This blog post is a collection of open questions rather than the statement of an opinion. I hereby want to share with you the 4 questions and 2 observations that are inspiring the doctoral project that I have recently started at King’s College London.
In a paper published in 1998, Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink famously presented a model of international norm diffusion based on a three-stage life cycle: emergence, cascade and internalisation. States and international organisations play the main role at the second stage, in the “norm cascade”, when they choose to embrace certain norms, understood as “standards for the appropriate behavior of states” (p. 893). Finnemore and Sikkink argue that “states comply with norms in stage 2 for reasons that relate to their identities as members of the international society” (p. 902). 1st question: Do legitimacy and reputation sufficiently explain the motives behind a given country’s decision to be a international human rights norm promoter? Continue reading
Duela aste batzuk Carlos Urquijok, Espainiako Gobernuko ordezkaria Euskadin, EITBko zuzendariari gutun bat bidali zion euskal telebistak Pirritx eta Porrotx pailazoen saiorik eskaini ez zezan eskatuz “ETA erakunde terroristako presoak” babesten dituztelako. Bideo honetan esaten dutenarengatik izan zen:
Only last week, a US-led military intervention in Syria seemed inevitable. Today, the immediate future looks more uncertain. In a historic debate, the UK Parliament refused to endorse a military action. President Obama referred the matter to Congress. NATO Chief announced that they would not be part of a strike. And the Arab League Secretary General said that a military action outside the UN mandate “is out of the question”.
As of this writing, since the UN research team has not announced its findings, there is no official truth about whether chemical weapons were used in Damascus on 21 August. I think we should first wait for this team to complete their job, although I am personally ready to accept that it happened. MSF treated patients with “neurotoxic symptoms” and Amnesty International has gathered information from survivors of the attack. Nevertheless, the scale of the effects remains unknown. France speaks of 281 deaths, MSF counted 355 and so did the UK Government, while the meticulous US intelligence mysteriously raised the number to 1429 victims. (Toby Helm rightly asks: “Why, if UK relations with Washington were so close, and the UK had known it was facing a crucial parliamentary vote, was Cameron not given access to new, higher casualty figures from US intelligence, cited by Kerry?”). The UN team will not be able (it is not in their mandate either) to determine who used or released the chemical agents, but the attack was directed against areas under control of the opposition forces, which gives us a relevant clue.
Future evidence may prove me wrong, but I believe that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against its own population, which is clearly prohibited by customary international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime (Rules 74 and 156 of the ICRC study on Customary International Humanitarian Law). However, when I am confronted by the possibility of a non-UN sponsored military attack in Syria, I ask myself many more questions than I can answer. Continue reading
Posted in In ENGLISH, Normative Power Europe?, Puertas afuera
Tagged armed conflict, Francia, international law, Libya, Syria, United Kingdom (UK), United Nations (UN), United States (US), war on terror
Witnessing the last collision between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar, three thoughts pop up in my mind.
- Two bald men fighting over a comb. Borges’ view about the Falklands/Malvinas war turns to be quite useful to speak about Gibraltar today. Three decades ago, the Argentinean junta and a Thatcher in trouble agreed to distract their publics’ attention towards the other side of the Atlantic. David Cameron and Mariano Rajoy are doing the same thing with Gibraltar. The former seems unable to turn the polls upside down and the latter simply doesn´t even know how to start arranging his long list of problems. They don´t care a toss about Gibraltar, but it gives them the opportunity to wave their favourite flags: Cameron with that of the resistance to a foreign “power” and Rajoy with the one of musty patriotism.
- The European geography is a museum where not all pieces are necessarily beautiful. Gibraltar, Monaco, San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein or even the Vatican City are only curiosities that history has left behind. That’s how these territories should be perceived, and not as a source for potential diplomatic conflict.
- The Spanish policy toward Gibraltar should be guided by the wishes and interests of the population living near the Rock in the province of Cádiz. The Government of Spain ought to defend their work, trade and environmental needs, and stop overusing empty words like “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity”. (For the moment, Gibraltarians’ Spanish neighbours have shown a much more reasonable attitude than the Government in Madrid.) I’d say that a similar request may be made to the Government in London and its loaded understanding of the notion of “self-determination”.
Tres ideas me vienen a la cabeza ante el último encontronazo entre el Reino Unido y España sobre Gibraltar.
- Dos calvos peleando por un peine. La frase de Borges sobre las Malvinas nos vale hoy para hablar de Gibraltar. Hace tres décadas la Junta argentina y una Thatcher en apuros se pusieron de acuerdo para distraer la atención de su población hacia el otro lado del Atlántico. David Cameron y Mariano Rajoy hoy hacen lo propio con Gibraltar. El primero no sabe qué hacer para darle la vuelta a las encuestas y el segundo simplemente no sabe ni cómo empezar a ordenar su larga lista de problemas. Gibraltar no les importa lo más mínimo, pero les brinda la oportunidad de enarbolar sus banderas favoritas: Cameron con la de la resistencia ante una “potencia” extranjera y Rajoy con la del patriotismo rancio.
- La geografía de Europa es un museo en el que no todas las piezas son precisamente bellas. Gibraltar, Mónaco, San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein o el mismo Vaticano son curiosidades que la historia se ha ido dejando en el camino. Así habrían de ser tratados estos territorios, y no como conflictos diplomáticos en potencia.
- La política española con respecto a Gibraltar debería estar basada en los deseos e intereses de la población gaditana residente alrededor del Peñón. El Gobierno de España debería defender sus necesidades laborales, comerciales y medioambientales, sin permitir que se le llene la boca con palabras huecas como “soberanía” o “integridad territorial”. (Por el momento, la población vecina a Gibraltar se ha mostrado mucho más razonable que el Gobierno de Madrid.) Me atrevo a decir que lo mismo vale para Londres y su capciosa interpretación de la “libre determinación”.
Fotografía: Los gibraltareños celebrando el Jubileo de Diamante de Isabel II en 2012 (The Telegraph)