Gerard Toal: Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus

Book Review

Javadbay Khalilzada

Gerard Toal: Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus

It is unimaginable that in the 21st century a powerful country could invade a neighboring country and annex part of its territory simply because it does not like its neighbor’s politics. Though there have been some anti-terrorist and regime-change operations by powerful countries like the United States in failed states like Afghanistan or despotic ones like Iraq, the U.S. did not officially annex the countries it occupied. However, as Gerard Toal, political geographer, discusses in his book,…

Political Islam: A Critical Reader

Book Review

Alina Shymanska

Political Islam: A Critical Reader

What is the true meaning of Political Islam? And why do some followers of Islam prefer violence? Where exactly does this violence originate from? These are just a few of the questions raised in the book Political Islam: A Critical Reader, edited by Frédéric Volpi. This book is a collection of articles written by different authors about issues pertaining to Political Islam. Despite being published in 2011, this book continues to be relevant for those researching Political Islam, its rise,…

Would the World Be Better Without the UN?

Book Review

Gregorio Staglianò

Would the World Be Better Without the UN?

The author tries to understand through the whole book whether or not the UN has improved the international scenario since 1945 and to do so, he tries to imagine a world without it, through counter factuality, through mental simulations and “opposing worlds”.In the first part of the book, the author meticulously probes some of the pathologies that afflict the organization born from the ashes of the Second World War. The limits identified are undoubtedly embedded, first of all, in the brakes…

Cyber Security: An Introduction for Non-Technical Managers

Book Review

Gregorio Staglianò

Cyber Security: An Introduction for Non-Technical Managers

In his Cyber Security, Jeremy Swinfen Green provides some insights for ‘non - technical managers’, as the subtitle suggests. His intention is to map, after trying to give a holistic definition of the term, all the risks associated with the improper, malicious or incorrect use of technology, both for individuals and for companies. Understanding where the leak lies is critical in order to develop an effective strategy to address them, especially in a fully digitized world that puts a huge amount…

Thinking Like a Political Scientist

Book Review

Alec Lalonde

Thinking Like a Political Scientist

Christopher Howard, known chiefly for his contributions to the study of American politics with The Hidden Welfare State (1997) and The Welfare State Nobody Knows (2006), makes a pragmatic and unpretentious contribution to the already burgeoning literature on political methodology with Thinking Like a Political Scientist (hereafter TLPS).  Howard puts aside arcane statistical techniques and philosophical reflections in order to impart set vital methodological precepts that undergraduates should…

Gender and Peacebuilding

Book Review

Tabe George Eyong

Gender and Peacebuilding

Gender that refers to a person’s characteristics of either being female or male typically with considerations to social and cultural differences instead of biological ones has remained a much-contested topic in our societies for a very long time. Conversely, the topic of peacebuilding remains a contested topic in security studies and conflict resolution and it is often debated by scholars and policymakers as to who should be involved in peacebuilding operations and who not. Associating these…

Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy: Fifteen Contentious Questions

Book Review

Kacper Szulecki

Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy: Fifteen Contentious Questions

In climate and energy studies, it is not only the continuous rise of global average annual temperatures that is apparent. The temperature of the discussions on policy, governance and technology solutions has also reached a boiling point in many areas. This is most visible in the case of controversial energy generation technologies. Controversial here means, from one or another perspective, nearly all of those that are or may become available. Coal? The dirtiest fuel out there, or – as…

Climate Governance in the Developing World

Book Review

Lapo Degl’Innocenti

Climate Governance in the Developing World

Climate change is a serious issue, and not only from an environmental perspective. Climate governance, a practice once thought to be a concern only for the industrialised Western countries, has recently shifted and tried to include also the heterogeneous developing world, more and more responsible for the total emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and the resulting global warming. Climate governance in the developing world lists and analyses how a specifically chosen sample of developing…

The Third World War: Daesh, Iraq and the management of Barbarism {al-Harb al-'Almīah-at al- ṯ'aliṯ'ah-at: Da'š w al-Iraq w ʾdarah-at al-tawhš}

Book Review

Elaaf Hadi

The Third World War: Daesh, Iraq and the management of Barbarism {al-Harb al-'Almīah-at al- ṯ'aliṯ'ah-at: Da'š w al-Iraq w ʾdarah-at al-tawhš}

Based on documents published for the first time, this book reveals the life and surroundings of the Head of Da'š, also known as ISIS or ISIL in the western world, Abo Baker Albaghdadi. Moreover, the book reveals exclusive statements made by some terrorist leaders, detained in Iraqi jails.     Introduction:  ‘Never have it in mind, meeting one of those 'Brain-washed' jihadists. Between me and him, there was only metal bars of the jail. He was long-bearded, with a pale face. A fanatic look…

 Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System

Book Review

Alexander BETTS, COLLIER, Paul

 Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System

It is often said that you cannot approve nor criticize meat you have not eaten. From a first view, the meat might seem to contain all the ingredients to make it taste best. But after the first bite, you think something is missing to make the meat tasty and delicious. The same could be said of Alexander Betts and Paul Collier book entitled REFUGE Transforming a Broken Refugee System. From the hard cover, a visible boat carrying refugees on the high seas, probably with Syrian or African refugees…

A New Generation Draws the Line: Humanitarian Intervention and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Today

Book Review

Noam CHOMSKY

A New Generation Draws the Line: Humanitarian Intervention and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Today

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a prolific and prodigious writer famous throughout the world for his studies of linguistics and politics. This book is an expanded edition compiled from Noam Chomsky’s articles, lectures, and the book The New Military Humanism. Chomsky’s provocative book examines the nature of Humanitarian Interventionism after the Cold War. For Chomsky, ‘the new era’ in international relations was opened by NATO’s bombing…

Countering Terrorism

Book Review

Martha CRENSHAW and Gary LAFREE. Countering Terrorism.  

Countering Terrorism

In Countering Terrorism, Martha Crenshaw and Gary Lafree provide a very detailed account on global acts of terrorism. What makes the subject so challenging? Why is it so hard for governments to formulate an effective counter-terrorism policy? What are the obstacles that experts face and in what ways can terrorism best be defined, classified, studied and understood in order to design the best possible policies to counter terrorism? These are some of the questions answered in this book, which is…

The Misguided Search for the Political

Book Review

Nick J. Sciullo

The Misguided Search for the Political

In The Misguided Search for the Political, Lois McNay argues that radical democracy suffers from a reliance on abstractions that echo the criticism radical democrats make of traditional liberal democrats.  While radical democracy is often theorized as a critique of the immaterial focus of liberal democracy, it too suffers from the inability to adequately account for the materiality of inequality.  McNay’s book is provocative, readable, and a worthwhile addition to the libraries of political…

Muslims in Putin’s Russia: Discourse on Identity, Politics, and Security

Book Review

Renat Bekkin

Muslims in Putin’s Russia: Discourse on Identity, Politics, and Security

The times when readers in the West learned about Islam in Russia from the books of Sovietologist Alexander Bennigsen, who for objective reasons could not have access to many important sources, have passed away. Over the last couple of decades, many studies giving an idea of the forms of existence of Islam and the life of Russian Muslims in 19-20 centuries have appeared. These are the works written by R. Geraci [Geraci 2001], E. Campbell [Campbell 2015], R. Crews [Crews 2009] and other authors.…

The Arab Spring Five Years Later: Toward Greater Inclusiveness (Volume 1)

Book Review

Nikola Zukalová

The Arab Spring Five Years Later: Toward Greater Inclusiveness (Volume 1)

Since the so-called Arab Spring began in 2011, the selection of Arab countries (re: Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco) and their international partners concentrated mostly on political and identity issues, neglecting the importance of economics, which indirectly triggered the current fluctuating situations in these countries. Following the 2011 uprisings the democratisation of Arab countries did not go as anticipated. Instead, a new phase of instability began, raising serious regional and…

Energy Security

Book Review

Sabit Ibrahim Akca

Energy Security

Increasing dependence of modern societies on energy resources has pushed energy security to the top of the international agenda, turning it into an indispensable means of preserving and advancing economic prosperity. This prosperity, however, is not divided equally among states and the role of multi-billion dollar modern energy systems in controlling energy resources is overwhelming, becoming a root cause of unjust and corrupt social, economic, and political relations. Energy Security, as…

The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon from al-Qaeda to ISIS

Book Review

Wouter Jansen

The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon from al-Qaeda to ISIS

In The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon from al-Qaeda to ISIS, Bernard Rougier provides a very detailed and well-structured account of different historical events, including the Lebanese civil war and the struggle between Lebanon and Syria from the early 1960s until the 1990s, when Northern Lebanon served as the battleground between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Syrian regime. Rougier divided his book in multiple chapters, each focusing on a specific…

The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction

Book Review

Maged Srour

The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction

In mid-2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a move to turn the terrorist group into a territorial entity—a state with borders and, importantly, recognition. The combined weight of local and international efforts limited, retracted and has — by now — overwhelmed ISIS (as a state) and sent the group hurling to the far-flung ‘provinces’ of the Islamic State. Charles Lister’s work (2015) The Islamic State – A Brief Introduction,…

Cyber Policy in China

Book Review

Wonhee Lee

Cyber Policy in China

Greg Austin’s Cyber Policy in China provides an extensive and illuminating survey of China’s quest, since the year 2000, for informatisation—the process by which China is transforming itself into an advanced information society. With his chronological analysis, Austin neatly interweaves nearly 1,000 sources from China and the US, focusing on the interplay between ‘ideal policy values’ in China’s informatisation ambition and ‘leadership values’— such as regime stability, economic nationalism and…

Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need It Most

Book Review

Diletta Fabiani

Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need It Most

In Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need It Most, authors Thomas Dale, David Held and Kevin Young ask: Why are international negotiations increasingly stalling at a time when we desperately need them to efficiently tackle current global issues? According to the authors, international institutions are failing because they are in a state of ‘gridlock’—the concept defined as a ‘specific set of conditions and mechanisms that impede global cooperation in the present day’ (p. 3),…

2021 - Volume 15 Issue 1