed in terms of their interactions within a larger system. The more well-known of his arenas are the axial division of labor (economic) and the interstate system (political). The third, the structures-of-knowledge methodology, aims to expand the “broadly cultural” arena as well. This paper will consider his project of reasserting agency through structural metanarrative with suggestions for ways to use his analysis to lend greater continuity to area-knowledge at a crucial time of transition.
The Paris Agreement made a breakthrough amid the deadlock in climate negotiations, yet concerns are raised regarding how much impact the new voluntary climate regime can make. This paper investigates the socialization mechanism that the Paris Agreement sets up and explores the prospects of “institutional transformation” for it to make a dent. It examines the factors that can facilitate voluntary climate action by using the cases of the most recalcitrant emitters, the United States and China. It argues that the US and China cases suggest that the socialization from the bottom-up by domestic actors may be one of the critical elements that determine states’ position on climate change.
The articles in this issue present a wide range of findings. First, the field continues to grapple with definitional issues: different types of projects aimed at different outcomes and audiences. More care needs to be given by each dialogue to define rigorously what it is trying to do and why. Second, fundamental lessons have emerged over the past six decades, which must be learned and observed by those active in this field, even as they seek to push the boundaries of theory and practice. Third, while it is generally agreed that the field must become more inclusive, both in terms of people and interests, and also in terms of encouraging local ownership and more transformative projects, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work; each dialogue should be viewed as unique. Finally, the field is a dynamic and evolving one. What seems to be best practice today may not be so tomorrow.
One of the main trends in the international relations and international security, for the past two decades, has been the new eagerness to intervene into failed and autocratic countries if they fail to protect their own citizens. This trend has distinguished East Asia (including both Southeast and Northeast Asia) from the West. Generally, the distinction has been based on three differences in strategic orientations. First, the role of the military is seen differently in East Asia and the West. Secondly, the role of states as instruments of the protection of civilians is seen differently in the West and East Asia. Thirdly, there is a difference between East Asia and the West regarding to the expected role of the UN Security Council in the authorization of protection. This article investigates the consequences of the three different strategies on human security by reviewing existing literature and by combining new data on discourses of protection with conflict data on various indicators of human survival and welfare. While the Western strategic concept of human security is dominant and hegemonic in the global debate, it seems, on the basis of this investigation, that the East Asian strategy of self-restraint, non-militarism and respect for sovereignty is more effective in the protection of civilians.