Archives: Glossary


Abraham accords

A joint agreement between Israel, the UAE and the US signed in 2020. Since then, other Arab states have joined the normalisation process (such as Sudan, Morocco and Oman). One of the driving forces behind the accords is to provide a counterforce to Iran. The Abraham accords mark a normalisation of relations between Israel and neighbouring Arab states.

Absolute gains

The overall benefit of a decision on a state or non-state actor regardless of the gains made by others. The concept of absolute gain is rooted within the liberal perspective on international relations. As rational actors, states will recognise the existence of mutual rather than relative benefits.


A concept in which those in power are held answerable for their decisions. There is often a distinction made between horizontal and vertical accountability. The former requires a system of checks and balances between the three branches of government. Vertical accountability entails a role for citizens in acting as a limit upon the powers of government.


Changes made in order to accommodate different circumstances (such as living with the consequences of climate change). Strategies consistent with adaptation include the relocation of settlements in areas most at risk from climate change. Adaptation therefore entails changes within the processes, practices and structures dealing with environmental degradation.


A term used by foreign policy makers to denote the terrorist threat from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.


A strategy associated with the Trump administration in seeking to expand the role of India in the fight against terrorism.

African Continental Free Trade Area

A free trade area amongst members of the African Union. Established in 2021, the agreement seeks to create a single market along similar lines to European integration.

African Monetary Union

The process of deeper monetary integration within the African Union. The AMU is administered by a central bank and seeks to create a single currency along similar lines to the European Union.

African Union

An organisation consisting of member states from the African continent. The African Union was founded in 2001 and replaced the Organisation of African Unity. The regional bloc has created the Pan-African Parliament, a Commission and a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government. The African Union has also established a Peace and Security Council (PSC) in order to enforce and implement decisions.

Amity-enmity complex

A theory put forward by Sir Arthur Keith who claimed that humans evolved a binary distinction between in-groups and out-groups. Members of the former are tolerated whilst outsiders are subject to hostility and discrimination. Human conscience evolved on this basis; which could help explain the intractable character of certain conflicts and tensions within global politics.