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Ed Webb

How Different-and Dangerous-Is Terrorism Today? | The New Yorker - 0 views

  • terrorism is now a standard feature of asymmetric warfare, with fewer wars pitting states against each other and more of the combatants being non-state actors with less traditional forms of weaponry
  • professional or experienced terrorists are being supplemented by a proliferating array of amateurs
  • “There may have been, in aggregate, more terrorism in the seventies and eighties, but it was discriminate,” he said. “They kept their terrorism within boundaries related to their cause. Today it’s different. It’s less predictable, less coherent and less cohesive. It leaves the impression of serendipity. ISIS posts pictures of a vehicle and says get in your car and drive into people—and that’s all it takes.”
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  • while the absolute number of attacks is down, the lethality of terrorism has risen sharply in the past two years
  • Today’s third generation is engaged in plots that are simpler yet more widespread than the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda, Watts told me. “They’re not as sophisticated as in the Al Qaeda era, when complex operations were well coördinated and carried out by a few designated men. Now, some are not even trained or formally recruited. They’re self-empowered.” As a result, killing people on a bridge may not have the same impact or symbolic emphasis as an attack on a U.S. Embassy or the World Trade Center. But the reaction can be just as profound.
  • “The West can do things on the margins to be safer,” Berger said, but it still faces another “five or ten years of potentially dangerous situations. There’s not any silver bullet that will reduce the occurrence of these events in the short term. We need to be thinking about resilience—and how we’re going to assimilate events when they happen.”
    Wright is well-informed on foreign affairs, security, and terrorism.
Ed Webb

Hitting the Reset Button on the International Order | Foreign Policy - 0 views

    Good, if gloomy, discussion on prospects for the U.S.-led international order under the Trump administration.
Ed Webb

BBC World Service - Newshour Extra, Trade Wars: the End of Globalisation? - 0 views

    Highly recommended discussion on trade, globalization, protectionism etc.
Ed Webb

Iran An Experiment in Strategic Risk Taking.pdf - 1 views

  • what-ever happens next, the patient efforts of the E3/EU+3 since 2006, along with the harshest non-proliferation sanctions ever imposed, will have demon-strated that illegal nuclear proliferation is costly. Simply put, this is the most detailed non-proliferation agreement ever devised. But it nevertheless includes several problematic aspects, which deserve careful scrutiny
  • By 2025–30, providing its weaponisation expertise is solid, Iran will be technically in a position to make, in a matter of months, a nuclear weapon that can be carried by a medium-range ballistic missile. By year 15 of the deal, produc-ing one bomb’s worth of HEU might take less than two weeks; and after a few more years, it might only be a matter of days.6 And by the end of the deal, if it had not ratified the Additional Protocol, Iran could just stop its ‘voluntary’ implementation
  • Iran has become a nuclear-threshold state, and it will remain one, with our blessing
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  • Countries do not give up when they have invested so much, unless they are forced to do so after a major war (as Iraq was), or when regime change comes (as it did in Brazil and South Africa
  • The eternal hope of Western dip-lomats is that authoritarian regimes are on the wrong side of history and therefore cannot last long. But sometimes they do.
  • Around 2012, under US pressure, the E3/EU+3 abandoned roll-back in favour of contain-ment
  • Reimposing sanctions will be hard when hundreds of Western, Russian and Chinese companies flourish in Iran
  • Could the deal have been better? Its supporters have used two slogans: ‘this is the best possible deal’, and ‘this deal now or war later’. Both are false alternatives, giving the impression that they were created for rhetorical purposes. Washington’s self-imposed deadlines left it negotiating against itself. It may very well have been wiser to wait until Iran felt the pressure of sanctions even more. At times, the United States may have given Tehran the impression that it needed a deal even more than the Iranians did. The second argument is equally spurious: few serious analysts or politicians would support immediate military action against Iran
  • we should make it work. This will require careful and constant monitoring: let us beware of ‘Iran fatigue’. The E3/EU+3 should supplement the massive-retaliation snapback provi-sions with informal understandings among the group’s members on how to respond to minor violations: a graduated response is needed. A key aspect will be the way the IAEA will judge whether or not the PMD question is settled. Here, Tehran should not be let off the hook. Finally, the E3/EU+3, or at least its four Western members, should regularly – perhaps annually – make a solemn commitment that they will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear explosivedevice and are ready to use any means to that effect.
  • Any precedent the Iranian crisis creates will be fully exploited by the next ‘Nth country’
Ed Webb

Iran An Opening for Diplomacy.pdf - 1 views

  • the agreement does, in fact, have the potential to open up the frozen dialogue between the US and Iran and permit a broader discussion of urgent regional issues. This potential unblocking of the relationship could be one of the agreement’s great rewards
  • intrusive verification measures that go far beyond what was pos-sible under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and even the Additional Protocol to its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement, effectively blocking a covert path to the development of a nuclear weapon
  • Unquestionably, the JCPOA is far from perfect. It could hardly be other-wise. Both sides made compromises to come to an agreement and both sides moved further from their initial positions than they would have expected at the outset. Iranian redlines were reportedly crossed. Security issues, notori-ously intractable and sensitive, were at the heart of the negotiation on all sides. For Tehran, there were hard trade-offs between restricting the prized nuclear programme that it regards as a vital interest, and the lifting of the onerous sanctions that are crippling its economy. Security issues were at stake for the other participants too: preventing a nuclear-armed Iran and thus lessening the danger of conflict in the Middle East, reducing the threat to Israel, as well as the risk of further proliferation in an already-turbulent region
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  • we may have to live with more uncertainty than we would like; opponents of the agreement in both the US and Iran will exploit the inevitable difficult moments.
  • We do not trust the Iranians and they do not trust us. Arms-control or nuclear-limitation agreements are not concluded between friends and allies, but between adversaries
  • If the US blocks the agreement, we will be isolated. Our allies and part-ners are unlikely to acquiesce in the careless rejection of an agreement so painstakingly arrived at; nor would they – especially the Russians and the Chinese – be inclined to maintain the stringent sanctions that were crucial to bringing the Iranians to negotiate seriously
  • airstrikes would do no more than retard the programme for a year or two at best and guarantee that Tehran regarded a nuclear weapon as a vital necessity
  • For at least 15 years, the nuclear issue has been the central obstacle in our relations with Iran, effec-tively standing in the way of any broader dialogue between the US and one of the most important countries in the Middle East.
  • A lifting of sanctions will begin to bring Iran back into the world economy with unforeseen consequences. It is estimated that sanctions relief will greatly boost Iran’s oil exports and sub-stantially increase GDP. Khamenei notwithstanding, some leading figures in Iran, including President Hassan Rouhani, have made no secret of their hope that the nuclear agreement will lead to a broader dialogue. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif specifically said to Kerry, ‘If we get this finished, I am now empowered to work with and talk to you about regional issues’.2The US side certainly has similar hopes. There is an urgent list of regional issues – beginning with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Syria – on which the two countries might engage
  • The regional ambitions of Iran and other Arab states, notably Saudi Arabia, will certainly continue to conflict. It will take a great deal more to lessen Israel’s very understandable fears of Iran. But the nuclear dimension will be in abeyance
  • As with the Soviet Union, we face in Tehran a fundamentally antagonistic regime whose hostility is durably rooted in ideology. History suggests that while this will preclude close relationships, it need not be an obstacle to finding common ground on a limited range of issues of mutual interest
  • The day we establish an embassy in Tehran is regrettably probably far off. (It seems fashionable, if bizarre, to see the establishment of diplomatic relations as a ‘reward’ to the country in question.) There is no doubt, however, that the absence of diplomatic representation on the spot has deprived us of a valuable diplomatic tool
Ed Webb

Iran A Good Deal.pdf - 2 views

  • the verifi-cation procedures of the JCPOA are tighter than the safeguards provided for in the Additional Protocol. The constraints and obligations Iran accepts under the deal also go beyond the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • Iran’s commitments under that temporary arrangement would fall away if the JCPOA were killed. Iran would be free to resume where it left off two years ago. Only this time the US would have very few partners willing to impose the tough sanctions that compelled the serious negotiations of the past two years
  • once it was agreed by eight parties after two years of negotiations, it is now the only deal possible
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  • Nor will other countries meekly accept a return to imposing tough sanctions at America’s beck and call if Washington undermines the deal that European allies worked so hard to reach.
  • to demand a return to the opening-gambit US provi-sions and to impose other conditions is to engage in fantasy. There has long ceased to be any possibility that Iran would give up its enrichment pro-gramme altogether
  • a major breakthrough for the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which to date has never explicitly granted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the right to verify nuclear weaponisation work that does not involve nuclear materials
  • Perfect accuracy of intelligence cannot be guaranteed, of course, but Iran would have to assume that any significant cheating on its part would very likely be quickly observed. If so detected, the US and its allies will not give up any of the options they now possess to compel compliance. In fact, such options will be more robust in the latter years of the Iran deal because the technology for military options such as bunker-busting bombs will likely improve, as will the intelligence picture on Iran’s activities.
  • it buys 15 or more years of certified non-nuclear status – and the reassurance of not having to resort to war to stop the programme
  • the suggestion that it might abet regional adventurism. That is an open question; Iran’s behaviour might get worse, especially in the near term, but the deal also offers prospects for it getting better.
Ed Webb

Buzan on GWoT 2006 - 2 views

shared by Ed Webb on 15 Nov 16 - No Cached
  • Washington is now embarked on a campaign to persuade itself, the American people and the rest of the world that the ‘global war on terrorism’ (GWoT) will be a ‘long war’. This ‘long war’ is explicitly compared to the Cold War as a similar sort of zero-sum, global-scale, generational struggle against anti-liberal ideolo-gical extremists who want to rule the world.
  • When the Cold War ended, Washington seemed to experience a threat defi cit, and there was a string of attempts to fi nd a replacement for the Soviet Union as the enemy focus for US foreign and military policy: fi rst Japan, then China, ‘clash of civilizations’ and rogue states
  • the GWoT had the feel of a big idea that might provide a long-term cure for Washington’s threat defi ci
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  • the only thing that changed is the belief that something had changed
    • Ed Webb
      There is no consensus on this, but quite a few IR scholars take this view of 9/11
  • This article is about the strength and durability of that belief, and whether as a social fact it can be used to create a new political framing for world politics. In addressing this question I diff erentiate between a traditional materialist analysis of threat (whether something does or does not pose a specifi c sort of threat, and at what level) and a so-called securitizationanalysis (whether something can be successfully constructed as a threat, with this understanding being accepted by a wide and/or specifi cally relevant audience).4These two aspects of threat may run in close parallel, but they can also be quite separate. States, like people, can be paranoid (constructing threats where none exist) or complacent (ignoring actual threats). But since it is the success (or not) of the securitization that determines whether action is taken, that side of threat analysis deserves scrutiny just as close as that given to the material side
    • Ed Webb
      Note how this argument applies long-standing IR concepts from several schools of thought: perception and misperception (Jervis); balance of threat (Walt); ideas as frames for world politics/the international system (Wendt).
  • the explicit ‘long war’ framing of the GWoT is a securitizing move of potentially great signifi cance. If it succeeds as a widely accepted, world-organizing macro-securitization, it could structure global security for some decades, in the process helping to legitimize US primacy
    • Ed Webb
      Securitization is a newer concept in IR, mostly associated with the Copenhagen School, although Buzan is English School. The argument here is that a successful rhetorical or framing move can have systemic effects.
  • US military expenditure remains largely aimed at meeting traditional challenges from other states, with only a small part specifi cally allocated for the GWoT. The signifi cance of the GWoT is much more political. Although a real threat from terrorists does exist, and needs to be met, the main signifi cance of the GWoT is as a political framing that might justify and legitimize US primacy, leadership and unilater-alism, both to Americans and to the rest of the world. This is one of the key diff erences between the GWoT and the Cold War. The Cold War pretty much wasUS grand strategy in a deep sense; the GWoT is not, but, as a brief glance at the USNSS of 2006 will show, is being promoted as if it were
    • Ed Webb
      Contrast with the Cold War here is important. Notice the disconnection between political framing and budgetary decisions in GWoT. Why is that?
  • Immediately following 9/11 NATO invoked article 5 for the fi rst time, thereby helping to legitimize the GWoT securitization.
  • In the case of Russia, China, Israel and India, the move has been to link their own local problems with ‘terrorism’ to the wider GWoT framing.
  • tied together several longstanding security concerns arising within the liberal order, most notably crime and the trades in drugs and the technologies for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Within the frame of the liberal international economic order (LIEO), it is well understood that while opening state borders to fl ows of trade, fi nance, information and (skilled) people is generally to be promoted, such opening also has its dark side in which illiberal actors, mainly criminals and terrorists, can take advantage of liberal openness in pursuit of illiberal ends
    • Ed Webb
      This is Naim's "Five Wars of Globalization"
  • There are fi ve obvious types of event that could signifi -cantly reinforce or undermine the GWoT securitization:ü the impact of further terrorist plans and/or attacks (or plans or attacks success-fully attributed to terrorists);ü the commitment of the United States to the GWoT securitization;ü the legitimacy of the United States as a securitization leader within interna-tional society;ü the (un)acceptability and (il)legitimacy of both the GWoT securitization as a whole or of particularist securitizations that get linked to it;ü the potency of securitizations competing with the GWoT
  • The escalation option would strengthen the GWoT securitization, and the reduction option would weaken it. More of the same does not look suffi cient to sustain the costs of a long-term macro-securitization unless the fear of escalation can be maintained at a high level.
  • Americans, like most other citizens of democracies, quite willingly surrender some of their civil liberties in times of war. But it is easy to see the grounds within American society for reactions against the GWoT securitization, especially if its legitimacy becomes contested. One source of such reactions would be civil libertarians and others opposed to the reasser-tion of government powers through a state of permanent fear and emergency. Another would be isolationists and ‘off shore balancers’ who oppose the current levels and logics of US global engagement
  • Grounds for opposition include its costs, in terms of both money and liberty, and the ineff ectiveness of a permanent increase in the state’s surveil-lance over everything from trade and fi nance to individual patterns of travel and consumption
  • reformulate the GWoT
    • Ed Webb
      Obama decided to declare it "over" in 2013: But the rhetorical shift has not led to any notable reduction in GWoT-related drone strikes etc.
  • Wilkinson, who has solid credentials as a hard foe of the terrorists, echoes a sentiment widely held across the political spectrum when he says that ‘If we undermine or destroy our hard-won liberties and rights in the name of security against terrorism we will give the terrorists a victory they could never win by the bomb and the gun.’28 In this respect it is of more than passing interest that all of the current strategies being used to pursue the GWoT seem actively to damage the liberal values they purport to defend.
  • A weight of punditry agrees that the Atlantic has got wider, to the point where even the idea that there is a western community is now under serious threat.
    • Ed Webb
      That this argument was being advanced halfway through the second GW Bush term, and yet the transatlantic alliance has held firm, should probably give us hope for the relationship surviving the Trump administration.
  • states might support or oppose the GWoT not only on its merits, but also because of how it plays into the global hierarchy of power
  • In terms of the GWoT securitization as a whole, some of the lines of opposition are the same in the rest of the world as they are in US domestic debates, particu-larly over what kinds of emergency action it legitimizes. To the extent that the GWoT becomes associated with actions that seem to contradict the values that the West seeks to represent against the likes of Al-Qaeda, the legitimacy of the securitization is corroded
  • The US successfully generated and led the macro-securitization of the Cold War against communism generally and the military power of the Soviet Union in particular. It was aided in this both by the broad acceptability of its own qualities as a leader in the West, and up to a point even in the Third World, and by the fact that other states, especially west European ones, plus Turkey, Japan and South Korea, shared the fear of communism and Soviet military power
  • Most western leaders (the ever undiplomatic Berlusconi having been a notable excep-tion) have tried hard right from the beginning not to stage the GWoT as a war between the West and Islam. They have trodden the diffi cult line of maintaining that, while most of the terrorists speak in the name of Islam, that does not mean that most adherents of Islam are terrorists or supporters of terrorists. But despite this, the profoundly worrying relinking of religion and politics in the United States, Israel and the Islamic world easily feeds zero-sum confl icts. This linkage could help to embed the securitization of the GWoT, as it seems to have done within the United States and Israel. If religious identities feed the growth of a ‘clash of civilizations’ mentality, as seems to have happened in the episode of the Danish cartoons, this too could reinforce the GWoT securitization. It could, equally, create a reaction against it from those who feel that their particular religion is being mis represented by fundamentalists, and/or from those who object to religious infl uence on politics. The latter is certainly part of what has widened the gap between the US and Europe
  • Al-Qaeda and its like, while clearly posing a threat to the West, do not represent a plausible political alternative to it, Islamist fantasies about a new caliphate notwithstanding. The contrast with the Cold War could not be more striking. Then, the designated opponent and object of securitization was a power that represented what seemed a plausible political alternative: one could easily imagine a communist world. The post-9/11 securitization focused neither on an alternative superpower nor on an alternative ideology, but on the chaos power of embittered and alienated minori-ties, along with a handful of pariah governments, and their ability to exploit the openness, the technology, and in some places the inequality, unfairness and failed states generated by the western system of political economy
  • Iraq. The US and British governments attempted to justify the invasion by linking Saddam Hussein’s regime to both terrorists and WMD. This securitizing move was successful within the United States, but vigorously contested in many other places, resulting in serious and damaging splits in both the EU and NATO. Russia was generally very supportive of the GWoT securitization, seeking to link its own diffi culties in Chechnya to it, but Putin joined Germany and France in strong opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq. The ill-prepared occupation that followed the successful blitzkrieg against Iraq only deepened the splits, with many opponents of the war agreeing with Dana Allin’s assessment that ‘Iraq was probably the war that bin Laden wanted the United States to fi ght’,29and Wilkinson’s that it was ‘a gratuitous propaganda gift to bin Laden’.30 During the 2004 US election, even John Kerry began to argue the point that invasion of Iraq was distracting eff ort away from the GWoT.31 As the political disaster in Iraq continues to unfold, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that it was both a tactical and strategic blunder of epic proportions in relation to the problem of global terrorism represented by Al-Qaeda
  • There are quite a variety of possible candidates for competing securitizations. Rising sea levels or approaching asteroids, or the spread of a new killer plague, could easily put planetary environmental concerns at the top of the securitiza-tion agenda. But in conventional mode the most likely threat to the GWoT as dominant macro-securitization comes from the rise of China
  • It was perhaps only the perceived remoteness in time of China achieving superpower status that prevented this securitization from becoming the dominant rhetoric in Washington during the 1990s. As time marches on, the rise of China becomes more real and less hypothetical
  • Given an ongoing disposition within Washington to construct China as a threat, the likely increase in Chinese power, both relative and absolute, and the existence of tensions between the two governments over, inter alia, Taiwan, trade and human rights, it is not diffi cult to imagine circumstances in which concerns about China would become the dominant securitization within the United States
    • Ed Webb
      Is this a new "pivot to Asia" we can imagine happening under the Trump administration?
  • o long as China conducts its so-called ‘peaceful rise’ in such a way as not to threaten its neighbours or the general stability of interna-tional society, many outside the United States might actually welcome it. Europe is likely to be indiff erent, and many countries (e.g. Russia, China, India, Iran, France, Malaysia) support a rhetoric of multipolarity as their preferred power structure over the predominance of the United States as sole superpower.
  • Because a world govern-ment is not available, the problem pits international society against global uncivil society
  • By hardening borders, homeland security measures erode some of the principles of economic liberalism that they are designed to defend; and the same argument could be made about the trade-off between enhanced surveillance under the GWoT and the civil liberties that are part of the core referent object of western civilization
  • War is seldom good for liberal values even when fought in defence of them
  • Equalizing starts from the assumption that the root causes of terrorism lie in the inequalities and injustices that are both a legacy of human history and a feature of market economies. The long-term solution to terrorism in this perspective is to drain the waters in which the terrorists swim by redressing the inequalities and injustices that supposedly generate support for them. It is not my concern here to argue whether this contested cause–eff ect hypothesis is correct or not. My point is that if a policy along these lines is pursued, it cannot avoid undermining the foundations of a competitive market economy
  • f inequality is the source of terrorism, neo-liberal economics does not provide a quick enough solution
  • terrorism poses a double threat to liberal democratic societies: open direct assaults of the type that have become all too familiar, and insidious erosion as a consequence of the countermeasures taken
    • Ed Webb
      This is an essential point to understand about terrorism, suggesting why groups continue to adopt the tactic and why, sometimes, it can succeed.
  • f it is impossible to elimi-nate terrorists, as is probably the case, then this drive risks the kind of permanent mobilization that inevitably corrodes liberal practices and values
  • If the priority is to preserve liberal values, one is pushed towards the option of learning to live with terrorism as an everyday risk while pursuing counter-measures that stop short of creating a garrison state.
  • The necessary condition for doing so is that state and society raise their toleration for damage as a price they pay for openness and freedom. Kenneth Waltz long ago made the point that ‘if freedom is wanted, insecurity must be accepted’,38 though it has to be said that this part of his analysis has made little impact on US thinking about national security
  • if terrorism is a problem of the long term, as it well might be for advanced industrial societies, it would require a level of democratic sophistication and commitment rather higher than anything yet seen
  • Europe is more resilient and better able to defend its values without resorting to excesses of securitization. By comparison, the United States seems a softer target, too easily pricked into intemperate reactions that in themselves work to under-mine what it claims to stand for
    • Ed Webb
      This is broadly, historically true. But note France's ongoing state of emergency since the Paris attacks. The move from resilience toward garrison-state approaches is tempting for any government in times of popular uncertainty and fear.
Ed Webb

The Women of Daesh: Thinking about a Decade of Research on Women, Gender, and Terrorism - 0 views

  • Daesh has paired actively recruiting women to be a part of the organization with a formal ban on female fighters. This is unique because there are a lot of organizations that either ban female fighters or recruit women, but few that do both
  • the formal role that women are to have in Daesh is as biological and cultural reproducers of the Caliphate: wives and mothers, both literally and figuratively, of the cause
  • much of the attention to date about women in Daesh is the organization’s ability to attract Western women to travel to Syria and Iraq to join its ranks
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  • one of our interviewees suggested that one of the reasons that women were joining Daesh in such large numbers was because the organization was better at listening to, and catering to, the sex-specific needs women express than its opponents who were putting together counterterrorism strategies
  • women who participate in extralegal violence are often more complicated than the gender stereotypes they tend to be portrayed as
  • In recent decades, treating women well (or at least appearing to) has become a sine qua non of liberal, developed statehood – and critique of Daesh (deliberate and resolute) failing on those axes also serves a delegitimizing function for the organization.
  • those who do not think about gender, or who think about gender in over-simplistic ways, do so at the risk of the accuracy, coherence, and effectiveness of their engagement with violent extremism, as analysts or activists or both
Ed Webb

European Journal of International Relations-2014-Webber-341-65.pdf.pdf - 0 views

  • the future of European integration and the European Union is more contingent than most integration theories allow
  • the role of domestic politics
  • he extent to which Europe’s uniquely high level of political integration depends on the engagement and support of the region’s economically most powerful ‘semi-hegemonic’ state, Germany
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  • The European Union’s current crisis is symptomatic of a broader crisis or malaise of regional and international multilateralism
  • he EU has proved an extraordinarily robust and crisis-resistant organization. It survived: the collapse of the European Defence Community project in 1954; France’s rejection of two British bids for accession in the 1960s; the empty-chair crisis precipitated by De Gaulle in 1965; the crisis concerning the UK’s contribution to the EU budget in the first half of the 1980s; the semi-destruction of the European Monetary System in 1992–1993; and the defeat of several proposed new treaties in referenda in Denmark, Ireland, France and the Netherlands since the end of the Cold War
  • From an IR institutionalist perspective, the critical questions relating to the EU’s future are thus whether, especially in the enlarged EU, there are sufficiently pervasive common interests linking member states and whether, much as for intergovernmental-ists, the ‘most powerful states’ (Keohane and Nye, 1993: 18) — by which the US is as much meant as the ‘big three’ EU members — continue to support the integration pro-cess
  • far more regional organizations have failed, in the sense that they collapsed, than succeeded
  • to ask to what extent there has been any change in the variables that have fuelled the integration process in the pas
  • growing distrust among Europe’s big powers over ‘hard’ security issues is not at the root of Europe’s current crisis
  • From a realist perspective à la Mearsheimer, European disintegration would hence most probably result from an American military withdrawal from Europe and a collapse of NATO
  • uncertainty as to the durability or reliability of the American com-mitment to European military security has led to more rather than less security and defence cooperation between EU member states
  • Classical intergovernmentalism focuses our attention on the evolution and degree of convergence of the stances of the French, German and British governments as determi-nants of the future of European integration. Trends in this trilateral relationship in the last two decades do not augur well for the EU’s future. Growing British Euro-scepticism has made Franco-German threats to exclude the UK from the integration process increas-ingly hollow — not because such threats cannot be implemented, but rather because the British government has been increasingly impervious to them
  • The Franco-German ‘tandem’ can still exercise a decisive influence in the EU even after the post-Cold War enlargements from 12 to 27 member states, especially where the two governments form ‘opposing poles’ in the EU around which other member states can coalesce
  • Intergovernmentalism implies that if a fundamental breakdown should occur in Franco-German relations, this would surely lead to European disintegration
  • IR institutionalists argue that such organizations can achieve a high level of durabil-ity or permanence by helping states to overcome collective action problems, carrying out functions that these cannot (notably ‘facilitating the making and keeping of agreements through the provision of information and reductions in transaction costs’), monitoring compliance, reducing uncertainty and stabilizing expectations
  • s serious as the EU’s crisis seemed to be in 2012, there was no unequivocal empirical evidence that the integration process had begun to unwind and the EU to disintegrate. Still no member state had ever left the EU, while several states were queuing to join it. Still no issue-area into which the EU’s competence had previ-ously been extended had been repatriated to the member states. There had still not been any observable formal or actual diminution of the EU’s decision-making and implemen-tation capacities
    • Ed Webb
      How do things look from the vantage point of 2016?
  • From an IR institutionalist as well as an intergovernmentalist perspective, the EU’s future seems likely to ride on the evolution of the Franco-German relationship,
  • While the governments of “sovereign” member-states remain free to tear up treaties and walk away at any time, the constantly increasing costs of exit in the densely integrated European polity have rendered this option virtually unthinkable’
    • Ed Webb
      For governments, perhaps. But when PM Cameron could not resolve this debate within his own party, he opted for a referendum he assumed he would win. It turned out to be thinkable for 52% of those who voted.
  • Whilst historical-institutionalist scholars generally focus on constraints and the ‘“stickiness” of historically evolved insti-tutional arrangements’ and provide ‘explanations of continuity rather than change’, they nonetheless recognize that critical junctures or crises can bring about ‘relatively abrupt institutional change’
  • ‘punctuated equilibrium’
  • ‘As transnational exchange rises, so does the societal demand for supranational rules and organizational capacity to regulate’
  • growing economic interdependence seems increasingly to fore-close other, unilateral policy options and to compel member governments to forge or acquiesce in closer integration
  • , Germany has increasingly visibly assumed the role of the Eurozone’s and the EU’s ‘indispensable’ member
  • it is still not evident that European-level political party groups can ‘discipline’ or ‘moderate’ the positions taken by their national member parties on EU issues
  • R institutionalism and, more so, clas-sical intergovernmentalism are more circumspect about the EU’s future. Viewed from these perspectives, European integration is a more contingent phenomenon, resting on the scope of member states’ common interests, which has arguably narrowed following successive waves of enlargement, and/or on the extent of hegemonic leadership or con-vergence of interests among the EU’s three big powers. The latter has diminished in as far as the UK has proved hostile to closer integration on most issues, leaving the EU’s fate in these perspectives increasingly in the hands of the Franco-German duo
  • Contrasting post-2000 EU politics with that of the preceding half-century, I sug-gest that European integration is threatened by sharply rising hostility towards the EU in the domestic politics of the member states. Contrasting Europe with other regions, I argue that a ‘semi-hegemonic’, pro-integrationist Germany accounts for the uniquely high level of political integration in Europe, but that there is a significant and growing risk that Germany’s commitment to the European ‘project’ will wane in future
  • Hegemonic stability theory derives the indispensability of hegemonic leadership for economic openness and stability from public-goods theory, holding that only large states have a material incentive to supply non-excludable ‘collective’ goods rather than to ‘free-ride’. Germany has strong economic and political incentives in the maintenance of a politically and economically stable Europe that its governments have historically seen as being best secured through integration
  • In some member states, notably but not only in the UK, there was of course always significant domestic political opposition to European integra-tion. Nonetheless, in the post-Cold War and post-Maastricht Treaty period and especially during the last decade, hostility towards the EU and closer European integration has arguably transformed the domestic political context of EU decision-making to the point where one could more accurately speak of an ‘unpermissive dissensus’ that severely constrains the room for manoeuvre of member governments on EU issues
  • At the same time as the balance of political power in many member states has tilted sharply towards ‘anti-European’ political forces, the capacity of governments to control the EU agenda in the member states — a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of the processes of negotiation and ratification of EU policies — has been eroded
  • tension between the requirements or logic of domestic politics, on the one hand, and those of the EU (and international financial markets), on the other
  • Most federations fail (Lemco, quoted in Kelemen, 2007: 53). Multinational federa-tions, of which the EU is certainly an example, may be more prone to failure than others (Kelemen, 2007: 61)
  • growing levels of economic exchange and economic interdependence do indeed create pressures on governments to institutionalize their economic ties. However, levels of political integration in East Asia, the Asia-Pacific and North America are not even remotely comparable to those in Europe
  • It is rather the presence, in the form of Germany, of a pro-integrationist regional hegemon that best explains Europe’s comparatively very high level of political integra-tion
  • What has made the EU exceptional in respect of regional political integration is neither an exceptionally high level of economic integration nor the presence of a ‘leading state’ as such, but rather the fact that, compared with other ‘lead-ing’ regional powers, the member state that occupies this role in the EU — Germany — has pursued a much more radical agenda involving the creation of a quasi-federal European state
  • Germany needs good and close relations with other European states to avert the risk of diplomatic isolation and a resurgence of traditional ‘balance-of-power’ politics in the region
  • EU policy choices do not disproportionately reflect German preferences. Compromise and consensus, not a German diktat, are the rules in EU decision-making
  • As a regional paymaster, but hitherto not typically a disproportionately influential rule-maker, Germany was long more a ‘semi-hegemonic’ than ‘normal’ hegemonic power in the EU
  • A Grand Coalition of pro-European Social and Christian Democrats, on the other hand, may, as the experience of other EU member states suggests, spawn the emergence and growth of new national-populist parties and/or, for electoral-political motives, the transformation into Euro-sceptical movements of those established parties that would then be in the opposition
    • Ed Webb
      Since this article was written, the Alternativ für Deutschland party, a far-right populist, anti-immigrant, anti-EU, racist party, has made some inroads in local assemblies in Germany. They don't yet appear a major threat at the national level, though.
  • the EU’s future is more contingent
  • the EU is very vulnerable to domestic political backlashes manifested in the rise of national populism in the member states, particularly so long as few citizens in the member states share a strong European identity and there are no strong pan-European political parties that can effectively integrate and mediate their conflicting interests
  • German domestic politics therefore matters more for the EU’s future than that of any other member state
  • n more than 60 years, the European integration process has confronted and survived many crises. But it has never so far had to confront a crisis ‘made in Germany’.
  • The plethora of regional and pluri- or minilateral trade agreements signed across the world over the last decade or so cannot disguise the fact that most regions in the world remain at best only very weakly politically integrated and regionalorganizations therefore cannot be relied upon to institutionalize and secure peaceful cooperation among their members.
  • Is it possible that, as hegemonic stability theory would suggest, the roots of the gathering crisis of interna-tional multilateralism are to be found in the ‘end of the United States’ unipolar moment’ (Layne, 2006) and the arrival at long last of the long-anticipated decline in the capacity as well as willingness of the US to play the role of a stabilizing international hegemon?
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