Displace the Definition of Refugee: Reforming Refugee Regime

We must redefine the norms and understandings of all refugees in the 21st century. The definition a refugee needs to be broadened and non-refoulment needs to be strengthened. Under the current refugee regime definitions, there are numerous groups that can be excluded from asylum. Regarding non-refoulment, nations have turned to containment, often external to national borders, to confine refugees versus resettlement to new homes. Refugees who are denied refugee status under the current criteria, and therefore are barred from help, will still seek refuge away from their home. Containment facilities act as a gravity pit of exclusion that possibly strips refugees of many basic human rights. These problems are manifested in refugee containment, illegal smuggling, and a rise in fear-based border control rhetoric. Increased refugee numbers can come about progressively and humanely, or it can come about with increased divisiveness. Either way, displaced migration will continue to be pervasive with events both natural and man-made.

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Presidential Authority: How the Ink Dries in Post-9/11

Did we start the post-9/11 frenzy of military activity legally? Did the President and subsequent leaders follow the constitution of the United States of America? To many Americans, these types of questions surrounding the terrorist attack on 9/11 and legality cause an audience to squirm and fidget. Understandably so, post-9/11 military activity appears to be held to much more scrutiny and confusion than previous campaigns. This essay, however, is going to attempt to rationalize, defend and attack three main focal points of presidential authority post-9/11. Firsthand, the removal of the Taliban government in Afghanistan was legal and warranted after the incident on 9/11. Indefinite detention of alleged combatants is not legal and is not supported in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (S.J.Res.23). The final focal point is not nearly as straightforward as the previous two points. Drone technology places the President and US at a cross-roads in definition and accountability that could end up being quite dangerous. This essay posits the use of drone technology in Pakistan is legal simply because it is not illegal. Before making any argument, understanding the dialogue on authority and the debate surrounding these questions must be highlighted.

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The Recipe is Unrealistic: Realism’s Critique of International Law

In critiquing international law (IL), the theory of realism is at its weakest when rebuffing critical theories of international relations (IR) that contribute to building discourse surrounding IL. The argument of John J. Mearsheimer, that critical theory cannot predict which discourse will replace realism but that it does, in fact, posit that realism will be replaced, shall be examined in detail (Mearsheimer, 1995, p. 44). Is a theory actually any less valid if it does not absolutely solve a problem, but only recognizes there is a problem? In effect, Mearsheimer might also be hinting at critical theory lacking the ability to predict potential outcomes in IR. Using constructivism, interactional legal theory (ILT) and his example of fascist discourse, the argument for critical theory containing predictive attributes will be made.

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Interaction, Interpretation and Understanding: Constructivism in International Law and Relations

Introduction

The theory of constructivism lends greatly to understanding the institutions of international law (IL) and why they are obeyed, how they are created, how they evolve, and how they become anew throughout international relations (IR). Examining theories by Sean Murphy will provide literature that bolsters the contribution constructivism has bestowed upon IL. Jutta Brunnee’s and Stephen Toope’s work with interactional theory will be highlighted to show how IL works quite seamlessly with constructivism within IR. Coupling constructivism with interactional theory allows the building of an imaginary graph on which we can plot the interpretation and understanding of norms and laws within IR. Uta Kohl’s writing pertaining to governance surrounding the internet, specifically the issues of jurisdiction, will be examined in order to show constructivism and interactional theory in practice.

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