War will prompt rethink of theory

April 11, 2003

The war in Iraq is likely to transform scholarly thinking on politics for years to come, academics said this week.

Popular theories in the areas of international relations, international security and strategic studies may have to be overhauled in the light of the events of the past few months. The role of military action in maintaining or upsetting global stability would also need rethinking, they said.

Adrian Hyde-Price, professor of politics and international relations at Leicester University, will chair a round-table debate on the issue at next week's annual conference of the Political Studies Association at the university.

He said the Iraq war posed major questions about the future of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union that would affect academic thinking. "The war has shown fundamental divisions on foreign policy within the EU to the extent that it's difficult to know what common policy there can be," he added.

Christian Schweigher, a PhD student who has tabled a paper for the debate on the impact that the US stance against Iraq is likely to have on relations within the EU, said the war was likely to harden academic opinion against the US.

"Even those who have not been very pro-Europe seem to be very sceptical about the transatlantic relationship with the US," he said.

Professor Hyde-Price said: "What we are seeing is the emergence of a more balanced assessment of the nature of security and a realisation that if we are working on a broader understanding, then the military dimension is important and has been under-theorised by academics."

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