Archive for the 'security' Category

28 octBenoît Pelopidas (SciencesPo, CERI) « Taking luck seriously in a nuclear-armed world », Thursday December 7th

This book is an intervention at three levels, which is laid out in its first part. Conceptually, it shows that one can define luck as a distinct and researchable concept. Empirically, the book uses untapped primary sources to document two cases in which nuclear explosions have been avoided out of luck and not due to control practices. Epistemologically, it identifies five expert practices that make luck invisible or a priori inconsequential to analysts and scholars alike.
Given that policymakers have paid tribute to luck in the non-catastrophic outcome of nuclear crises for a long time (Acheson as early as 1969, McNamara 2003, Leonov 2002…) and that the consensus on the Cuban Missile Crisis over the last 25 years has established the role of luck without it leading to major chances in expert claims of control and control practices, the second part of the book investigates what the implications of taking luck seriously would be on four key dimensions of responsibility in international politics: the nexus between security and sustainability; morality and the issue of moral luck; recognition as taking luck seriously changes the possibility and meaning of trust, and democratic accountability. The book will conclude by reflecting on redefining responsibility in light of those four dimensions.

Sciences Po
199, Bd Saint Germain
3ème étage


Discussant: Benjamin Puybareau (CERI-Namur)

27 octGilad Ben-Nun (Univ. Leipzig), ‘The Non Refoulement Protection of the 1951 Refugee Convention: Drafted by Refugees – for Refugees ?’, Mardi 1er Décembre, 17.00-19.00

Gilad Ben-Nun (Global & European Studies Institute (GESI) – University of Leipzig)

This paper explains how the Non Refoulement Principle (Art. 33 of the 1951 Refugee Convention), seen today as the bedrock of modern international legal refugee protection, was drafted. It provides a plausible explanation as to why UN member States agreed to limit their National Sovereignty in this regard, focusing on a network analysis of the drafter’s circles. The existence of a humanitarianly-minded coalition of State-delegates, during the Refugee Convention’s Travaux préparatoires, facilitated the creation of this vital international legal tool. The impact of the drafters’ work came to the fore some six decades after their fruitful joint efforts, during the current refugee crisis on the High Seas of the Mediterranean. A second point of reference in this lecture will concentrate on the methodological approaches to the interpretation of treaties- between historical approaches and textual readings – and explain why these methodological issues are crucial as they directly influence the lives of thousands of African migrants. Thanks to the historical reading by the European Court for Human Rights, who broke ranks with the American and Australian Supreme Court in their textual reading of Non Refoulement, European Navies exchanged their ‘push back’ operations in the Mediterranean Sea, and in favour of search and rescue operations – in contrast to both the Australian and American Coast Guards.

Discutant : Benjamin Boudou (Sciences Po-CERI)

Lieu : CERI, salle Jean Monnet, 17.00-19.00

21 octRenaud-Philippe Garner (Univ. Toronto), « A Tale of Two Moralities », Mardi 17 Novembre, 17.00-19.00

Renaud-Philippe Garner (Univ. Toronto)

In this paper, I seek to close a gap in Michael Walzer’s argument for the moral equality of soldiers. Specifically, I seek to show that Walzer’s argument for the moral equality of soldiers depends upon an implicit analysis of the function of excuses. I provide this analysis of excuses: a triadic relationship between moral norms, a background of normality and excuses. I then use this analysis to show that Jeff McMahan’s argument for the moral inequality of soldiers rest upon an implausible view of excuses, namely that the conditions of war merely constitute excuses for failing to comply with ordinary, or peacetime, morality. I argue that the conditions of war are best understood as providing a new background of normality rather than a set of excuses. To show this, I identify five conditions that separate the normality of war from the normality of peace.

Discutant: Yoel Mitrani (Sciences Po)

Lieu : CERI, salle Jean Monnet


23 septLaura Dickinson (GWU), « Challenges to Domestic and International Legal Frameworks: Drones, Contractors, and Automated Weapons », Mardi 13 Octobre, 2015

Laura Dickinson (George Washington University)

This paper grapples with the impact of new military technologies on two bodies of law governing the use of force overseas (1) the domestic constitutional and statutory allocation of power between the President and Congress in U.S. law; (2) international humanitarian law. Unmanned aerial systems, often referred to as drones, as well as other increasingly automated weapons systems, are so radically reshaping the nature of war that they are distorting and changing time-worn legal calculations about the decision to use force abroad, as well as the way force is used once that decision is made. Moreover, the growing use of contractors, who invent, maintain, and in many cases operate these technologies, enhances this effect. By minimizing U.S. casualties and augmenting more conventional air campaigns, drones and contractors together reduce the political costs of engagement, making it easier for states to contemplate using force abroad. Perhaps even more significantly, in the United States these new methods and means of warfare enable legal arguments that change the balance of power between Congress and the President enshrined in domestic law – tilting it toward the President. At the same time, deploying these new technologies fragments authority and diffuses decision-making, which now often involves multiple actors who are removed from the actual battle. As a result, responsibility for the calculations governed by international humanitarian law is harder to pinpoint. Thus, even putting aside the vigorous debate about the scope and content of humanitarian law as it applies to the U.S. terrorist targeting program and the campaign against terrorism more broadly, we can see that the increasingly automated means of conducting that campaign, combined with the prominent role for contractors, diminishes the restraining power of international humanitarian law. To illustrate these points, the paper will focus on three examples in which the U.S. President did not receive explicit Congressional authorization for the use of force: the Kosovo intervention in 1999, the intervention in Libya in 2011, and the current campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Discussant: Roger-Philippe Garner (Univ. of Toronto)

Ecole Doctorale, 199 boulevard Saint Germain
3ème étage


16 mar« Pratiques discursives de (non)intervention: une archéologie (1648–1815) », Christelle Rigual (Graduate Institute Genève), Jeudi 26 Mars 2015, 17.00

Christelle Rigual (The Graduate Institute Geneva)

Pratiques discursives de (non)intervention: une archéologie (1648–1815)

Few studies are dedicated to the concept of non-intervention, which is frequently equated with states’ sovereignty-deduced right to independence. The paper consequently questions how, historically and discursively, the notion of nonintervention emerged and evolved. The research, investigating ‘How has the conceptual system of (non)intervention been articulated and (de)constructed in international discursive practices between 1648 and 1815?’ will be conducted as a Foucauldian archaeology. This theoretical framework suggests looking at the relations, continuities and discontinuities around discursive formations; here the one of ‘non-intervention’ defined as the ‘external (non)interference in the internal affairs of a political entity’. Assumptions guiding the research suggest that 1) concepts of nonintervention and sovereignty did not emerge in a neat package during the Peace of Westphalia; 2) these concepts might have been disconnected and have evolved differently though time. Empirically, the paper qualitatively investigates several bodies of discourses (international treaties, lawyers, politicians and historians) around
key historical junctures from the Peace of Westphalia to the Congress of Vienna, to uncover discursive practices having governed understandings of (non)intervention through time. This contribution fills the gap in our knowledge on the concept of nonintervention, contributing to the literature of International Relations and shedding a renewed light on key contemporary events.

Discutante : Amélie Ferey (Sciences Po)

Lieu : 199 boulevard Saint Germain, école doctorale, 3ème étage

23 fév« The Corporate Security Development Nexus: Assembling Security in a Post-Political Era », Rita Abrahamsen and Michael Williams (the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa) Jeudi 5 Mars 2015 17.00

Rita Abrahamsen and Michael Williams (the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa)

The Corporate Security Development Nexus: Assembling Security in a Post-Political Era

Across the globe, security is increasingly provided and governed by complex assemblages of public and private, global and local actors. Some of the most important examples of such contemporary security assemblages are in the resource-extraction sector, where novel combinations of development agencies, resource corporations, and NGOs are engaged in security provision and governance. These assemblages represent more than new forms of security; they are also reflect a new kind of ‘post-political’ politics, and give rise to a new assembled geopolitics.

Jeudi 5 Mars 2015, 17.00-19.00

Lieu : CERI, 56, rue Jacob
salle du rez-de-chaussée

Philippe Bonditti (Sciences Po)