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Taking Aim at the Arms Trade

Taking Aim at the Arms Trade

Doctor Anna Stavrianakis


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Taking Aim at The Arms Trade: NGOs, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order takes a critical look at the ways in which NGOs portray the arms trade as a problem of international politics and the strategies they use to effect change. NGOs have been pivotal in bringing the suffering caused by the arms trade to public attention, documenting its negative impact on human rights, conflict, security and development around the world, and pushing for measures to control or eradicate the trade. Overall, however, their activity has helped sideline debate on Northern military predominance while facilitating intervention in the South based on liberal understandings of the arms trade, conflict, development and human rights. They thus contribute to the perpetuation of a hierarchical world military order and the construction of the South as a site of Northern benevolence and intervention. Stavrianakis exposes the tensions inherent in NGOs' engagement with the arms trade and argues for a re-examination of dominant assumptions about NGOs as global civil society actors.
'This well-researched, incisive study is essential reading for anyone concerned with the possibilities of change and challenges to military power in our society.' Martin Shaw, University of Sussex 'Anna Stavrianakis has written a critical account of non-governmental activism that challenges preconceived notions of the progressive and benevolent nature of civil society, and sheds light on the complex inter-relationships between states and NGOs, and between interests and power.' Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva 'Anna Stavrianakis brilliantly researched book provides an original and critical examination of the relationship between NGOs and the international arms trade.' Mark Duffield, University of Bristol 'Anna Stavrianakis combines detailed analysis with critical insights in a manner that is both illuminating and stimulating and raises issues that are at the core of civil society. She has written a book that deserves to be read and thought about not just by activists and policy advisers but by anyone in the academic community and, indeed, in politics as a whole, who is concerned with peaceful social change.' Paul Rogers, Bradford University
Anna Stavrianakis is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex. Her main research interests are NGOs and global civil society; the arms trade and military globalisation; and critical approaches to the study of international security.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the author i
Acknowledgements viii
Abbreviations ix
Introduction 1
The cast of characters 4
The argument 8
1 | Conceptualising Global Civil Society 14
Global civil society as a non-state, non-market sphere 15
Global civil society as the locus of progressive values 19
Global civil society? 23
Global civil society as non-violent 28
Conclusion 31
2 | What’s the Problem? NGOs and the Arms Trade 33
Reformists and transformists 34
Military production and trade in the post-Cold War era 40
Imperial hierarchies in the world military order 42
Post-Cold War arms control 51
Two sides of the same coin: complementarity of imperial practices 52
Assessing NGO arguments 55
Conclusion 60
Note 61
3 | NGO Strategies and the Disciplining of Global Civil Society 62
Insiders and outsiders: NGO strategies 63
NGO funding 71
Persuasion versus protest: NGO campaigns since the 1990s 75
Cumulative impact versus undermining of more radical voices 82
Arms capital integration into the state 86
Rethinking global civil society: dual networks 89
Conclusion 91
4 | Arming the North: Transatlantic and European Military Production and Trade 93
Minding the purse strings: the economics of arms exports 94
Intra-Northern military production and trade 100
UK domestic procurement and military posture 101
Asymmetrical UK–US relations 104
European defence collaboration 108
Conclusion 111
5 | Disciplining the South: Development and Human Rights Concerns in the Arms Trade 114
‘Genuine defence needs’: the impact of the arms trade on development 115
Human rights, arms trade wrongs 127
Assessing NGO activity 133
Conclusion 135
Note 135
6 | Disarming the South: Small Arms and Conflict 136
The conflict–security–development nexus 137
NGOs as nodes in strategic complexes of global liberal governance 146
Small arms as an ideological battleground in global civil society 149
Assessing NGO activity 155
Conclusion 160
7 | NGOs, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order 163
Dual networks 164
Progressive values, liberalism and the normalisation of imperial practices 167
Insiders, outsiders, cumulative impact and social forces 170
Reproducing hierarchy: global civil society and North–South relations 172
Marginalisation of questions of violence 175
Perpetuation of a hierarchical world military order 176
Ramifications for NGO practice 181
Bibliography 183
Index 208