The Politics of Justifying Force: The Suez Crisis, the Iraq War, and International Law

Hardcover | February 3, 2014

byCharlotte Peevers

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What are the politics involved in a government justifying its use of military force abroad? What is the role of international law in that discourse? How and why is international law crucial to this process? And what role does the media have in mediating the interaction of international law andpolitics? This book provides a fresh and engaging answer to these questions. It introduces different actors to the study of international law in this context, in particular highlighting the importance of institutional actors and the role of the media. It takes a theoretical approach, informed bydetailed empirical analysis of key case studies, which challenges the traditional distinction between the spheres of "the international" and "the domestic" in global affairs, and the role of international law in the making of public policy.The book specifically critiques the idea of the "politics of justification", which argues that deploying international legal norms to justify governmental decisions resulting in the use of force necessarily constrains government actions, and leads to fewer instances of military intervention. Thepolitics of justification, on this account, can be seen as a progressive practice, through which international law can become embedded in domestic societies. The book investigates the actors engaged in this justification, and the institutional contexts within which legal justification is articulated, interpreted, and contested. It provides a rich, detailed account of domestic British discourse in the crucial case studies of the Suez Crisis of 1956 andthe Iraq War of 2003, making extensive use of archival material, newspaper and television reporting, Parliamentary debates, polling data, personal memoirs, and the declassified material provided to several Public Inquiries, including the Chilcot Inquiry. In light of these sources, it considers theconcept of international law as a language and form of communication rather than a set of abstract norms. It argues that a detailed understanding of how that language is deployed, both in private and in public, is essential to gaining a deeper understanding of the role of international law indomestic politics. This book will be illuminating reading for scholars and students the use of force in international law, historians, and media theorists.

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What are the politics involved in a government justifying its use of military force abroad? What is the role of international law in that discourse? How and why is international law crucial to this process? And what role does the media have in mediating the interaction of international law andpolitics? This book provides a fresh and en...

Dr Charlotte Peevers is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Technology in Sydney and a practising barrister (Middle Temple, England and Wales). Charlotte has lectured in international criminal law, public international law, human rights, and criminal law at a number of institutions, including the London School of Eco...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:February 3, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199686955

ISBN - 13:9780199686957

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Table of Contents

1. Debating the use of force2. Theorising the politics of justifying force3. The Suez Crisis4. The Iraq War5. Reformulating the politics of justification6. Beyond Iraq: Iran, Libya and the future of justification7. Beyond the use of force: international law and public policy