It's all about the love here on the London Village Show. Things big and small. Londoner's london, podcasting from depths of Elephant and Castle, We find out what going down with the kids, and we're up with all the culture voltures too. Global friends come find out what london living all about..

YouTube Comedy


Perhaps the most inaccurate label ever to used ever is the comedy category on YouTube. I'm fed up of people going stupid things and it being called comedy.

Let’s see how the professionals do it. Because they do it better:

Go see pure comedy, locally.

Chris Rock

Ross Noble

Jesus Came to Dan and I in Phase Last Friday


Armando Iannucci Does not Know of The London Village Show


It's not really news, I just assuming he knows nothing about the LVS, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't know more about him. However what Armando on Wikipedia fails to mention is that Armando is a very funny man. He has just one fault, Armando excels at situation and character development however in it always seems a little flat. To droll, with no punch lines or pace change. But funny nether the less. If you like the YouTube, watch the rest of the show on the Time Trumpet website.

How Realistic is Realism?


Why Read this essay? I think it explains a lot about why the world is a nasty place.

I'm going to discuss that with specific reference to the nature and incidence of war in the contemporary international system.

The phrasing of the question is ambiguous, how real is anything? Not wanting to engage in the moot subject of metaphysics, in this essay something is real when enough people consider it to be real. This essay will argue that it is possible to apply and successfully test established realist theories of conflict in our post-Cold-War world. Furthermore, this essay sets out to show that realism is ingrained in western thought to such an extent that Realism has become more than posthumous theory testing; but has become a framework on which foreign policy makers from all major powers consistently shape their policies upon. Realism is real, not because it touches upon any fundamental truth of humanity, although many would argue it does, but because of Realist’s ability to influence foreign policy. Realism is self-perpetuating; theories become policies that in turn become evidence for the existence of theories.

Realism is not a single theory, with over two thousand four hundred year of history it has been adapted and modified over the centuries into many different forms. The phenotype of realism may change slightly to better reflect the differing realities of the contemporary international system but the genotype remains the same, with three core assumptions, the balance of power between great powers, the primacy of the state in the international system and the pursuit of security through power maximisation as the states sole objective.

The 1990-1991 Gulf War is nothing more than a case study of realpolitik, with the three core assumptions of Realism evident throughout. The balance of power between states in the Middle East was radically altered when Iraq invaded Kuwait on the 2nd August 1990. The world lead by the USA acted to restore a stabile balance of power to the region. This Realist interpretation of the world emphasising the importance of the balance of power was shown to be shared by the policy makers of the twenty-eight strong coalition that acted against Iraq. Twenty-eight independent countries all implemented foreign policy based on a core theoretical assertion of realism. This demonstrates not only the wide expectance of realism, which makes it real; but the widespread implementation of theory constructs the world in a realist fashion – which directly makes realism tangibly real.

The widespread acceptance of realism by Policy Makers is shown in the way the decision to act was calculated. It could be argued that the choice was made not on ethical or moral grounds, but with a very realist eye of cool dispassionate analysis. The coalition acted because it was in many countries best interests to ensure Saddam Hussein did not destabilise or disrupt the vital oil supply originating from the region. If Saddam had successfully annexed Kuwait, he would control twenty per-cent of the world’s oil supplies and domination of OPEC. In addition, Saddam would be in a position to threaten the next most plentiful source of oil, Saudi Arabia. As Friedman puts it, ‘the interest at stake may be, in short, to make the world safe for gas guzzlers’. Realist saw the potential for Iraq to make a relative gain in power by crippling western economies by staving them of oil, and with the proceeds of this operation acquire more advanced weaponry. Although it is difficult to posthumously dissect the reasons why states took action against Iraq, it is useful to understand that the need for action was not understood solely in terms moral and ethics, but of power, in this policy makers are subscribing to a realist view of the world.

The means that the decision makers chose, the use of military force, in order to remove Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait reaffirms realist’s view of the world. One of the core assumptions of Realism understands a states power is primarily measured by its capability to apply military force in order to compel another to do ones will. It is important to note that the threat of the use of force in UN Security Council resolutions 660 and 678 had no impact upon the policies of Saddam Hussein. Military strength only translates into political influence when force is used. Foreign Policy makers dealing with Iraq in 1991 all displayed realist tendencies, excepting that force is the lowest common denominator and that in order to effect change, no amount of international law or negation was going to work, only force.

The same ethos was evident in subsequent international incidents. The NATO alliance reverted to the use of force to achieve it objectives in the Kosovo Crisis of 1999 and the USA and her allies did the same in Iraq during 2003. The Kosovo Crisis and Iraq 2003, illustrates that although foreign policy makers will seek a solution working within Liberal Institutions such as the UN, they understand the world as fundamentally realist place, and force is needed to effect change. This is illustrated in Kosovo with NATO’s decision not to seek a UN Security Council resolution for permission to bomb the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Similarly, the Gulf War 2003 was not directly sanctioned by the UN. Many called the war illegal, however in a realist manner, policy makers did not let international law stop them achieving their objectives.

Many non-Realists would argue that the reason for intervening in Kosovo and Iraq was humanitarian. There are two arguments that realists would put forward, debunking this Liberal view of the world. Firstly, failed states like Iraq and Kosovo pose a threat to the their security. The anarchy that exists within failed states can be exploited by individuals who follow deeply destabilising policy of ethnic homogony or terrorism. It is in the security interests of great powers to intervene in failed states and restore order to prevent these destabilising policies from being initiated. Leading International Relations theorist R Keohane states ‘the distinction between self-defence and humanitarian intervention may become less clear. Future military action in failed states, or attempts to bolster states that are in danger of failing, may be more likely to be described both as self-defence and as humanitarian or public-spirited’. The wish for security leads invariably to the intervention and maybe pre-emption in the case of failing states. However the prime motivation for action is security, this is unchanging realist policy.

A more orthodox realist argument of why the NATO intervened in Kosovo in 1999 can be found in the core assumption of realism, the balance of power between great states. Both Russia and China ineffectively tried to stop an intervention into Kosovo by vetoing the UN Security Council resolution that would make the bombing of Kosovo legal. The USA with superior force easily gained submission from the Serbs and by proxy the weaker powers of Russia and China. This abstract idea of powers balancing against each other was shown to be real when the USA bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, it is speculated that this was not an accident, but a deliberate strike to end intelligence sharing between China and the Serbs. This is classic realism. Force wins through, a balance of power attempted, but the stronger force gains victory.

A broader criticism of Realism can be raised through the ease by which the policy of the US is translated into actions in the contemporary international system. According to realism, the world should balance into a bi-polar or tri-polar world. However, now the US is the sole superpower and this presents realists with uni-polar world. Realists argue that power takes time to balance; possibilities of balance include a stronger China. Foreign policy analysts have long seen this possibility. Russia’s recent suspected involvement in the Ukraine, trying to keep pro European and NATO Viktor Yushchenko out of power in favour of a pro-Russian candidate, signs that Russia Policy makers clearly understand the importance of Power. Similarly, the EU approved a ‘Rapid Reaction Force’ that could be seen as the first stages of a standing European army, although this is denied by UK defence minister Mr. Hoon. Realist see this a move by the EU to strengthen its position in the world in a very realist way.

The events of September 11th 2002 provide critics of Realism with one of the main arguments cited against the reality of Realism; that of the rise of translational non-state actors such as Al’Qaeda. According to Realism, the most important actors in the international environment are states. Taking a cold distant perspective on the world, although the felling of the World Trade Centre was spectacular and certainly changed peoples perception the world, there have been no significant acts by a non-state actor since. The international environment is still dominated by states. Realist perspective on the War on Terror is best summed up by Mearsheimer ‘[it] will be played out in the state arena, and, therefore, all of the Realist logic about state behaviour will have a significant effect on how the war on terrorism is fought. So Realism and terrorism are inextricably linked.’

The manor in which analysts view the contemporary international system and war have on many levels not changed from Thucydides observations of the Peloponnesian War. Realism being so established is often the reason why it is the default way of analysis and because as Colin Gray puts it ‘they [classical realist texts] got things right enough’ . Policy makers follow Realism because the use of force is advocated; Foreign policy should ensure security, which is ultimately threatened by lowest common detonator, force. If one state adopts a realist foreign policy and the use of force, all other states, to ensure security should adopt a realist outlook. If policy makers construct a world from Realism, realism cannot fail in being realistic.

The London Village Show Contribution


This is Dan and I contribution to Britain's fastest growing holiday. Horrific

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