Blair, neo-conservatism and the war on territorial Integrity

Stuart Elden

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This essay uses the war on Iraq and in particular the legal advice of the British Attorney General to explore two tensions. The first is between Blair's foreign policy with its 'ethical dimension' and call for humanitarian intervention by the international community and the project of the neo-conservatives in the US. The second is in the notion of territorial integrity, which means both the idea of territorial preservation and that within this territory a state is sovereign. The war on Iraq, which violated territorial sovereignty, was fought against a backdrop of preserving the existing territorial settlement, especially regarding the Kurds. While Blair and the neo-conservatives share an argument against territorial sovereignty as an unconditioned absolute, and hold a belief in the need for territorial stability, their positions differ on the mechanisms needed. Blair strove for an internationalist position; the neo-conservatives argue for US exceptionalism. Ultimately though, faced with a decision, Blair joined the US in violating a sovereign state's territorial integrity without international support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-57
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

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