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The United States and the International Criminal Court: An Identity Approach
Linköping University, Department of Management and Economics.
2004 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to understand the reasons behind the decision of the United States to stand in opposition to the International Criminal Court. This policy seems to contradict the United States'leading role in international justice and commitment to universal human rights. The opposition to the ICC presents an apparent contradiction between principles and interests, and provokes the question of what role power, identity and principles play in the formation of national interest.

The author reviews the concept of national interest in International Relations theory. It is found that only a constructivist identity approach takes account of both power and identity in the formation of national interest. The constructivist identity approach presents the concept of national interest as endogenous to social interaction and linked to identity. National interest is thus not seen as an objective analytical concept from which one can derive and explain rational behavior by rational actors, but as the very phenomenon that we are trying to understand. This theoretical framework is firmly located in an understanding tradition.

In the search for an understanding of why the United States’ decision-makers considered opposition to the ICC to be in the national interest of the United States, role theory serves as a method. The empirical part of this thesis consists of analysis of speeches and statements, and of role conceptions found therein.

The results of this approach show that the apparent contradiction between principles and interests does not exist. The reason why the behavior examined appears to be contradictory is that the spectator lets his or her own expectations of behavior appropriate for a certain belief or a certain role conception stand as a guide. The only way we can understand the reasons behind a given behavior is by looking at the actors’ view of the problem and what beliefs and role conceptions come into play for the actors when they face a foreign policy issue.

The analysis makes it clear that the United States views its behavior as contradictory neither to its principles, nor to its perceived roles. Instead, it is the roles of the United States, the sources of which include both principles and capabilities, that are the reasons behind the policy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ekonomiska institutionen , 2004. , 97 p.
International Master's Programme in International and European Relations, 2004:6
Keyword [en]
Social sciences, United States, International Criminal Court, International Relations, Identity, Power, National Interest, Constructivism, Role Theory
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-2505OAI: diva2:19839
Available from: 2004-10-04 Created: 2004-10-04

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