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Taking Gender Seriously. Gender, Research and Epistemic Authority
Opening date : Feb 17 2014 00:00 UTC
Closing date : May 31 2014 00:00 UTC
you are raising a very important point, Hady. as I was telling Shehzad, norms and interests are embedded and evolve in process. this evolution can be positive or negative, and in most cases, it can be both.
the example of the laws of war you gave is a very interesting one. you are right by saying that international law and to some extent international ethics - and certainly the just war tradition - have given more latitude to Western states that go to war. in a democratic setting, there is a need to give legitimacy to your decision, this framework is very instrumental from this perspective. so, this would be a negative effect of the use of norms / ethics.
however, one must also see the other side of the coin. the alternative to the use of drones - unmanned vehicles that target individuals - is aerial bombing and as, in the past (ie until Korea / Vietnam), undiscriminate bombing, the most dramatic examples are from WW2, from both sides. compare the number of civilians killed by the Britts and the Americans during WW2 and the number of civilians that those states kill today when they fight (millions in many cases killed intentionnally / thousands as a rule unintentionnally). so norms do orient interests, that is the representation of what is appropriate to do (contingent) orient the way you define your interest in a conflict, hence now new tactics and strategy, that focus on precision instead of total destruction. so counterfactually, had we not see those norms develop, Western wars would have fought less wars, for ex. there would have been no interventions such as Kosovo, or maybe Libya more recently (and, true, many who emphasize the role of interest in determining decision by saying that decisions are interest driven only, and, normatively, decisions should be interest driven, have stood againt those wars), but the ones they would have fought (Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon) would have been much bloodier.
of course, game theorists would not agree with this kind of analysis because it questions their paradigm, yet they would have to explain decisions to intervene that do not fit with their paradigm.
so let's give the humanities a chance, even if we cannot anticipate the consequences of their use.