Crime Wars: The Global Intersection of Crime, Political Violence, and International Law

Crime Wars: The Global Intersection of Crime, Political Violence, and International Law

Crime Wars: The Global Intersection of Crime, Political Violence, and International Law

Crime Wars: The Global Intersection of Crime, Political Violence, and International Law

Synopsis

How crime is defined goes to the heart of the boundaries drawn between legitimate and illegitimate use of force; between violence and non-violence; between legality and criminality. "Crime Wars: The Global Intersection of Crime, Political Violence, and International Law" presents a well-balanced, introductory analysis of this critically important subject, addressing the many points of intersection between political legitimacy, law, political violence, and criminal activity.

This thought-provoking work examines the criminalization of the developing world, opening up debate about the nature and cause of acts that transgress laws, rules, and social norms. Acknowledging the subjective nature of crime, it nevertheless urges readers to ask difficult questions about why law-abiding persons and states sanction rule infringement, law breaking, and amoral policy. Perhaps most importantly, the authors assess structures of global and regional governance, including legal regimes and major international non-governmental agencies, to offer unique, historically grounded insights into security challenges and the ways in which global crimes and wars can be addressed in the 21st century.

Excerpt

War today is both an act and an argument.

—David Kennedy, Of War and Law (2006, p. 5)

We live in tolerant times. This might appear an odd if not indefensible claim in a world beset by conflict, extremes of inequality, famine, and disease. International organizations are tasked with winning the war on poverty and to make poverty history. Yet we still tolerate a very large measure of cruelty and suffering, injustice, and criminality. Indeed, tolerance to crime and injustice is encoded in the operating rules for the international system. This too might at first seem a strange claim. But if governments complied with the letter and intent of all international conventions, treaties, and agreements to which they were signatories, the international system would be vastly different. We tolerate necessary or unavoidable human suffering so that the system continues to function, so that some states can enjoy relative peace and prosperity, and so that a fraction of the world’s population can still enjoy the lion’s share of a US$65 trillion global economy and all the benefits that affluence entails. If all inhabitants of the Global South had to worry about was obesity, heart disease, and cancer, the world would be a much healthier place. In the relatively ordered world of bipolar rivalry known as the Cold War, such issues were subordinated to the imperatives of superpower competition. How we frame responses to these uncomfortable human realities in the post–Cold War world will . . .

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