Getting to War

Communications and Mobilization in the 2002–03 Iraq Crisis
  • Robin Brown

Abstract

Just as politicians and diplomats are struggling to come to terms with the impact of the communications revolution in international politics, so too are the academic fields of International Relations and International Communications. Although it is a decade since the twin impacts of satellite television and the Internet began to attract serious attention, scholars are still struggling to understand how to locate innovations in communications within the practice of world politics. Very often discussions are anecdotal or simplistically generalized, reaching conclusions that either the communications revolution is sweeping away the states system or is largely unimportant or that it is having some impact but it is not quite clear what.1 There is a growing body of work that allows us to move beyond these generalizations but much of this is dispersed across relatively specialized debates on topics such as transnational advocacy networks, transparency, deliberation or information warfare and is only just beginning to find its way back into the mainstream theoretical debate.2 This chapter sets out to offer one way of making sense of the impact of the communications revolution in contemporary international politics.

Keywords

Europe Transportation Turkey Arena Dispatch 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    For examples of these three positions see Ronald Deibert, Parchment, Printing and Hypermedia: Communication in World Order Transformation (New York: Columbian University Press, 1997);Google Scholar
  2. and Eugene B. Skolnikoff, The Elusive Transformation: Science Technology and the Evolution of International Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  3. Warren P. Strobel, Late Breaking Foreign Policy (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace, 1997).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    For examples of this work see Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998);Google Scholar
  5. Bernard Finel and Kristin Lord, eds., Power and Conflict in the Age of Transparency (New York: Palgrave, 2000);Google Scholar
  6. Marc Lynch, State Interests and Public Spheres (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999);Google Scholar
  7. John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Emergence of Noopolitik: Towards an American Information Strategy (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 1999).Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace” in Lewis White Beck, ed., Kant on History (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963).Google Scholar
  9. 4.
    For studies that focus on the implications for NGOs see Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders; Ronald Deibert, “International Plug ‘n’ Play? Citizen Activism, the Internet and Global Public Policy,” International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 1, No. 3 (2000), pp. 255–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 5.
    For critiques of political science, geography, and social theory to engage with issues of media and communications see respectively John Downing, Internationalizing Media Theory (London: Sage, 1996);Google Scholar
  11. Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin, Telecommunications and the City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 2–11;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. John B. Thompson, The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media (Cambridge: Polity, 1995).Google Scholar
  13. 6.
    Barry Buzan, Charles Jones, and Richard Little, The Logic of Anarchy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  14. Barry Buzan and Richard Little, International Systems in World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000);Google Scholar
  15. James N. Rosenau, “Information Technologies and the Skills, Networks and Structures that Sustain World Affairs,” in James N. Rosenau and J.P. Singh, eds., Information Technologies and Global Politics: The Changing Scope of Power and Governance (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  16. 7.
    For instance Audie Klotz, Norms in International Relations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  17. 8.
    Jürgen Habermas, Between Facts and Norms (Cambridge: Polity, 1996);Google Scholar
  18. James Bohman, Public Deliberation: Pluralism, Complexity and Democracy (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1996);Google Scholar
  19. James Bohman and William Rehg, eds., Deliberative Democracy (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1997);Google Scholar
  20. Jon Elster, “Strategic Uses of Argument” in Kenneth J. Arrow, Robert H. Mnookin, Lee Ross, and Amos Tversky, eds., Barriers to Conflict Resolution (New York: Norton, 1995);Google Scholar
  21. Marc Lynch, “Why Engage? China and the Logic of Communicative Engagement,” European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2002), pp. 187–230 and State Interests and Public Spheres. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 9.
    In addition to the works by Lynch see Thomas Risse “‘Let’s Argue!’: Communicative Action in World Politics,” International Organization, Vol. 54, No. 1 (2000), pp. 1–40;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. and Frank Schimmelfenig, “The Community Trap: Liberal Norms, Rhetorical Action and the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union,” International Organization, Vol. 55, No. 1 (2001), pp. 47–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 10.
    Norbert Elias, What is Sociology? (London: Hutchinson, 1978),Google Scholar
  25. Anthony Giddens, The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration (Cambridge: Polity, 1984);Google Scholar
  26. Pierre Bourdieu and Löic Wacquant, Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992);Google Scholar
  27. for an application to IR see Patrick T. Jackson and Daniel Nexon, “Relations Before States: Substance, Process and the Study of World Politics,” European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No. 3 (1999), pp. 291–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 11.
    Harold Innis, The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951);Google Scholar
  29. Joshua Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behaviour (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  30. 13.
    Of course recognition of the complexities of such overlapping games is not new, for instance, Norton Long, “The Local Community as an Ecology of Games,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 44, No. 2 (1958), pp. 251–261;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. George Tsebelis, Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  32. 14.
    E.E. Schattschneider, The Semisovereign People (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960).Google Scholar
  33. 15.
    A more detailed treatment of these issues can be found in Robin Brown, Mobilizing the Bias of Communication: Information Technology, Political Communications and Transnational Political Strategy, paper presented at the American Political Science Association Convention, Washington, D.C., September 2000.Google Scholar
  34. 16.
    Jeffrey T. Checkel, “The Constructivist Turn in International Relations Theory,” World Politics, Vol. 50, No. 3 (1998), pp. 324–348;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” International Organization, Vol. 52, No. 4 (1998), pp. 887–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 17.
    Emmanuel Adler, “Seizing the Middle Ground: Constructivism in World Politics,” European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 319–363 at 323–324; Sidney Power in Movement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 19–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 19.
    Philip G. Cerny, “Plurilateralism: Structural Differentiation and Functional Conflict in the Post Cold War World Order,” Millennium, Vol. 22, No. 1 (1993), pp. 27–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 20.
    Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, “Power and Interdependence in the Information Age,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 77, No. 5 (1998), pp. 81–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 21.
    Schattschneider, Semisovereign People; Robin Brown, “The Contagiousness of Conflict: EE Schattschneider as a Theorist of the Information Age,” Information, Communication and Society, Vol. 5, No. 2 (2002), pp. 258–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 24.
    Laurie Mylroie, Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 2000); Gary Schmitt, “State of Terror: War by Any Other Name. …,” The Weekly Standard, November 20, 2000.Google Scholar
  41. 25.
    John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies (New York: Longman, 1995).Google Scholar
  42. 26.
    Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002), p. 49 and Plan of Attack (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), p. 25.Google Scholar
  43. 29.
    Hans Blix, Disarming Iraq: The Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction (London: Bloomsbury, 2004), pp. 63–67.Google Scholar
  44. 33.
    Lynch, State Interests and Public Spheres, and “Why Engage?”; Risse, “Let’s Argue”; Schimmelfenig, “The Community Trap”; and Alastair Iain Johnston, “Treating International Institutions as Social Environments,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 4 (2001), pp. 487–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 34.
    There is a tendency to underestimate just how central the media are as a source of information in foreign policy. See Robin Brown, “Spinning the World: Spin Doctors, Mediation and Foreign Policy” in François Debrix and Cynthia Weber, eds., Rituals of Mediation: International Politics and Social Meaning (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), pp. 160–162.Google Scholar
  46. 35.
    Bernard Finel and Kristin Lord, “The Surprising Logic of Transparency,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (1999), pp. 315–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 37.
    Philip Seib, Hegemonic No More: Western Media, the Rise of Al-Jazeera, and the Influence of Diverse Voices, paper prepared for the International Studies Association Convention, Montreal, March 2004.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Seib 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Brown

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations