Nationalism and Unionism in Scotland (1945-1985)

By Peter Wilson

In 1913 a Liberal MP stood before the House of Commons and advocated a change in the political relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. He was knowingly echoing another Liberal MP from nearly 20 years before, who had wished for Scottish Home Rule “while retaining intact the power and supremacy of the Imperial Parliament.”[1] In 1976 Malcolm Rifkind called for “a better deal for Scottish people within the United Kingdom.”[2] Nearly a century had passed, and the wish was for the same thing: a recognition of Scottish political autonomy within the existing framework of the United Kingdom. Yet between 1955 and 1985…

Can the Security Dilemma Explain Actual Conflicts?

By James A. Chisem

The concept of the security dilemma describes how it is possible, given the “existential uncertainty” which the condition of international anarchy produces amongst states, for violent conflict to arise between two or more actors even when neither has malign intentions towards the other.[1] Although the idea appears in text as far back as the fifth century BCE in the writings of the Greek intellectual Thucydides, the term only entered the academic lexicon after John Herz concretised it in his 1950 treatise ‘Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma’.[2] In the decades since then…

The ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ Misnomer

By Bleddyn E. Bowen

Humanitarian intervention has been a hotly debated topic in Western policy circles (epitomised by the Responsibility to Protect, or R2P), especially in the aftermath of the numerous interventions (such as the Balkans) carried out by Western armed forces around the globe during the 1990s. However, whilst there is extensive literature on ‘humanitarian’ intervention…

History, Theory, and the Iraq War

By James A. Chisem

There is a famous scene in the popular television show Family Guy in which the main characters, Brian the dog and Peter Griffin, take time out of a road trip across America to visit Ground Zero in New York City. Since the significance of the location is obviously lost on Peter, Brian attempts to clear things up. “Peter”, he says, “this is the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks”. Slightly less bewildered, Peter replies, “Oh, so Saddam Hussein did this?” Brian responds with a deadpan “no”. “The Iraqi Army?” offers Peter. Once again, Brian answers in the negative. Peter’s questions follow the Iraq route further until…