The "War on Terror" and the Growth of Executive Power?: A Comparative Analysis


The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington prompted a "global war on terror" that led to a significant shift in the balance of executive-legislative power in the United States towards the executive at the expense of the Congress.

In this volume, seasoned scholars examine the extent to which terrorist threats and counter-terrorism policies led uniformly to the growth of executive or Government power at the expense of legislatures and parliaments in other political systems, ...

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The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington prompted a "global war on terror" that led to a significant shift in the balance of executive-legislative power in the United States towards the executive at the expense of the Congress.

In this volume, seasoned scholars examine the extent to which terrorist threats and counter-terrorism policies led uniformly to the growth of executive or Government power at the expense of legislatures and parliaments in other political systems, including those of Australia, Britain, Canada, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, and Russia. The contributors question whether the "crises" created by 9/11 and subsequent attacks, led inexorably to executive strengthening at the expense of legislatures and parliaments. The research reported finds that democratic forces served to mitigate changes to the balance of legislative and executive power to varying degrees in different political systems.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers of Comparative Government Politics and International Politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘The War on Terror and the Growth of Executive Power? A Comparative Analysis is an invaluable cross-national study of the balancing of institutional forces in responding to terrorism. John Owens and Ricardo Pelizzo have brought together an outstanding array of scholars to inquire as to the institutional equilibrium as that has evolved - and the causes of it - in systems as diverse as the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, and Indonesia. Owens and Pelizzo have assessed the institutional responses in the USA and Italy, respectively, and they have combined to write a notable introduction to this book. What is most remarkable is the range of responses that has occurred across these varied political systems as well as the frequently counter-intuitive nature of the responses. For those interested in the dynamics of comparative constitutionalism under duress and of inter-institutional relationships, The War on Terror and the Growth of Executive Power is as essential as it is enlightening.’ - Bert A. Rockman, Purdue University; co-editor of Presidential Leadership: The Vortex of Power; The George W. Bush Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects; Institutions and Democratic Statecraft; and Do Institutions Matter? Government Capabilities in the U.S. and Abroad.

‘In a timely and original book, the authors merge together two traditionally separate literatures to assess in a number of important cases the impact of extraordinary critical events, such as terrorist attacks, on the domestic relationships between the executive and legislature. The reaction of democratic institutions is brilliantly singled out and shows, contra Carl Schmitt, that critical events do not always lead to an erosion of democratic quality.’ - Leonardo Morlino, Jean Monnet Professor of Political Science, Instituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, Florence; President of the International Political Science Association, and author of Assessing the Quality of Democracy and Rule of Law and Democracy.

‘A well-focused, highly informative and nuanced comparative study of shifting executive-legislative relations during the first years of the US-led 'war on terror'. John Owens and Riccardo Pelizzo are to be congratulated for bringing together competent contributors writing on eight cases, including not only the US and the UK, but also the less frequently covered Russia, Australia and Indonesia. They help to understand why in some cases executives were less successful in loosening parliamentary controls over their often-problematic conduct. The book offers plenty of material to advance theory, but also to mount a critique of some of the excesses of executive power in response to jihadist extremism.’ - Christoph O. Meyer, King's College, London. Editor of Europe’s Response to International Terrorism and author of The Quest for a European Strategic Culture

‘Taking advantage of the research opportunity presented by world-wide terrorist attacks, this volume examines the resulting balance of executive-legislative relations through both a multi-country and longitudinal research design. While the executive gained power over the legislature in Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the results were different in Australia, Indonesia, Israel and Italy. This readable set of essays on seven political systems differing greatly in constitutional structure, democratic stability and religious identities, highlights the utility of real time comparative research in a global age.’ - David M. Olson, Co-Director of the Center for Legislative Studies, University of North Carolina. Author of Democratic Legislative Institutions: A Comparative View

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John E. Owens is Professor of United States Government and Politics at the University of Westminster, UK, and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at the American University in Washington, DC

Riccardo Pelizzo is Research Fellow in the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University, Australia

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

List of Plates

Chapter One Introduction 1

1.1 Paradoxes 1

1.2 The Objective of this Book 3

1.3 Concerns 5

1.4 Haunting Questions 6

1.5 Conceptual Gaps 9

1.6 The State of Exception 16

1.7 Beyond Liberal Democracy 17

1.7.1 Bare Life 18

1.7.2 The Zone of Exception 20

1.8 Legal Exceptionalism 23

1.9 Structure and Method 26

Part One The Force Of A Forceless Law

Chapter Two Legal Nihilism State of Exception 33

2.1 Anomie 34

2.2 Exceptions in China's Constitutional Law Martial Law and Emergency Powers 41

2.2.1 Martial Law Powers 42

2.2.2 Emergency Powers 48

2.3 Exceptions in China's Criminal Law 56

2.4 "Evil Cults" 59

2.4.1 Religious Groups and the Law 60

2.4.2 The Falungong and Article 300 62

2.4.3 Is Meditation a Crime? 65

2.4.4 The 6-10 Office 66

2.5 Conclusion 70

Chapter Three Shuanggui 71

3.1 The CCP's Regulatory Powers 72

3.1.1 Jurisdiction 73

3.1.2 A Parallel Criminal Code 77

3.2 Investigative and Detention Powers 82

3.2.1 Historical Antecedents 82

3.2.2 From Summons to Investigative Detention 86

3.2.3 From Investigative Detention to Shuanggui 88

3.3 Why Shuanggui? 96

3.4 Enforcing Shuanggui 100

3.4.1 Harsh Interrogation Techniques 103

3.4.2 Psychological Manipulation 105

3.5 Conclusion 108

Chapter Four Stop-and-Question 111

4.1 Precursors of Criminal Behavior? 112

4.2 Stop-and-Question 115

4.3 The Difference between Stop-and-Question and Summons 119

4.4 Problems and Abuses 122

4.5 Disposable Beings 128

4.6 Reforming Stop-and-Question? 132

4.7 Conclusion 137

Part Two Exceptions In Everyday Spaces

Chapter Five Para-Police Forces 141

5.1 The Birth and Revival of Para-Police Forces 142

5.2 Legal Mechanisms 144

5.3 Public Order Joint Defense Teams 147

5.3.1 Powers 149

5.3.2 Composition, Organizational Structure, and Relationship with the Regular Police Force 152

5.4 Private Security Companies 154

5.4.1 Typology, Relationship with the Regular Police Force, and Composition 157

5.4.2 Enhancing Police Control 159

5.5 Urban Management Officials 161

5.5.1 Legalizing Inspection Teams 163

5.5.2 Administrative Law Enforcement Departments 165

5.6 Urban Divides 167

Chapter Six The Camp 175

6.1 The Evolving Legal Regime 1990-2008 176

6.2 The Roots 183

6.3 Birth of the Camp 187

6.4 Rebirth of the Camp 190

6.5 Compulsory Rehabilitation and RETL 197

6.6 Commitment to Health-Recovery Centers 202

6.7 Conclusion 205

Chapter Seven Coercive Interrogation 207

7.1 The Transformation to Bare Life 208

7.2 The PRC Media and Torture 210

7.2.1 Torture in the Press 211

7.2.2 Torture on the Internet 212

7.3 Lifting Pain out of the Body 218

7.4 Posthumous Rehabilitation 222

7.5 Episodes of Ordinary Violence 225

7.6 Friends and Enemies 226

7.7 Reform? 229

7.8 Conclusion 238

Chapter Eight Conclusion 241

8.1 Mapping Exceptions 242

8.2 Resilience 243

8.3 Dual Structures 246

8.4 Modes of Exception 248

8.5 Modes of Bare Life 250

8.6 The Power and Limitations of Grand Theory 253

List of Legal Documents 259

Reference List 317

Index 355

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