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  • Author: Todd H. Hall, Jia Ian Chong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A century has passed since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion a chain of events that would eventually convulse Europe in war. Possibly no conflict has been the focus of more scholarly attention. The questions of how and why European states came to abandon peaceful coexistence for four years of armed hostilities—ending tens of millions of lives and several imperial dynasties—have captivated historians and international relations scholars alike.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Jack Snyder
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One reason why Europe went to war in 1914 is that all of the continental great powers judged it a favorable moment for a fight, and all were pessimistic about postponing the fight until later. On its face, this explanation constitutes a paradox. Still, each power had a superficially plausible reason for thinking this was true.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: M.E. Sarotte
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: For the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), erasing the memory of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square massacre remains a full-time job. The party aggressively monitors and restricts media and internet commentary about the event. As Sinologist Jean-Philippe Béja has put it, during the last two decades it has not been possible "even so much as to mention the conjoined Chinese characters for 6 and 4" in web searches, so dissident postings refer instead to the imaginary date of May 35. Party censors make it "inconceivable for scholars to access Chinese archival sources" on Tiananmen, according to historian Chen Jian, and do not permit schoolchildren to study the topic; 1989 remains a "'forbidden zone' in the press, scholarship, and classroom teaching." The party still detains some of those who took part in the protest and does not allow others to leave the country. And every June 4, the CCP seeks to prevent any form of remembrance with detentions and a show of force by the pervasive Chinese security apparatus. The result, according to expert Perry Link, is that in to-day's People's Republic of China (PRC), "Most young people have barely heard about the events of 1989."
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In East Asia the United States cultivated a "hub and spokes" system of discrete, exclusive alliances with the Republic of Korea, the Republic of China, and Japan, a system that was distinct from the multilateral security alliances it preferred in Europe. Bilateralism emerged in East Asia as the dominant security structure because of the "powerplay" rationale behind U.S. postwar planning in the region. "Powerplay" refers to the construction of an asymmetric alliance designed to exert maximum control over the smaller ally's actions. The United States created a series of bilateral alliances in East Asia to contain the Soviet threat, but a congruent rationale was to constrain "rogue allies"- that is, rabidly anticommunist dictators who might start wars for reasons of domestic legitimacy and entrap the United States in an unwanted larger war. Underscoring the U.S. desire to avoid such an outcome was a belief in the domino theory, which held that the fall of one small country in Asia could trigger a chain of countries falling to communism. The administrations of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower calculated that they could best restrain East Asia's pro-West dictators through tight bilateral alliances rather than through a regionwide multilateral mechanism. East Asia's security bilateralism today is therefore a historical artifact of this choice.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Stacie Goddard
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: From 1864 to 1871, Prussia mounted a series of wars that fundamentally altered the balance of power in Europe. Yet no coalition emerged to check Prussia's rise. Rather than balance against Prussian expansion, the great powers sat on the sidelines and allowed the transformation of European politics. Traditionally, scholars have emphasized structural variables, such as mulitpolarity, or domestic politics as the cause of this "underbalancing." It was Prussia's legitimation strategies, however -- the way Prussia justified its expansion -- that undermined a potential balancing coalition. As Prussia expanded, it appealed to shared rules and norms, strategically choosing rhetoric that would resonate with each of the great powers. These legitimation strategies undermined balancing coalitions through three mechanisms: by signaling constraint, laying rhetorical traps (i.e., framing territorial expansion in a way that deprived others states grounds on which to resist), and increasing ontological security (i.e., demonstrating its need to secure its identity in international politics), Prussia effectively expanded without opposition. An analysis of Prussia's expansion in 1864 demonstrates how legitimation strategies prevented the creation of a balancing coalition.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Prussia