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Title: US targeted killing, secrecy, and the erosion of the assassination norm
Author: Banka, Andris
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 0990
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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The objective of this thesis is twofold. First, by employing the norm ‘life’ and ‘death’ cycles grounded in constructivist scholarship, the research aims at determining to what extent the domestic norm against assassination in the United States has been weakened in the light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the advent of new technologies, namely Predator drones. To that end, the study conceptualizes the norm and provides a historical look of targeted killings as a foreign policy tool. It traces and evaluates normative assumptions about assassination as a tool of state policy from the 1970s to the end phases of Barack Obama presidency, concluding that there has been substantial erosion to this normative prohibition. Secondly, the presented thesis also attempts to make a more theoretical contribution by observing mechanisms by which the normative change transpired, demonstrating that in the case of targeted drone strikes, the government relied on quasi-secrecy in order to avoid overt justification. The study concludes that there is a strong link between government initiated quasi-secrecy – a tool that was applied deliberately and strategically, and successful legitimization of a practice that otherwise might have appeared highly controversial.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: E151 United States (General) ; JC Political theory ; JK Political institutions (United States) ; JZ International relations