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Essay preview

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is based upon the myth that it guarantees peace in Europe.

Hero and Zero

Tim Black praises Baumgartner’s balls of steel, but wonders what happened to the ballsy Charlotte Church.

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Editorial

Israel vs Iran: clash of the pariah states

One of the most dangerous trends in international politics is the casual demonisation of certain foreign states. Countries which are either hostile to the West, or which fail to live up to the human-rights standards set by the so-called international community, are frequently written off as ‘rogue states’. According to the author of Rogue Regime, a book about the ‘quintessential rogue regime’ North Korea, being branded a rogue state is the state-level equivalent of an individual being certified insane. Rogue states are those which engage in ‘rash behaviour’, he says, and therefore ‘the label “rogue” is a certificate of dangerous insanity in the diplomatic world’.

This branding of states as ‘dangerously insane’, with certain regimes effectively put in solitary confinement by the metaphorical medics of the international community, can have disastrous consequences. As we’ve seen everywhere from Sudan to Afghanistan in the Taliban era, the West’s use of rogue-state terminology can have the effect of both making regimes more reckless, since they’re likely to deduce that they have nothing to lose by continuing to pursue whatever political course has enraged the international community, and also emboldening their enemies, who see the rogue tag as confirmation of a state’s illegitimacy and thus a green light to attack it harder. Casually bandied about by Western leaders keen to make a theatrical international display of their moral purpose in contrast with the immoral antics of Them, preferably by issuing a strongly worded press release rather than deploying yet another army, the ‘rogue’ label makes war more likely.

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