Transition to Linear


Image result for site currently under reconstruction

Hi all. As  you will know the old Pearson/Edexcel specification has now been replaced by the new Politics (2017) specification. Much of the material here will continue to be relevant. However there has been a substantial amount of content added by the exam board including voting behaviour, the history of the franchise, media influences on elections and so on. 

My dilemma revolves around the following fact: for the coming year many students will still be following the old spec either as A1 (one year students) or as A2 students perhaps retaking one or both of the legacy AS units.  To restructure the site now would be to deprive these students of the resources available to them here in the format under which they will be examined.

I am therefore considering a number of options. In my view the easiest and least time consuming way to proceed would be to simply add a new drop down menu called new spec and proceed to populate that with content specifically geared to the new spec, whilst retaining the current structure to allow those in transition to continue using the site normally.

So, in sum, there will be a lot of changes here, but only over the next 12-18 months. If anyone has any thoughts on this please let me know. 


Kind regards, Dennis.


Unit 4D Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics

  • The environment as a political issue: Rise of environmental politics
    • Rachel Carson Silent Spring(1962); Animal Experimentation; Deforestation; Fossil fuel depletion; Greenhouse Gases; Carbon Dumping & Ozone Depletion; Acid Rain; Pesticides; Food Additives; Species Depletion and extinction
    • environmental degradation as a by-product of industrialisation;
    • Resource problems  – energy depletion; population growth, shrinking rainforests etc);
    • Sink problems pollution of air and water; carbon dioxide emissions; acid rain,
    • growth of  environmental activism from 1960s onwards  ‘green’ movement;
    • Environmental NGOs – Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, etc);
    • 1970s-1980s concerns about resource depletion; since 1990s concerns about climate change/global warming.
    • Climate change is a global phenomenon.The issue cannot be tackled by nations working alone – requires a unique degree of cooperation to promote agreement on emission reduction targets, phasing out of CFCs

Approaches to the environment

  • Reformist/modernist ecology
    • balance between modernization (economic growth; industrialization, etc) and ecology (‘modernist ecology’)
    • sustainable development – future generations entitled to at least the same living standards as present generation;
    • ‘weak’ sustainability (technology and human capital compensates for natural capital);
    • reliance of markets (‘green capitalism’, etc) and human ingenuity (science, technology and innovation).
  • Radical ecology
    • environmental degradation stems from deeper, structural problems;
    • problem of ‘industrialism’ (large-scale production, the accumulation of capital, relentless growth; modernization is the problem);
    • capitalism underpins industrialism – ‘green capitalism’ a contradiction in terms
    • need to reject  consumerist and materialist values (source of ‘growthism’ and block to serious environmental politics;
    • ‘strong’ sustainability (‘ecological footprint’).
    • Tragedy of the commons


  • Garret Hardin, 1968


    • threat to ‘global commons
    • tension between private good and collective good,
    • between national interest and global well-being;
    • global commons despoiled (water, forests, energy resources, the atmosphere, animals
    • ‘free rider’ problem(how to persuade private bodies/states to address public/global problems?
  • Causes of climate change
    • debate about the existence and cause of global warming, but much reduced since about 2004-05 (growing scientific consensus);
    • ‘greenhouse effect’ (existence in the atmosphere of GHGs (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) that absorb and emit infrared radiation from the ground, trapping-in heat from the sun);
    • increased levels of GHGs, and particularly carbon dioxide, are human-induced or anthropogenic (caused by burning fossil fuels, as basis for industrial processes – energy, transport, construction.
  • Progress of international cooperation on climate change
    • 1988 establishment of IPCC;
    • 1992 Rio ‘Earth Summit’ endorse idea of ‘sustainable development’ and signing of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
    • 1997 Kyoto Protocol; advantages of the Kyoto Protocol (legally binding targets for develop countries; developed ‘cap and trade’ approach;
    • Criticisms of Kyoto Protocol (unambitious targets; developing states not included (China and India);
    • USA remained outside; loopholes in emissions trading process, etc);
    • 2007 Bali conference; successor to Kyoto negotiated at Copenhagen conference in November-December 2009;
    • Obstacles to effective international cooperation  – ‘
      • free rider’ problem;
      • economic ‘costs’ are politically and electorally unattractive,
      • insufficient pressure from below
      • global recession
      • Self interest  – Economic growth-Tensions between the collective good and the national interest
      • Disagreement about whether climate change is natural or man made – energy corporations, mining corps etc minimize the extent to which climate change is manmade and irreversible
      • Question of climate debt –  the idea an obligation of the developed world to the developing world to compensate for environmental damage caused by the industrialised nations.
      • Debates of mitigation vs. adaptation
      • The tragedy of the commons – Hardin – how to tackle climate change (Public V Private)
      • Massive dependency on natural resources –
      • Tensions between developed and developing states  – Ideological conflict
      • Kyoto, – legally binding targets which turned out not to be legally binding
      • Copenhagen, largely a failure no binding targets were agreed upon to further the Kyoto objectives
      • Durban (2011, South Africa, (dubbed Copenhagen 2.0) – also regarded as a failure.
      • Differences between deep ecology (Radical ecology) and shallow ecology(Reformist ecology)
    • ‘Solutions’ to climate change


  • reformist solutions


        • modest GHG emission targets, allowing for economic growth;
        • ‘green’ technology to create a carbon-neutral economy;
        • market solutions (‘green’ consumerism; ‘green’ taxes; emissions trading, etc);
        • adaptation rather than mitigation


  • radical solutions
  • substantial cuts in GHG emissions;
  • restructuring of economy (greatly increased government intervention)
  • tackling consumerism and materialism steady-state economy
  • Adaptation Vs Mitigation
  • Adaptation
  • It is better to respond to the most pressing needs first. Longer term environmental change can be adapted to over time.
  • Efforts to stem global warming will not succeed. We need to tailor local strategies to dealing with the effects of this fact.
  • We can use an expansion of nuclear technology and more fuel efficient modes of transport.
  • We should plan to remove populations from coastal areas prone to flooding and improve seawalls and surge barriers.
  • The costs and benefits of mitigation are uncertain and longer term. We cannot foresee what environmental challenges will arise and therefore may be wasting efforts.
  • Adaptation has the potential to reduce adverse impacts of climate change and to enhance beneficial impacts, but will incur costs and will not prevent all damages.
  • Mitigation
  • The ability of human systems to adapt to and cope with climate change depends on such factors as wealth, technology, education, infrastructure, access to resources, management capabilities, acceptance of the existence of climate change and the consequent need for action, and sociopolitical will
  • Mitigating global warming will be easier than fighting it later
  • Adaptation in the form of humanitarian crises is unacceptable. It will condemn huge numbers to the worst effects of climate change
  • Unmitigated climate change will be too devastating to allow for the formulation of effective adaptation policies
  • The Stern Review (Nicholas Stern Economist 2009) argues that mitigation much less costly than the impacts of climate change.


PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT 2015 in effect October 2016:

  • keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C
  • To limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100
  • To review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  • For rich countries to help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.


  • Dr Ilan Kelman of UCL, London, says the lack of time scales are “worrying”. “The starting point of $100bn per year is helpful, but remains under 8% of worldwide declared military spending each year.
  • Only elements of the Paris pact will be legally binding.
  • The national pledges by countries to cut emissions are voluntary, and arguments over when to revisit the pledges – with the aim of taking tougher action – have been a stumbling block in the talks.
  • The pact promises to make an assessment of progress in 2018, with further reviews every five years.
  • As analysts point out, Paris is only the beginning of a shift towards a low-carbon world, and there is much more to do.
  • “Paris is just the starting gun for the race towards a low-carbon future,” says WWF-UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum.
  • Prof John Shepherd of the National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, says the agreement includes some welcome aspirations but few people realise how difficult it will be to achieve the goals.
  • “Since the only mechanism remains voluntary national caps on emissions, without even any guidance on how stringent those caps would need to be, it is hard to be optimistic that these goals are likely to be achieved.”

Realist Liberal and Critical Perspectives on the Environment


  • Realist
  • has paid little attention to the environment as an issue and is more concerned with survival than sustainability.
  • Because selfishness, greed and aggression are natural to humans and states it is assumed states and other forms of human organisation will plunder resources for short term gain.
  • Realists would also accept that most wars are resource wars.


  • Liberal
    • Nature is resource to be exploited and commodified.
    • It is assigned a value and thus exploited in a market efficient way.
    • Modern Liberals however have been concerned to develop a more positive approach emphasising the rights of future generations (Singer, 1993)
  • Critical
    • Two main theories have emerged. Feminism and ecology.
    • For most ecofeminists there is a link between patriarchy and environmental exploitation.
    • Deep ecologists on the other hand stress that humans have no specific rights over the environment.

Past Paper Questions (15 marks)

Why do states find it difficult to cooperate over environmental issues?

What is the tragedy of the commons and explain its implications for global environmental policy?

Explain why there has been a growing interest in strategies to adapt rather than reduce climate change.

Distinguish between the competing views of reformists and radicals over tackling global environmental issues.

In what sense is the environment a global issue and why is this significant?

Explain the implications of the idea of sustainable development

Distinguish between mitigation and adaptation as strategies for dealing with climate change.

Essay Questions (45 Marks)

‘Global warming sharply divides political opinion.’ Discuss.

‘The international community has failed to take concerted action over climate change.’ Discuss.

  • In the best cases, responses showed an awareness of a variety of attempts to tackle the issue of climate change, usually including the Rio ‘Earth Summit’ of 1992, the Kyoto Conference of 1997 and the Copenhagen Conference of 2009
  • In some cases, candidates demonstrated very thorough knowledge of the outcomes of Copenhagen in particular, as well as the ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the resulting agreement.
  • Generally, the international community’s failure to take concerted action over climate change was stressed at the expense of the progress it has made
  • Kyoto at least established legally binding targets for a range of developed countries and Copenhagen at least demonstrated that the USA and China are willing to participate in the process of developing a response to the challenge of climate change.
  • On the other hand, strong responses often went beyond cataloguing the failures of the international community and, in addition, analysed the problems and difficulties confronting the international community on the issue of climate change.
  • These included the ‘tragedy of the commons’ and the ‘free rider’ problem, confl icts between developed and developing countries, and great power politics, notably rivalry between the USA and China or the USA and ‘the rest’.
  • Weak responses to this question tended to be characterised by insufficient knowledge and understanding, or knowledge and understanding that was not used as a basis for analysis and evaluation.
  • Blatantly one-sided answers also failed to meet requirements as far as synopticity is concerned.

To what extent was the 2009 Copenhagen conference on climate change a success?

Stronger candidates were able to provide a depth of knowledge of Copenhagen but also develop a wider argument about this process of tackling climate change.

Candidates highlighted successes such as that the Copenhagen Accord, through which the USA, China and other major developing countries committed themselves to cutting greenhouse gas emissions marked a significant advance over Kyoto, which imposed no obligations on developing countries to curb the growth of their emissions.

Similarly, the USA’s support for the Copenhagen Accord was an advance in the sense that the USA remained outside the Kyoto Protocol.

Many argued that Copenhagen was a ‘meaningful agreement’ in that it was a step on the road to more concerted action on the issue of climate change.

It should be judged in terms of preparing the ground for subsequent action, not in terms of its own specific achievements.

This was an area that stronger candidates developed.

Candidates balanced perceived success by countering with claims that the conference did not result in a legally binding agreement or any clear commitment to reach one in future.

The Copenhagen Accord does not set even non-legal targets for states to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and there is no global target for emissions reduction by 2015.

In addition, candidates made the point that the Accord is vague as to how the $100 billion fund for supporting developing countries in reducing emissions will be achieved.

Copenhagen gives mixed signs for success in tackling climate change and both reformists and radicals would argue that the Copenhagen conference strengthens their own view.

‘Effective international action over the environment will always be blocked by disagreement between developed and developing countries.’ Discuss.

To what extent is climate change an example of the ‘tragedy of the commons’?

‘International conferences on climate change are doomed to disappoint.’ Discuss.

To what extent has progress on environmental policies been blocked by conflict between developed and developing states?

Unit 4D- Global Poverty and Development

Introduction Development and poverty have risen sharply up the global issues agenda since the 1960s. There are two proximate causes for this – (1) the failure of decolonization to trigger economic and social development in the former colonies (and exploration of the different and competing reasons for this) and (2) The contradictory rise of poverty with dramatic increases global economic activity & volumes of world trade.

Development – a controversial term referring to the process by which societies change over time. It is a highly contested term that often excludes the effects of slavery and colonialism on both the ‘developed’ world and the ‘developing’ world. Development is sometimes taken to mean that the developing world must model the developed world in order to develop. Finally some measures of development are purely economic whilst other measures focus on the quality of human life.

Nature of poverty  – absolute monetary definition $1.90 a day World bank measure from 2015. World Bank- $1.25 a day at PPP (Set 2004) whilst $2.50 a day puts 49% of population, 3.14 bn in poverty. According to UN MDGs report January 2016 835m now in absolute poverty compared to 1.9bn in 2008. Economic Growth – the growth of national income usually measured by gross national income and other measures such as gross national product. Gross National Income (GNI)  – is the total value of goods and services produced in any particular year.

The Bottom Billion (2009)  – Collier’s term for the world’s poorest billion, sometimes also called Africa +

Versus capacity/opportunity-based definitions human development in the UN Development Reports; MDGs (2000-2015) and SDGs. (2015-2030). Monetary definition of poverty VS capacity/opportunity based i.e. access to clean water, healthcare, education, human rights, sustainable development.



  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,
  • Achieve universal primary education,
  • Promote gender equality and empower women,
  • Reduce child mortality,
  • Improve maternal health,
  • Combat HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
  • Theories of development  


      • ‘Orthodox’ theory of development as modernization economic liberalism
      • virtues of free market and free trade;
      • linear process of development from ‘traditional’ to ‘advanced’ societies Rostow 1960 Modernisation: A Non Communist Manifesto
      • Modernization theory- states modernize from traditional, pre industrial, agrarian societies to modern, industrial, mass consumption ones. (Rostow, 1960)
      • Internal obstacles to growth. Primarily the developing world should follow the developed world’s path towards modernity. The barriers to 3rd World development were internal.
      • backward culture that discourages enterprise; autocratic rule etc
      • ‘alternative’ theories of development ‘human’ development model;
      • development as freedom; ‘bottom-up’ development; views from global South.


  • Neo-Marxist theories  – World Systems Theory Immanuel Wallerstein 1974 – ‘core’ states of global capitalism systematically exploit and oppressed ‘peripheral’ ones world systems theory; external obstacles to development neo-colonialism – Core, Peripheral and Semiperipheral
  • Dependency Theory – a Marxist influenced alternative theory of development. This focuses on the external barriers to development such as colonialism and expropriation of resources. Underdevelopment – a term used by dependency theorists to describe the process of exploitation practiced by the North against the South. (Andre Gunder Frank) Colonialism – a system of direct political control of  another country with colonial administrators and governors ruling the country in question.
  • Neo-colonialism –  an indirect form of exploitation of former colonies by their colonial masters through aid, trade and diplomacy. Largely economic exploitation rather than political but Marxists would argue that political forms of oppression arise from the particulars of the economic base. Cultural and economic, coca-colonisation Wagleitner (2007); Glencore (Zambia) Copper. G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition
  • Neo-liberal economic theory – promoted by Milton Friedman of the Chicago school from the 1960s onwards. Became the dominant mode of economic policy making from the 1970s onwards. Favours deregulation, privatization and liberalization, low taxes and attacks on welfare.
  • These policies have been heavily promoted in the development  by IGOs such as the IMF, The World Bank in the form of SAPs. SAPs – structural adjustment programmes these are neo liberal economic policies that are attached to any facilities for aid, loans and debt relief made to developing countries or CITs (Countries in Transition)
  • Tanzania and the water industry, Haiti and Telecoms privatisation
  • Joseph Stiglitz pointed out that SAPs often lead to greater poverty – the pressure to reduce gov. spending led to cuts in welfare, education, healthcare (privatisation of water supply in Tanzania) Ha Joon Chang – kicking the ladder away Bad Samaritans one size fits all, too much micro management.
  • SAPs are based on a flawed model of development, very low empirical evidence on whether they actually work  – Based on the myth of free market development
  • Even the IMF and the World Bank admit that SAPs cause short term economic and social disruption
  • International Monetary Fund – Key IGO established at Bretton Woods in 1944 the ensure global financial stability. It takes contributions from member states which it can then loan out if a country’s economy suffers shock or instability.
  • The World Bank – Full name the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Often accused of acting in the interests of the west, for example by granting loans at unaffordable interest rates and requiring policies that damage development.
  • The Washington Consensus – formed in 1989 to coordinate global development around the priorities of the three main institutions of Global Economic Governance, the IMF, The WTO and the World Bank.
  • Transnational Corporations (TNCs) – large corporations which source, manufacture, employ and distribute goods and services on a global scale. There has been a staggering rise in the number of TNCs since the 1960s. 1960 -7000, 2007 – 38,000. 2013 – 63,000
  • Trends in global poverty and inequality
  • North-South divide – from Three-Worlds model to North-South divide; Brandt reports North South A Programme for Survival (1980) Common Crisis: North South Cooperation for World Recovery (1983)
  • fragmentation of the global South; emerging economies;
  • sub-Saharan Africa as the 4th World
  • decline in between-country inequality and increase in within-country inequality;
  • impact of global economic crisis on the global South.
  • Implications of globalization for poverty and equality
    • arguments that globalization reduces poverty and narrows inequality (provides inwards investment; TNC bring benefits (jobs, higher wages, new technology, training and skills development; career opportunities
    • economic restructuring and prospect of export-led growth
    • arguments against globalization (TNCs interested in cheap labour and have no long-term commitments; domestic demand ignored in chase for cash crops and export markets. Cash Crops – developing world agriculture for the benefit of consumption in the West and North. Tea, coffee, sugar and even narcotics.





  • Promoting development Aid and development – campaigns to increase international aid (work of NGOs and anti-poverty movement; Millennium Development Goals; G8 Gleneagles agreement; Aid – refers to economic, military, technical and financial assistance given (or loaned) to developing countries. Bilateral Aid – aid between two parties – the donor and the recipient. Multilateral Aid – pooled or shared funds acting as aid banks ( World Bank, IMF etc)
  • arguments in favour of international aid
  • humanitarian relief;
  • infrastructural project build economic capacity;
  • counters dependency


        • More level playing field (developed countries commit to 0.7% of their GDP for IAD)
        • Some further argue that there is a moral duty to provide international aid to heavily deprived countries.
        • The prosperity of the North has been built in substantial part on mistreatment of the South, Slavery, Colonialism, Neo Colonialism, Debt
        • Builds domestic capacity  –  increasingly targeted in long-term projects and it is orientated around capacity building for the future MDGs
        • The effectiveness of aid is evident in the fact that countries such as China, India, Brazil and Thailand – major recipients of aid in the past are now developing strategic aid programs themselves. Rise of the BRICS.
        • Emergency relief from aid – the idea that a growing proportion of aid is now so-called humanitarian aid provided for purposes of emergency relief.
        • The need for emergency relief has grown as humanitarian crisis have become more common (because of movement towards asymmetrical Wars, (Syria) Natural Disasters (Pakistan Floods, July 2010, Haiti Hurricane Mitch 1998)  Famine (Ethiopia and Eritrea 1984/85)
        • International community broadly agrees that it has a moral obligation to act in circumstances such as these.


  • arguments against international aid
  • creates dependency;


        • Avoids tackling root causes
        • Perpetuates poverty
        • Aid does not work


  • corruption and oppressive government prevents aid getting to the poor;
  • donor self-interest
  • Debt crisis and debt relief – nature of debt crisis of 1980s


      • The Debt Crisis – refers to the specific debt crisis of the 1980s and now any situation in which punitive interest forces a country to default on its loan repayments. Debt repayments are a form of bondage which allows Western banks and countries and agencies such as the IMF to implement structural adjustment policies which many argue impede (and in fact reverse) development.
      • Debt boomerang – George argues that the many negative effects of debt are such that it would be in the long term interests of those banks and countries to whom money is owed to write off that debt.
      • HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative –  refers to a system whereby heavily indebted poor countries can write off debt if they conform to certain conditions.
      • Conditionality – the setting out of certain conditions on which aid or assistance is granted. These ‘conditions’ usually reflect the priorities of the neo-liberal Washington Consensus of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO and involve privatisation and deregulation, access to markets by foreign corporations and cuts in government spending and subsidies.


  • significance of debt relief  – progress made in cancelling debt; arguments for and against debt relief


      • The debt crisis developed in the 1970s and 1980s, as poorer countries (starting with Mexico in 1982) announced that they could no longer service their debts, meaning that many Northern Banks were faced with the possibility of collapse.
      • More seriously, Southern countries due to the size of their debts and their poor economic performance, channelled more and more money into their escalating debt repayments at the expense of building schools and hospitals, investing in the economic infrastructure and helping to alleviate poverty.


  • Advantages
  • A lot of the debt is not voluntary, rather they are forced to take the debt –
  • global or regional economic volatility, the collapse in the global price of an export commodity
  • interest on the debt it in fact has been paid back multiple times.
  • Money on debt can be better spent on infrastructure, education, health.
  • Northern hemisphere banks have made enormous profit on this.
  • The debt that the developing world has gives the IMF and the World Bank influence over developing countries that are in debt to them
  • The boost given to African countries to cancel the debt (Gleneagles 2005),
  • World systems theory  – Wallerstein
  • SAPs
  • Canceling debt would help countries reach the MDGs
  • Disadvantages
  • it sends a bad message – you can borrow without paying back.
  • The loans have to be funded
  • A cycle of debt is created by cancelling the debt (more demand would be created)
  • Cancelling the debt – allows corrupt governments to misuse the loan. Marcos in the Philippines.


      • The debt crisis has not only been explained in terms of economic backwardness, but also of changed borrowing strategies amongst western banks.
      • Attempts to resolve the debt crisis include the provision of loans by the IMF and the World Bank, often linked to the implementation of structural adjustment programmes, designed to promote growth and enable debtor countries to pay off their debts, and the writing off of debt through so-called ‘debt relief’.
      • For example, in 1989 the USA launched the ‘Brady Bonds’, which underwrote a proportion of Latin America’s debt overhang from the 1970s and 1980s.
      • Under the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) initiative, negotiated in 1996, the World Bank and the IMF agreed to extend the opportunity for debt relief to 40 of the world’s poorest countries; by 2006, 29 countries were enjoying debt relief.
      • G8 2005 Gleneagles; The Year of Africa: Make poverty history – debt cancellation significantly accelerated the pace of debt relief, through the agreement to provide 100 % cancellation of debt owed to the IMF and the World Bank; by 2006, this covered 21 countries, with plans to include up to 43 countries


  • Environmental Implications of Development
  • Sustainability – maintaining a constant balanced ratio between resource depletion and resource renewal so that the resource can be utilized in perpetuity.
  • Sustainable Development – development that sustains resources to allow for sustainable use by future generations. Brundtland Report (1987) Our Common Future – highlighted the importance of sustainable development in the developing world.
  • Global Warming – refers to the rise in global temperatures now acknowledged to be caused by human activity. This is likely to lead to rising sea levels and increased desertification.
  • Deforestation –  refers to the deliberate clearance of forests for development, agriculture or industry (logging). Has a unique and catastrophic effect on biodiversity.
  • Desertification – the spread of the deserts to erode vegetation and topsoil.
  • Biodiversity – refers to the number and variety of species on the planet and the human contribution to loss of biodiversity
  • Non renewables – natural resources which are finite and cannot be replaced such as coal and oil.
  • Renewable resources – hydro-electric, wind and solar power
  • Exhaustible Resources –resources that are renewable but also capable of being exhausted. Fish stocks and forests are good examples of these.
  • Shared resources – resources that are not privately owned and sometimes referred to as public goods.
  • Realism, Liberal and Critical Perspectives on Development
  • Realist Theory largely draws on Mercantilism, the idea that economics requires a degree of political management to maximise opportunities for the state.
  • This is bound to lead to protectionism which serves as both advantage and disadvantage to developing countries.
  • Neo realists however would stress the tendency towards the domination of the economically weak by the economically powerful.
  • Economic Liberalism. Human beings are primarily motivated by the desire for material consumption.
  • Liberals provide the basis of ‘orthodox’ development. The market is therefore, a self-regulating mechanism (to promote economic prosperity).
  • ‘Development failures’ (e.g. corruption, culture rivalries, authoritarian institutions)
  • Can be solved through ‘Market Reform’ (e.g. privatization, financial deregulation, tax cuts,..)
  • Critical – Dominated by neo-Marxist.
  • Post-1945 period, imperialism gave way to economic/ ‘dollar’ imperialism.
  • States developed through economic dependency (Rise of TNCs, IMF and World Bank), leading to exploitation of ‘core’ to ‘peripheral’ areas. (e.g. low wages).
  • Green politics challenge the idea of ‘development as sustainability’. They believe it takes a healthy environment for meaningful development.
  • For feminists, development through changes of social structures, institutions and cultural practices in developing world . (‘development as growth’)


Past Exam Questions (15 marks)

Explain the orthodox (economic liberal) approach to development

What is the North-South divide, and why is it sometimes said to be an outdated idea?

What was the debt crisis of the 1980s, and how much progress has been made in resolving it?

What is neocolonialism and how has it been used to explain global inequality?

How and why have strictly economic conceptions of development been criticised?

Explain the advantages and disadvantages of canceling debt for the developed world

What is the ‘Washington Consensus’ and why it has it been controversial

Explain the main justification for international aid

Explain the Key Differences Between Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism.

What is the North South Divide and is it still relevant?

Essay Questions (45 Marks)

To what extent is international aid effective? Examiner’s Comments:  


  • Stronger candidates explained that aid can be beneficial in socio-economic development and that the problem is that insufficient aid is given.
  • The international target of 0.7 per cent of GNP aid donation has been met by very few states and that aid may only ‘paper over the cracks’.
  • The counter argument tended to focus on a view that quantity of aid was less significant than quality and directing aid more effectively would help.
  • There is a view that aid is counterproductive as it can discourage initiative and self-reliance and that it can entrench corruption and oppression.


‘The IMF and the World Bank have failed the world’s poor.’ Discuss.

  • Strong responses to this question evaluated the impact of the IMF and the World Bank on global poverty in terms of the use of structural adjustment programmes, based on the ideas of the Washington consensus.
  • In the best cases, these accounts were also up-to-date in the sense that they also recognised how SAPs have more recently been modified in the light of criticism.
  • An important discriminator, however, was the extent to which responses evaluated the respective arguments on the basis of empirical evidence.
  • In such a question, candidates certainly do not need comprehensive or detailed knowledge of data, but is helpful for them to be aware of general trends in global poverty and to be able to illustrate these.


‘Globalisation has increased, not reduced, global poverty.’ Discuss.

  • Definitions tended to be strong – Globalisation in its economic form refers to the construction of an interlocking global economy and the declining capacity of states to function as independent economic entities.
  • The impact of globalisation on poverty and global inequality has been controversial and many candidates seemed to enjoy making this clear.
  • Sadly, a few students produced very one sided criticisms of globalisation rather than considering ways in which globalisation may have reduced poverty.
  • Ways in which globalisation has been seen to increase poverty included the structural inequalities and injustices, notably ones in which ‘core’ developed states exploit dependent ‘peripheral’ states that are essentially used to produce primary goods.
  • It was argued that globalisation therefore widens the gap between the North and the South, with sub Saharan Africa being particularly disadvantaged.
  • The majority of students suggested that globalisation amounts to a form of neo-colonialism.
  • Candidates also identified the argument that globalisation has promoted widening within-country inequality, both in developed societies and in developing ones.
  • The counter arguments focussed on ways in which poverty has been reduced. These included that globalisation stimulates all economies, including those of developing countries because it brings increased entrepreneurialism, inward investment, improved technology and access to foreign markets.
  • Developments in the global South suggest that many societies have benefited from an engagement with globalisation, notably examples include the Asian ‘tiger’ economies and the dramatic economic emergence of China and India.
  • In such cases, increased growth and prosperity has been closely associated with taking advantage of export opportunities and inward investments that have been provided by globalisation.
  • On the other hand, countries like North Korea, that have remained outside the global economy have suffered from widespread poverty and low growth.


‘The poverty of the South is a consequence of the policies and actions of the North.’ Discuss.Examiner’s Comments:

  • Often candidates who began with the Brandt Report and were able to outline the general points arising from this were usually able to launch themselves confidently into a competent essay.
  • The stronger responses demonstrated a better ability to counter the contention in the question; however, there was a strong tendency amongst most to give little weight to such a counter.
  • The best responses tended not just to demonstrate a knowledge of the main institutions (e.g. the WTO, IMF and World Bank) but were also able to discuss the complexities of e.g. structural dominance and neoliberal hegemony.
  • Central argument stressed that there is a view that poverty in the South is based on global North dominance of military, political and structural power.
  • There is plenty of evidence that the major powers have structural dominance in bodies such as the IMF, WTO and W.Bank and that the economic philosophy of the world is based on western free market liberal philosophy which may benefit global North rather than the South.
  • Multinational companies are often seen as a tool of global North dominance along with manipulation of international law and institutions.
  • Candidates’ counterargument focused on the idea that poverty in the South is caused by other factors such as environmental issues, conflict, overpopulation, corruption, debt etc. and that global South should shoulder some, if not all, of the responsibility for its own weakness.
  • A few candidates also made the case that, possibly, far from being hampered by the free market philosophy of the major western powers, global South has suffered from a reluctance to accept the ideas of the Washington Consensus and that growth will take place as this is rectified.
  • Examples of rapidly developing economies were often used here.


Participation in an open and globalised economy conquers poverty and brings prosperity to all. Discuss

Unit 4D International law, human rights and humanitarian intervention


  • Bentham 1780 – International Law is the customs and laws observed between nations
  • World law   – Corbett (1956) – System of genuine global government-Vague, Utopian and Idealistic
  • However a system of global law has been developing under the ICJ (International Court of Justice)
  • Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.
  • ICJ – pacta sunt servanda – Pact should serve – treaty obligations should be observed
  • rebus sic stantibus – repudiation under force majeure, state parties are entitled to do this.
  • Treaties, custom, reason, authority – 4 means by which the ICJ seeks compliance; Growing body of international law; more state parties than ever before; increasing caseload; growing compliance – Evans and Newham – 1998 – vast majority of ICJ rulings are accepted by the losing party
  • Article 93.1 of the Statute of the Court – ipso facto all UN members are party the court
  • Article 94 the UNSC is empowered to enforce – however to date it never has.

Realist, Liberal and Critical Perspectives on International Law

  • Realist – Sceptical about the prospects for anything more than a loose collection of principles – a states should approach rather than a states must approach.
    • Nothing more than a collection of moral principles and ideas.
    • Most realists accept that international law plays a key role in the international system.
    • International law largely reflects state interests. (Claude, 1962)
    • Realists believes that the legitimate purpose of international law is to uphold the principle of state sovereignty.
  • Liberal – Positive.
    • The solution for anarchy is the establishment of a supreme legal authority
    • Liberals believe international law plays an important and constructive role in world affairs.
    • Agreements among state through law strengthens the level of trust and mutual confidence.
    • This deepens complex interdependence and promotes cooperation.
    • Critical
      • Emerged from social constructivism, critical legal studies, and post-colonialism.
      • Political practice is shaped by political norms that are embodied in International law to structure the identities of state and their interests.
      • International law developed out of Christian and Eurocentric view of legal and political order, and therefore may not be universally accepted.
    • Nature of human rights
      • Historically, in international politics the interests of individuals, or their rights, has been seen as of less importance than the needs of the nation or the state.
      • Even today, more than seven decades after the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rights of the individual are easily set aside against claims of the national interest or national security.
      • Human rights are repeatedly violated across the globe with seeming impunity.
      • 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN General Assembly);
      • fundamental, universal, indivisible and absolute rights;
      • rooted in liberal individualism – foundational equality
      • types or ‘generations’ of human rights civil and civil rights; economic, social and cultural rights; solidarity rights
      • VASAK 1977 – 1st Generation, (Civil and Political) 2nd Generation (Economic and Social) and 3rd Generation Rights (Solidarity Rights Feminist, Black Civil Rights, ecological rights, children’s rights)
      • tensions between and among rights. Are economic rights human rights?; positive and negative rights; can human rights be collective?
      • Geneva Convention – 1949
      • European Convention on Human Rights – 1950
      • Genocide Convention – 1951
      • Status of Refugees Convention – 1954
      • Racial Discrimination Convention – 1969
      • Sex Discrimination Convention – 1981
      • Torture Convention – 1975/1984
      • Convention on the Rights of Children – 1990
      • Ottawa Convention Banning Landmines – 1997
    • International/global implications of human rights
      • demands of humanity on all humanity
      • obligation of government to comply with, and further realization of, human rights;
      • setting standards for governments, e.g. in terms of aid and trade policies and possibly intervention
      • Normative Implications – Responsibility to protect (R2P); Spreading human rights
      • Institutional Implications -United Nations (Peacekeeping missions), ICC, OSCE, EU, Council of Europe, Arab League, African Union; NGOs – War Child, Amnesty  International, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch; ICISS
      • 1950 European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
      • Strengthening of human rights regime during post-Cold War era, etc.
      • UNSC Resolutions on Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 – The USA might conceivably have gained specific legal support from the Security Council for its action in Afghanistan, but in the end did not seek such a Resolution. Security Council Resolutions 1368 and 1373 simply state the broad general requirement to take action to combat international terrorism.


  • Article 51 of the UN Charter  – nothing impedes states from acting in their own self defence


    • Protecting human rights
      • tension between norm of sovereignty and norm of universal domestic standards;
      • role of international law;
      • laws of war
        • ‘war crimes’.
        • ‘crimes against humanity’
        • Genocide
        • Hague and Geneva Conventions


  • International Court of Justice However – The Court has a general mandate, where human rights claims and claims derived from other areas of the law may well compete and have to be reconciled. So the involvement of the ICJ in Human rights is at best intermittent
  • ICJ Cases
  • A complaint by the United States in 1980 that Iran was detaining American diplomats in Tehran in violation of international law
  • A complaint by Pakistan on behalf of the people of Kashmir over oppression against India and charged it with state terrorism directly continuing violations of the international law
  • A complaint by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against the member states of NATO regarding their actions in the Kosovan War this was denied on 15 December 2004 due to lack of jurisdiction, because the FRY was not a party to the ICJ statute at the time it made the application
  • ICJ Effectiveness
  • The ICJ has no mechanisms of enforcement and is reliant upon member states willing compliance which is not always forthcoming even if under the UN charter member states agree to accept the jurisdiction of the court
  • In 1984 the Court ruled US military Intervention in Nicaragua was unlawful and the USA simply declined the jurisdiction of the court and withdrew
  • Reason for its effectiveness
  • There is almost universal jurisdiction
  • Developing countries have been increasingly willing to refer matters to the court
  • Surprisingly, in the absence of enforcement mechanisms, losing parties often observe the decision of the court. This suggests that they see a longer term benefit of doing so against the shorter term cost of losing. 1946-1998 75 cases. From 1998-2017  – 66 cases


      • Ad Hoc Tribunals for Investigating ICTY ICTR –  Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Other Ad Hoc Tribunals Cambodia, Sierra Leone and East Timor
      • ICC is a complementary court, only tries cases over which it has jurisdiction and jurisdiction is complex. Complementary source of justice – national courts still supreme. Only involved if country unable or unwilling


  • Prosecutes those with greatest responsibility.
  • Can try cases where crimes have been committed on the territory of a party state and where the party state makes a referral – principle of complementary


      • They can order prison sentences up to 50 years and reparations to victims.


  • Cannot investigate any crime committed before 1st July  2002


    • Cannot try a case where a crime has been committed by a non party state, except if that state commits the crime on the territory of a party state
    • Can try a case committed anywhere by a national of a party state
    • Territory of state party or by a national citizen anywhere
    • Non party states can become party if it accepts the jurisdiction of ICC.
    • Can try a case of a crime committed anywhere if requested to do so by the UN Security Council


  • ICC Cases


      • Katanga Case – Found guilty in March 2014 as an accessory to one count of a crime against humanity (murder), and four counts of war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging), sentenced 12 years imprisonment.


  • Charles Taylor- tried and convicted in April 2012 on 11 charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law during the course of Sierra Leone’s Civil War
  • Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (2016) – the former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo was found guilty of acts of rape, murder, pillaging and crimes against humanity committed during the 2002 – 2003 war in the Central African Republic. 18 years imprisonment.
  • Situations


    • 11 current situations under investigation- 10 from Africa
    • Uganda (2004) – Alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity
    • Libya (2011) – Alleged crimes against humanity
    • Georgia (2008) – Alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the context of an international armed conflict (2008)
    • Mali – alleged war crimes since 2012


  • ICTY


    • Milosevic faced three count of crimes against humanity and one charge of violating the laws or customs of war. The most serious indictment against him related to genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Milosevic was accused of being behind the killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, including the infamous massacre of civilians at Srebrenica in 1995. He died during his defence in 2006.
    • Karadic – sentenced in 2016 to 40 years imprisonment. He was found guilty of count of : Genocide, persecution , extermination, murder, deportation (crimes against humanity) for his role in the killing of Bosnian muslims.  
    • Mladic – nicknamed “the butcher of Bosnia”, military commander who ordered the murder of 8,000 Bosnian men and boys in Srebrenica. Trial began on 3rd of June 2011.


  • ICTR  – Sits in Tanzania


    • Jean Paul Akayesu sentenced to life in 2001 for crimes under Article 6(1) (individual criminal responsibility)  for role in  Rwandan Genocide – Genocide punishable by Article 2 (3) (a).
    • Paul Bisengimana sentenced to 15 years in 2006 for facilitating and aiding the murder and extermination of Tutsi civilians.
    • ECHR
  • Human rights and the ‘war on terror’
    • Tensions between combatting terror and upholding CLs – Vincent, 1986
    • Guantanamo; use of torture; ‘extraordinary rendition’; etc; balance between public safety and human rights;
    • violation of human rights a ‘lesser evil’?
  • Impact of human rights NGOs (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, MSF)
  • Universal rights challenged
    • western criticisms of human rights Realist Critique of humanitarian intervention – states are, and should be, self-interested; humanitarianism a pretext for pursuit of national interests; no basis in international law; prudential concerns – make things worse not better; inconsistent application of humanitarian principles
    • ‘challenging’ interventions – critical: Orford 2003 Interventionism is a tool of westernisation Chomsky – double standard (Guantanamo/ ER/ EIT) – Cultural Imperialism
    • Communitarianism  – human rights a threat to diversity and multiculturalism – imposes a universal standard
    • Feminism – The feminist critique of human rights argues that, in practice, those who hold human rights are men and not women, and that gender equality, and freedom from discrimination for women, is given a low priority in the international arena (Peters, 1995)
    • post-colonial criticisms of human rights; Islam and cultural critique of human rights  – human rights and international law came to be institutionalized in the context of European colonialism
    • Asian values as alternative to human rights;
    • human rights and ‘clash of civilizations’
  • Humanitarian intervention
    • Rise of humanitarian intervention
    • nature of humanitarian intervention;
    • early examples of humanitarian intervention Bangladesh; Cambodia
    • humanitarian intervention and the ‘new world order’ (‘liberal moment’
    • role of the media and public opinion;
    • examples: Northern Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Sierra Leone,
    • impact of ‘non-interventions’ Rwanda and Bosnia on global public opinion; Srebenica massacre (8000 killed, 1995)
    • humanitarian intervention and the ‘war on terror’ Afghanistan and Iraq – but be very careful with Iraq and Afghanistan – these are not classical HI
    • Libya (R2P), Humanitarian Intervention (UNSCR 1973, preventing Gaddafi from bombing his own people)
  • Basis for humanitarian intervention
    • novel version of ‘just war’ theory protect others & ‘save strangers’ rather than self-defence – Just war- Jus ad Bellum, Jus en Bellum, Jus Post Bellum
    • human rights trump state sovereignty (liberal interventionism) – Liberal Intervention – Blair 1999 Chicago Speech
    • circumstances in which intervention is justified (based on framework of human rights; prevention of genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing; role of UN Security Council);
    • regional stability; democracy promotion
    • Humanitarian intervention is military intervention that is carried out in pursuit of humanitarian rather than strategic objectives.
    • To prevent ethnic cleansing (Kosovo)
    • To prevent a regime brutalising it’s own people (Iraq (but only after no WMD are found) Libya and Syria.
    • To prevent warlordism
    • To prevent Genocide (Rwanda)
    • To prevent religious conflict (Mali) French presence
  • Realist
    • Human rights are a ‘soft’ issues in international affairs.
    • ‘hard’ concerns such as pursuit of security and prosperity are paramount
    • Realists suggests that it is impossible to view international politics in moral terms.
    • Morality and national interest are two distinct things.
    • Concerned with collective behaviour, especially maximising capacity of state to ensure order and stability for their citizens.
    • National interest are more prioritize over any conception of morality.
  • Liberal
    • Human rights as a liberal doctrine.
    • Central purpose of government is to protect a set of inalienable rights (life, liberty, and property)
    • Governments become tyrannical then they fail to protect human rights.
    • States should be bound to uphold human rights in dealings with domestic population as well with other states relations.
    • 1948 UN Declaration and other multilateral institutional levers of support (OSCE; ICC; ICJ: ECHR; NGOs)
  • Critical
    • Hostile to the idea but does not reject the liberal view.
    • Human rights become a doctrine of global social justice, grounded in moral cosmopolitanism.
    • Feminists demonstrate growing interests for better account of women’s lives.
    • Human Rights often a fig leaf for intervention in a state’s self interests (Chomsky)


  • Criticisms of Humanitarian Intervention
  • Any violation of state sovereignty weakens the established rules of world order. Against international law, breaches the idea of state sovereignty, weakens the established rules of world order
  • Aggression has almost always been legitimised by humanitarian justification, meaning that it is difficult to distinguish between the self-interest of intervening powers and wider moral concerns
  • Military intervention often leaves matters worse, not better, or draws intervening powers into complex and difficult long-term involvement.
  • Hypocrisy – Why no intervention in Rwanda and Syria? No one got involved in Chechnya or Georgia, Crimea & East Tibet  – goes against the doctrine of humanitarian intervention  – Chinese are too powerful to challenge
  • Chomsky – Instrument of Western Imperialism
  • The double standards argument (Guantanamo, Waterboarding, Extraordinary Rendition)


    • HI is based on distortion – idea of simplistic image of good vs. evil but ignores the moral complexities that attend all international conflicts
    • HI can be seen as a force of cultural imperialism and that it is based on a western notion of human rights that may not be applicable in other parts of the world

Short Answer Questions

What are human rights and why do they have implications for global politics?

Distinguish between different types of international human rights.

Why has Humanitarian Intervention been criticised?

What is humanitarian intervention and why did it increase since the 1990s?

Why has the idea of universal human rights been criticised?

Explain the tensions between human rights and state sovereignty.

Assess the Effectiveness of International Law in Upholding Human Rights.

Why is the Idea of Universal Human Rights Controversial?

Why have human rights become more important in international politics?

Why does humanitarian intervention occur in some cases but not others?

Essay Questions (45 Marks)

Is humanitarian intervention ever justified?

Examiner’s comments:

  • In the most impressive cases, the arguments for and against humanitarian intervention were grounded in rival liberal and realist principles and assumptions.
  • For example, pro-humanitarian intervention arguments were often associated with universalist doctrines, notably a belief in human rights, as well as the idea that states have a duty to protect their own citizens and if this duty is not carried out, it falls on the international community at large.
  • By contrast, realists have argued that it is both inappropriate for states to act in the interests of foreign citizens and unwise for them to get involved in internal conflicts of which they have little understanding and insufficient capacity to resolve.
  • In the best cases, candidates were able to discuss humanitarian intervention in both moral and legal terms, sometimes recognising the conflicts that exist within international law between treaties and conventions that emphasise non-intervention and a growing body of customary international law that is based on human rights and humanitarian standard-setting.

To what extent are human rights effectively protected in the modern world?

  • good use was often made of the implications of state sovereignty,
  • the effectiveness of international courts and
  • the difficulty of forcing major states, such as China, Russia and the USA to comply with human rights standards,
  • particular attention sometimes being given to the ‘war on terror’.
  • However, although weaker responses understood the nature of human rights, they often failed to show an adequate understanding of how, and how effectively, human rights are protected.

To what extent is humanitarian intervention an abandoned project?

To what extent are international courts and tribunals effective in upholding human rights?


Unit 4D Nuclear Weapons


  • Nature of weapons of mass destruction
    • Nuclear weapons classified by the UN in 1948 as WMD
    • mass collateral damage; widely viewed as ‘non-legitimate’ or ‘inhuman’ war crimes?
    • significant deterrence effect – at least according to realists
    • development of nuclear weapons (Hiroshima and Nagasaki);
    • emergence of biological and chemical weapons.
    • Nuclear proliferation Order of Acquisition – USA 1945, USSR 1949, UK 1952, France 1960, China 1964, India 1974, Israel 1979, Pakistan 1998, North Korea 2009. First Nuclear age (1945-1990). Second Nuclear Age (1990 to today)


  • horizontal and vertical proliferation;


    • nuclear proliferation during the Cold War period (vertical proliferation among superpowers; only UN ‘veto powers’ had nuclear weapons;
    • attempts to control nuclear proliferation
    • multilateral treaties (1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bilateral treaties (SALT I and II; INF TREATY, 1987 – Gorbachev & Reagan removal of nuclear weapons from Europe; START I and II, START [strategic arms reduction talks] G.H.W. Bush & Gorbachev (1991); START III Clinton & Yeltsin (1993)
    • SORT Treaty
    • NEW Start Treaty – 2010 Treaty – recently both Russia and US have accused each other of violating the Treaty
    • Treaty details here: you don’t need the fine detail:
    • nuclear proliferation in post-Cold War period
    • horizontal proliferations due to regional conflict India and Pakistan; Israel and Iran; easier access to weapons and technology
    • Debates about nuclear proliferation implications for peace ‘balance of terror’
    • Greater responsibility etc vs ‘tactical’ use,
    • danger of getting into the ‘wrong hands (‘pariah’ states such as Iran and North Korea and terrorist organisations


  • UN Security Council Resolution 1887 (2009)-With this resolution, the UN Security Council sought “a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all.”


    • It called on all countries to adhere to their obligations under the NPT, including co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and for nations to establish measures to reduce nuclear arms.
    • Chomsky Hypocrisy of NPT and its application.


  • Nuclear Weapons and the Balance of Power
  • Realism – Waltz (1979): portrayed the balance of power as the theory of international politics.
  • For Classical realists, the balance of power is a product of political intervention and statesmanship.
  • For Neorealists, the balance of power is treated more as a system/ arrangement that arise automatically, not self-willed.
  • The balance of power is then imposed by events’ (determinism).
  • Happens when states try to prevent the emergence of hegemonic domination by a single state. A balance of power can develop from a bipolar system, but not multipolar. (Neorealists stability theory)
  • Liberalism – Critical of the idea.
  • Balance of power legitimizes international and political rivalry, which can cause instability and distrust.
  • The idea that other states pose a threat to security that can only be contained by build up of power.
  • Mindset could be to cause war than prevent it.
  • Finding  more effective mechanisms to ensure peace and security.
  • The liberal solution is the construction of international organizations such as the UN (capable of managing the balance of power between states)


Past Paper Questions (15 marks)

What are the major reasons behind proliferation of nuclear weapons?

Why has nuclear arms control been so difficult to bring about?

Explain why there has been growing concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Essay Questions (45 Marks)

To what extent does nuclear proliferation threaten peace and security?


  • The association of nuclear proliferation with the growing possibility of nuclear war as well as understanding how and why realists in particular have linked nuclear proliferation to international stability and peace.
  • Impressive understanding of deterrence theory and, in particular, of the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction.
  • Contrasting ideas of nuclear utilisation theory. However, weaker responses sometimes appeared to be framed in the context of the Cold War and failed to take account of more recent developments, not least about nuclear weapons getting into the ‘wrong hands’.
  • An awareness of the difference between the ‘first’ nuclear age (1945-90) and the ‘second’ nuclear age (post 1990), analysing how the dynamics of nuclear proliferation have, arguably, become more complex and threatening in the latter period.
  • Effective use of modern examples, particularly the acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan, the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea and the seemingly imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran.
  • Good responses also took account, where appropriate of the significance of recent initiatives to ensure nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

Nuclear weapons are of symbolic importance only.’ Discuss.

Unit 4D Terrorism



  • Definition of Terrorism: The War of the weak  – Crenshaw 1983


      • Deliberate act of violence against civilian populations
      • Often unpredictable and random


  • ‘Soft’ targets


    • Carried out for political purposes by a state or non state actor (this is to factor in ‘state terrorism’ and ‘state sponsored’ terrorism)
    • State terrorism: Assad using Chemical Weapons / Barrel Bombs against own population; Yemeni government bombing Houthi rebels;
    • State Sponsored Terrorism– the arming and funding of terrorist groups by a third party state; e.g.
      • The Reagan administration funding the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s; or
      • Gadaffi funding and arming the IRA;
      • providing a safe haven for terrorists groups; Taliban and the Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps.
    • Aim is to spread a climate of fear and apprehension. – Terror effect Phillips 2010 – the purpose of terrorist activity is to spread terror.


  • Terrorism is not a recent phenomenon
  • Political struggles for liberation have been branded as terrorist causes (Palestine, South Africa)
  • The ANC struggle against apartheid was designated a terrorist cause
  • The PLO have long campaigned, sometimes violently, for a Palestinian State
  • There have been many territorial based claims for self determination which have resulted in terrorism


    • Spread and significance of international/global terrorism nature of terrorism 9/11 as a turning point?
    • Types of terrorism Ignatieff (2004)
      • Insurrectionary terrorism; Arab Spring; FLN in Algeria (also nationalist anti-colonialist struggle; also Iraq and Afghanistan; ANC in South Africa)


  • Loner or issue terrorism (sometimes called lone wolf attacks – Aum Shinrikyo – Sarin Gas attack on Tokyo subway in 1995; Boston Marathon attacks 2013)
  • Nationalist terrorism – IRA in Northern Ireland and UK Mainland; ETA in Spain
  • Global or ‘new’ terrorism  – Catastrophic Terrorism – Carter 1998; Umbrella/Franchise terror – Wilkinson 2003;


  • Nature of Islamist terrorism
    • Ideological goals to ‘purify’ Muslim world and civilizational conflict with the West, especially the USA
    • Tactics and methods – suicide attacks, coordinated attacks, audacious strategies
    • Umbrella networks and loose organisational structure – franchise terrorism (Wilkinson 2003 again)
    • Significance of international/global terrorism – impossible to protect against, acquisition of WMD,
    • Exaggerated fears, limited public support
  • Countering terrorism
    • Use of military tactics to contain/destroy terrorism (successes, failures and implications of the ‘war on terror’  – war – mixed record of success
    • State security and domestic repression – Legislation – e.g. the Patriot Act, (2001) The Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act, (2001) The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000)
    • Extra judicial methods – eg torture and extraordinary rendition & Drone attacks
    • Extent to which countering terrorism is compatible with protecting human rights  – proper balance between public order and civil liberty/human rights
    • Propaganda – hearts and minds
    • Technological surveillance and intelligence
  • Realist view – suspending human rights as the ‘lesser evil’
    • Emphasis on the state/ non-state dichotomy (point of distinction).
    • Terrorism is viewed as a violent challenge to the established order by a non-state group or movement. Peter Taylor BBC Age of Terror – terrorism threat is real
    • The State’s response to terrorism should  be uncompromising. Combating terrorist may not necessarily lead to civil liberties, AND IT MAYBE NECESSARY TO CURTAIL FREEDOMS TEMPORARILY OR PERMANENTLY. Designate terrorists as Unlawful Enemy Combatants to deny them Geneva Convention Rights; Indefinite detention; Waterboarding; Extraordinary rendition – all necessary measures.
    • Views terrorism as a realm of power-seeking, therefore, competition occurs. Sometimes refers to the problem of ‘dirty hands’ (Walzer, 2007)
    • Main feature is to attempt to subvert civil order and overthrow the political system.


  • Liberalism
  • Like realists, view terrorism being mainly conducted by non-state actors. Unlike realists, liberals tend to emphasize the role of Ideology rather than simply power seeking.
  • Liberal thinking tends to be dominated by the ethical dilemmas that are posed by the task of counter-terrorism.
  • Terrorism is unacceptable because it attacks liberal democracy.
  • Supports  attempts to counter terrorism as long as they are consistent with the same values (such as should not infringe human rights and civil liberties).
  • Importance of moral high ground and ‘soft’ power, etc
  • Political deals to end terror –
  • Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland
  • Afghan government negotiations with the Taliban.


  • Critical – Radical Theorists: (such as Chomsky and Falk).
    • Terrorism amounts to the killing of civilians, engaged by both state and non-state actors.
    • State terrorism is more significant than non-state terrorism. Mainly because states have greater coercive capacity.
    • States use violence against civilians to maintain power or extend influence to other states.

Adam Curtis – terrorism threat is overstated, designed to justify more forms of government control over domestic populations e.g. Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

    • Edward Snowden – scale of surveillance and storage of bulk communications data is global TEMPORA AND PRISM PROGRAMS
    • Chomsky- U.S.A. viewed as the world’s leading terrorist state.


  • Pre 9/11
  • Nationalist based terror organisations, and therefore largely a domestic concern IRA/INLA, (Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the UK Mainland and ETA (Spain)
  • Ideological – RAF – Baader-Meinhoff 1970s Brigate Rosse (Italy) Some Minor International Dimension – PLO Black September (9 Israeli athletes were killed during the Olympics in Munich in 1972)
  • Post 9/11
  • Terrorism became 1st order issue -Transformational Quality – ICONIC – Catastrophic terrorism (Carter, 1998)
  • Launched War on Terror – “Global” Effort – G.W. Bush 2001 –  “The war on terror begins in Afghanistan but it does not end there…”
  • Changed the means by which terror is combatted; Restrictive Domestic legislation (Patriot Act, ATCSA); Use of torture + Extraordinary Rendition
  • Foreign Policy based on doctrine of pre-emption (Iraq), Legitimises regime change (Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya)
  • Extension of extra judicial tactics through technology (Drone attacks Derian, 2001)
  • Enduring nature –  a war that probably cannot be “won”
  • Change in Terrorist tactics (kidnapping, car bombs, IEDs, infiltration)
  • Legitimises mass surveillance – Snowden revelations NSA/GCHQ


Past Paper Questions 15 Marks

In what ways did 9/11 redefine the nature of terrorism?

Explain why the term terrorism is contested and controversial.

Essay Questions (45 Marks)

To what extent is countering terrorism compatible with upholding human rights?

To what extent is global terrorism a major threat to order and security?


  • Terrorism refers to the use of terror for furthering political ends; it seeks to create a climate of fear, apprehension and uncertainty.
  • Global terrorism is terrorism that has a global reach, particularly as demonstrated by the 9/11 attacks on the USA.
  • The significance of global terrorism as a threat to order and security has been the subject of considerable debate.
  • Candidates identified a number of arguments to support the view that global terrorism is a major threat to order and security.
  • It was argued that the 9/11 attacks demonstrated how the world’s most powerful state, can be vulnerable to terror attack when it is, arguably, no longer vulnerable to conventional attacks by rival states.
  • There is the additional fear that terrorist networks may be able to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, and perhaps even nuclear weapons.
  • Candidates argued that global terrorism requires few resources and that increased global flows of people, ideas and information also make global terrorism particularly difficult to contain or prevent.
  • The ‘war on terror’ provides a battle against a transnational ideology that has spread to various parts of the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia.
  • The counter argument was based on the fact that although 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, this is very small by comparison with the scale of death that has occurred as a result of conventional warfare
  • Terrorism, by its nature, consists of a series of sporadic attacks on a variety of targets, and is very different from the concerted, sustained and systematic destruction that is wreaked by mass warfare conducted between states.
  • Terrorism, in itself, cannot overthrow a government, unlike revolution and inter-state war and that terrorism ‘works’ only when there is a military over-reaction to it. A range of arguments and counter arguments was expected from L3 candidates.


‘Terrorism is the major threat to global security.’ Discuss.

  • The significance of global terrorism as a threat to order and security has been the subject of considerable debate. Those who see it in this light advance a number of arguments, including the following:
  • The 9/11 attacks underline the threat of global terrorism because it demonstrates how the world’s most powerful state, in military as well as economic terms, can be vulnerable to external attack when it is no longer vulnerable to conventional attacks by rival states.
  • These threats are all the greater because of the possibility that terrorist networks may be able to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, and perhaps even nuclear weapons.
  • The threat of global terrorism is so great because it requires few resources and can be carried out by small groups or even lone individuals.
  • Increased global flows of peoples, ideas and information also make global terrorism particularly difficult to contain or prevent.
  • The USA’s ‘war on terror’ was an appropriate response to the advent of global terrorism, since it recognised that such terrorism has its roots in a transnational ideology that has spread to various parts of the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia.
  • However, some argue that the threat of global terrorism has been much overstated. This has been for a variety of reasons, including the following:
  • Although 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, this is very small by comparison with the scale of death that has occurred as a result of conventional warfare.
  • Terrorism, by its nature, consists of a series of sporadic attacks on a variety of targets, and is very different from the concerted, sustained and systematic destruction that is wreaked by mass warfare conducted between states.
  • Terrorism, in itself, cannot overthrow a government, unlike revolution and interstate war.
  • Terrorism ‘works’ only when there is a military overreaction to it that ends up being counterproductive in terms of strengthening support for militant or extremist groups.



Unit 4D Clash of civilisations



  • Rise of identity politics
  • declining significance of traditional ideological and class solidarities
  • growth of particularisms (based on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion
  • attack on liberal universalism
  • political emancipation through cultural self-assertion and re-definition of identity
  • Religion as a global issue – rise of religious movements; Examples:


      • Islamic revolution (Iran 1979),
      • Hezbollah and its links with the Palestinian Liberation movement,
      • HAMAS
      • Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt,
      • Taliban – Afghanistan + Pakistan,
      • Al Qaeda, Islamic State
      • Boko Haram – Nigeria,
      • Al – Shabab in Somalia and Kenya
      • Bosnia, Kosovo,
      • Sikh + Hindu ethnic/religious tensions,
      • Sinhalese Nationalism in Sri Lanka,
      • Tibet,
      • New Right in USA,
      • Northern Ireland, Catholic/Protestant,
      • Liberation Theology (Latin America 1960s-1980s)
    • explaining the rise of religion and ‘desecularisation’
    • failure of universalist ideologies – communism, neo-liberalism etc
    • Impact of cultural globalization
      • clash of civilisations thesis Bernard Lewis ‘Roots of Muslim Rage’ (1990)  Samuel P. Huntington (1993) Foreign Affairs Article The Clash of Civilisations? Later published as a book (1996) minus the question mark. Benjamin Barber Jihad Vs McWorld, (1995)
      • Islam vs the West?
        • rise of Islamic fundamentalism;
        • advance of Islamism in Iran and elsewhere;
        • the ‘war on terror’ as a civilisational conflict between Islam and the West?
      • backlash against neo-colonialism, rejection of the hegemonic ambitions of the West, End of Cold War -V – Fukuyama End of History and the Last Man (1992) spread of a) free markets, b) democracy c) human rights
      • Huntington builds on the premise that the “most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural.” This in itself is deeply flawed as there is no precision in the term and no peer reviewed corroboration for the preeminence of culture over ideology, politics or economics.
      • ‘civilisations’ as global actors; Huntington claims that conflicts between rich and poor countries are unlikely because the latter “lack the political unity, economic power, and military capability to challenge the rich countries.” Ironically, this contradicts his own thesis about the most serious challenges to the West emanating from Islam and China. China’s principal threat to Western interests is economic not cultural.
      • basis for conflict between and among civilizations -It has been America’s policy to ostracize countries in the Periphery as rogue states if they do one or more of three things: resist US hegemony, possess or are developing long-range missiles, and they possess or are developing weapons of mass destruction.
      • Nearly all the “rogue states” are quite small; the list includes Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Libya. There is no cultural uniformity in this list of countries thought to pose a risk to US interests.


  • criticisms of clash of civilization thesis
  • Controversial thesis
  • widely criticised as a mono-causal thesis that lacks scholarly rigour, cultural awareness and historical accuracy. (Edward Said: The Myth of the Clash of Civilisations)


      • The “civilizational” wars actually originate in the usual sources: the anarchy of states, and conflicts over people, territory and resources; culture enters into these conflicts only later as the rival parties mobilize support among the larger population. Cultural factors are not therefore the primary cause of conflict.
      • Although Huntington claims that religion is “a central defining characteristic” of civilizations, the correlation between his civilizations and religion is quite weak. The West, Orthodox and Latin American civilizations are all Christian.
      • Huntington’s main thesis claims that conflicts between two states after 1989 are more likely if they belong to two different civilizations. This is not supported by the evidence.
      • A recent study by Jonathan Fox shows that a comparison of all ethnic conflicts during the Cold War, and the period since, shows a modest decline in the ratio of inter-civilization conflicts to intra-civilization conflicts.
      • There is as much intra-civilisational conflict as there is between cultures. McCormick argues: ‘It is clear that a clash within civilisations helps to explain the Arab Spring more than a clash between them’.  
      • Similarly when it comes to US relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia Noam Chomsky observes that there is no clash of civilizations there.
      • The post-Cold War period marked a new intensification in the reach of global capitalism. The bywords of this new regime are: free trade, liberal exchange markets, privatization, national treatment of foreign capital, and globalization of intellectual property rights. This has produced rapid immiseration of large parts of the Periphery, the erosion of indigenous capital in much of the Periphery, and widening disparities between the Core and Periphery.

Past Paper Questions (15 Marks)

How and why has religion become more important in global politics?

Why have some modern wars been classified as new wars?

Why are asymmetrical wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan so difficult to win?

What is the Significance of Religion as a Cause of Conflict in the Modern World?