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Title: Implementing post-Cold War Anglo-American military intervention : scrutinising the dynamics of legality and legitimacy
Author: Fiddes, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 5213
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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Since the end of the Cold War, much has been written on the various overseas military adventures of Western powers, with significant focus being placed on the legality and legitimacy of these interventions. Despite the volume of work produced on the topic, this thesis argues that much of it has been framed incorrectly, allowing for a conflation of the concepts of legality and legitimacy to distract from the true source of international legitimacy and the true role of international law. Over this period of time, through a combination of selective application and lack of genuine understanding of its role, statutory international law has steadily lost traction and credibility. Through an analysis of a range of case studies from the post-Cold War era, this thesis argues that international legitimacy emanates not from the international legal order (as represented and overseen by the UN) but from consensus amongst kin countries. There are various potential avenues available to achieve consensus, but which is chosen depends on the circumstances of each individual case. National interest underpins state decision-making and, if significant enough, can, on its own, provide a route to consensus. Additionally, a shared national security concern - the pre-eminent catalyst for consensus during the Cold War - remains a powerful option. Furthermore, in the post-Cold War world, a new, norms-based justification, often classified as “humanitarian intervention” has also developed. Demonstrating compliance with international law can, depending on circumstances, be potentially available to strengthen the case for consensus but is not necessarily always an appropriate or productive choice and plays a secondary role to other, more powerful considerations. By focusing on key case studies it is possible to identify trends in approach to the use of international law and identify the nature of the role it plays in international power politics. Through close analysis of a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, it is possible to identify key drivers for decision-makers and detect the impact of past experience on the use of international law in the quest for legitimacy ahead of launching military action. The trends in approach and in relations between close Western allies (in particular the UK and US) have been identified from the Gulf War in 1990 through to the ongoing crisis engulfing Syria, and potentially hold valuable lessons for future strategic decision-making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Intervention (International law)