2007b – "'Has the threat from 'rogue states' been grossly exaggerated?"

Christian Bühlmann (2007) "Has the threat from 'rogue states' been grossly exaggerated?" MA study, RCDS, London, unpublished


Has the threat from 'rogue states' been grossly exaggerated? Before this interrogation can be dealt
with, there is a need to deconstruct it: Even though the term of rogue states is enclosed within
quotation marks, suggesting a misnomer, the question assumes that (1) the concept relates to a valid analytical model, (2) ‘rogue states’ can be linked together around a common ‘threat’ and (3) this
menace can be assessed. It finally ponders that (4) this evaluation might have been blatantly
overstated. Yet, as I will demonstrate later, this concept is much more an American political and
rhetorical tool than an academic category. Thus, answering the question may seem problematic as
one must (1) assume the reality of the ‘rogue states’ paradigm, while it appears to be a political
construct and (2), one has to consider that ‘rogue states’ present a similar class of danger, while, in
fact, they emerge as inconsistently linked together. Yet, this theme is nevertheless relevant, as the
notion of 'rogue states' has shaped the US foreign and defence policies since the end of the Cold
Aim and scope
In this essay, I aim to appraise the threat posed by ‘rogue states’ and show that the concept was
developed in the US for domestic and international reasons, and that it contains a risk of the US
This essay contains four parts: (1) An historical description, (2) a critical appraisal, (3) a synthesis,
and (4) a conclusion. It will only discuss the US understanding of rogue state as part of its modernday doctrine.