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  • Author: Nuno P. Monteiro, Alexandre Debs
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What causes nuclear proliferation? What role do security threats play in driving states to acquire nuclear weapons? Intuitively, security is the most important factor driving nuclear acquisition. Yet existing security theories of proliferation, while accounting for why some states with grave security concerns have developed nuclear weapons, are unable to explain why others have not. Today only nine states have the bomb, a number much lower than the pessimistic predictions made by early security-based arguments on the causes of proliferation. Clearly, the view that "security is the only necessary and sufficient cause of nuclear proliferation" is not borne out by the history of the nuclear age. This limitation of existing security theories has exposed them to criticism on several fronts. Initially, a burgeoning scholarship emerged focusing on the nonsecurity "sources of the political demand for nuclear weapons." More recently, "supply-side" arguments on proliferation view states' demand for nuclear weapons (for security or other reasons) as largely irrelevant, claiming instead that the odds of nuclear acquisition depend on the availability of international nuclear assistance.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Adam P. Liff
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the post–Cold War period, scholars have considered the Asia Pacific to be ripe for military competition and conflict. Developments over the past decade have deepened these expectations. Across the region, rising military spending and efforts of various states to bolster their military capabilities appear to have created an increasingly volatile climate, along with potentially vicious cycles of mutual arming and rearming. In this context, claims that China's rapid economic growth and surging military spending are fomenting destabilizing arms races and security dilemmas are widespread. Such claims make for catchy headlines, yet they are rarely subject to rigorous empirical tests. Whether patterns of military competition in the Asia Pacific are in fact attributable to a security dilemma–based logic has important implications for international relations theory and foreign policy. The answer has direct consequences for how leaders can maximize the likelihood that peace and stability will prevail in this economically and strategically vital region. A systematic empirical test derived from influential theoretical scholarship on the security dilemma concept assesses the drivers of bilateral and multilateral frictions and military competition under way in the Asia Pacific. Security dilemma–driven competition appears to be an important contributor, yet the outcome is not structurally determined. Although this military competition could grow significantly in the near future, there are a number of available measures that could help to ameliorate or manage some of its worst aspects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Lee J. M. Seymour
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Side switching by armed groups is a prominent feature of many civil wars. Shifts in alignment have far-reaching consequences, influencing key outcomes such as civil war duration and termination, military effectiveness, levels of civilian victimization, and state-building prospects. In Sudan's wars, ideological and ethnic cleavages have not influenced factional alignments nearly as much as one might expect given the prominence of clashing political projects and ethnically organized violence in southern Sudan and Darfur. Recent explanations highlighting the role of territorial control, factional infighting, or relative power considerations also have limited value. In many wars fought in weak states characterized by low barriers to side switching, two mechanisms explain patterns of collaboration and defection: first, political rivalries that lead actors to collaborate in exchange for military support in localized struggles; and second, patronage-based incentives that induce collaboration for material gain. A nested analysis drawing on original data from wars in southern Sudan and Darfur supports this argument. The findings have implications for understanding alignments in civil wars, the role of weak states in counterinsurgency, and ethnic politics more generally, as well as policy relevance for factionalized civil wars.
  • Topic: Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Darfur
  • Author: Khalid Homayun Nadiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, Pakistan has pursued seemingly incongruous courses of action in Afghanistan. It has participated in the U.S. and international intervention in Afghanistan at the same time as it has permitted much of the Afghan Taliban's political leadership and many of its military commanders to visit or reside in Pakistani urban centers. This incongruence is all the more puzzling in light of the expansion of indiscriminate and costly violence directed against Islamabad by Pakistani groups affiliated with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan's policy is the result not only of its enduring rivalry with India but also of historically rooted domestic imbalances and antagonistic relations with successive governments in Afghanistan. Three critical features of the Pakistani political system—the militarized nature of foreign policy making, ties between military institutions and Islamist networks, and the more recent rise of grassroots violence—have contributed to Pakistan's accommodation of the Afghan Taliban. Additionally, mutual suspicion surrounding the contentious Afghanistan-Pakistan border and Islamabad's long record of interference in Afghan politics have continued to divide Kabul and Islamabad, diminishing the prospect of cooperation between the two capitals. These determinants of Pakistan's foreign policy behavior reveal the prospects of and obstacles to resolving the numerous issues of contention that characterize the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship today.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Sumit Ganguly
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, Gary Bass convincingly argues that the Nixon administration did little to rein in its ally Pakistan from perpetuating genocide against its own population largely because of Islamabad's vital role in facilitating U.S. diplomatic contact with the People's Republic of China. He also shows how the low strategic significance of South Asia for much of the global community, combined with an inordinate regard for the norm of sovereignty, led to a lack of support for the principle of humanitarian intervention. The Blood Telegram partially affirms the proposition that acts of genocide can stem from the choices of a handful of individuals who are determined to achieve a political goal using all available means.
  • Topic: Genocide
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia
  • Author: Jon R. Lindsay, Lucas Kello
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Jon R. Lindsay responds to Lucas Kello's fall 2013 International Security article, "The Meaning of the Cyber Revolution: Perils to Theory and Statecraft."
  • Topic: Security
  • Author: Jon R. Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The ubiquity and interconnectedness of computers in global commerce, civil society, and military affairs create crosscutting challenges for policy and conceptual confusion for theory. The challenges and confusion in cybersecurity are particularly acute in the case of China, which has one of the world's fastest growing internet economies and one of its most active cyber operations programs. In 2013 U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon singled out Chinese cyber intrusions as “not solely a national security concern or a concern of the U.S. government,” but also a major problem for firms suffering from “sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies . . . emanating from China on an unprecedented scale.” One U.S. congressman alleged that China has “established cyber war military units and laced the U.S. infrastructure with logic bombs.” He suggested that “America is under attack by digital bombs.” The discourse on China and cybersecurity routinely conflates issues as different as political censorship, unfair competition, assaults on infrastructure, and internet governance, even as all loom large for practical cyber policy. Although they involve similar information technologies, there is little reason to expect different political economic problems to obey the same strategic logic, nor should one necessarily expect China to enjoy relative advantage in all spheres.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Can great powers reach confident conclusions about the intentions of their peers? The answer to this question has important implications for U.S. national security policy. According to one popular view, the United States and China are destined to compete unless they can figure out each other's designs. A recent Brookings Institution report warns that although “Beijing and Washington seek to build a constructive partnership for the long run,” they may be headed for trouble given their “mutual distrust of [the other's] long-term intentions.” Similarly, foreign policy experts James Steinberg and Michael O'Hanlon argue that “trust in both capitals...remains scarce, and the possibility of an accidental or even intentional conflict between the United States and China seems to be growing.” Reversing this logic, many analysts believe that U.S.-China relations may improve if the two sides clarify their intentions. Thus the Pentagon's latest strategic guidance document declares that if China wants to “avoid causing friction” in East Asia, then its military growth must be “accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions.” Meanwhile China scholars Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell recommend that even as the United States builds up its capabilities and alliances, it should “reassure Beijing that these moves are intended to create a balance of common interests rather than to threaten China.”
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Aisha Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many intractable civil wars take place in countries with large Muslim populations. In these protracted conflicts, Islamists are often just one of many actors fighting in a complex landscape of ethnic, tribal, and political violence. Yet, certain Islamist groups compete exceptionally well in these conflicts. Why do Islamists sometimes gain power out of civil war stalemates? Although much of the existing research points to either ethnic or religious motivations, I argue that there are also hard economic reasons behind the rise of Islamist power. In this article, I offer a micro-political economy model of Islamist success in civil war that highlights the role of an important, but often-overlooked, class: the local business community.
  • Topic: Security, Islam
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Jaganath Sankaran
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In April 2011, Pakistan announced the latest addition to its expanding nuclear arsenal: a short-range tactical ballistic missile, the Nasr, reportedly designed to deliver low-yield battlefield nuclear weapons. Since then, prominent purveyors of Pakistani nuclear doctrine—including Maleeha Lodhi, Adil Sultan, Zahir Kazmi, and Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai—have, in essence, viewed Nasr as a counter to India's Cold Start war doctrine. Proponents of Nasr imagine the weapon being used against invading Indian armored units inside Pakistani territory. After the latest flight test of the Nasr in February 2013, Pakistan declared it ready for use, though it has not yet been added to the military's inventory.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Is there an oil weapon? Concern about the use of oil as an instrument of coercion has been central to state intervention in oil markets. Historically, the U.S. government sought to ensure access for domestic firms in the Middle East on national security grounds. Current U.S. national security strategy identifies the importance of Middle Eastern oil production to the global oil market as justification for retaining a military presence in the region. Conversely, rising U.S. oil production in the 2000s leads some analysts to propose that the United States should reduce its military presence in the Persian Gulf.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: To the Editors (Raymond Kuo writes): For decades, evolutionary psychologists have offered explanations for complex human behaviors. These efforts are typically plagued by methodological problems, including unfalsifiability, reasoning by analogy, and endogeneity. Dominic Johnson and Monica Duffy Toft's evolutionary explanation for the unique place of territory in human conflict stumbles on these same grounds. Johnson and Toft argue that humans—perhaps all vertebrates—have evolved a propensity for territoriality, incurring higher costs and fighting harder for land as compared with other sources of conflict. Their claims suffer from four problems, however. First, their understanding of evolution is imprecise and problematic, employing what is known as the “adaptationist fallacy” in lieu of clearly specifying a causal, biological mechanism. Second, they fail to sharply distinguish their account from plausible nonbiological alternatives. Third, they invite significant endogeneity problems by crossing the species barrier and traversing multiple levels of analysis. Fourth, they neglect cutting-edge research pointing to the limits of biological inheritance and evolutionary effects on behavior. Ultimately, their approach adds little to scholars' understanding of territoriality.
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Gaurav Kampani provides a compelling account of the evolution of India's nuclear weapons program from 1989 to 1999 and rightly highlights how the need for secrecy “stymied India's operational advances.” “Secrecy concerns,” he argues, “prevented decisionmakers and policy planners from decomposing problem sets and parceling them out simultaneously for resolution to multiple bureaucratic actors, including the military” (p. 82). In his eagerness to argue this point, however, Kampani is too quick to dismiss other explanations for India's slow pace of operationalization. In this letter, I argue that a more complete account of “New Delhi's long nuclear journey” should incorporate civil-military relations as another influential fact.
  • Political Geography: India, New Delhi
  • Author: Monica Duffy Toft, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Badme region in the Horn of Africa is claimed by both Ethiopia and Eritrea. It contains few natural resources, and neither state considers it to have strategic value. As one local merchant put it, however, "It's territory, you know. We'll die for our country."
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Author: Kathleen M. Vogel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In September 2011, scientists in the Netherlands announced new experimental findings that would not only threaten the conduct and publication of influenza research, but would have significant policy and intelligence implications. Ron Fouchier, an influenza virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, declared at the Fourth European Scientific Working Group on Influenza in Malta that his research group had created a modified variant of the H5N1 avian influenza virus (hereafter the H5N1 virus) that was transmissible via aerosol between ferrets. Until that point, the H5N1 virus, which can be lethal to humans, was known to be transmissible only through direct, physical contact with infected animals.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • Author: Peter Krause
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When do national movements succeed? Specifically, when and why does the use of violence by armed groups within such movements help to achieve their strategic objectives, such as international recognition, territorial control, and the creation of new states? Two recent struggles shed light on the debate among policymakers and scholars.
  • Author: Burak Kadercan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why are some states more willing to adopt military innovations than others? Why, for example, were the great powers of Europe able to successfully reform their military practices to better adapt to and participate in the so-called military revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while their most important extra- European competitor, the Ottoman Empire, failed to do so? The conventional wisdom suggests that cultural factors, including religious beliefs and a misplaced sense of superiority, blinded Ottoman rulers to the utility of innovations stemming from this military revolution, which involved radical changes in military strategy and tactics. The implication is that these rulers were almost suicidal, resisting military reforms until the early nineteenth century despite suffering continuous defeats for more than two hundred years. Such thinking follows not from a close reading of the historical and sociological literature on the Ottoman Empire, but from an Orientalist view of non-Western political organizations that plagues not only international relations theory but also military history.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yuen Foong Khong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One of the early exhibits of the 2010 Shanghai Expo that greeted the visitor was a display of the Chinese living room through time. What made the otherwise prosaic display rise above the ordinary was its point of departure: the year 1978. The 1978 room was dim, dowdy, and equipped with the most basic furniture, reflecting a poor household. The 1988 living room offered visible improvements, while the 1998 living room had many, but not all, of the accoutrements of the middleclass living room. The 2008 living room—whether aspiration or reality—had it all: ambient lighting, leather sofas, and a plasma television screen. The message was clear: China today would prefer not to dwell on the past; the focus needs to be on economic modernization and its payoffs that began with Deng Xiaoping's opening up of China's economy in 1978.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Alastair Iain Johnston, Xiaoyu Pu, Dingding Chen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In "How New and Assertive Is China's New Assertiveness?" Iain Johnston argues that China's recent foreign policy is not as assertive as many scholars and pundits contend. Johnston's study is a welcome addition to the literature on Chinese foreign policy in three respects. First, it is the most comprehensive study by a leading China scholar on China's new assertiveness. Second, it challenges the conventional understanding that this assertiveness is both unprecedented and aggressive by design. Third, it addresses potential problems of overestimating the threat from China.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Alexander B. Downes, Jonathan Monten, William G. Nomikos
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Alexander Downes and Jonathan Monten's article "Forced to Be Free? Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Rarely Leads to Democratization" offers important contributions to the study of foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC). The authors should be commended for their use of advanced empirical methods to tackle such an important substantive question. According to Downes and Monten, past research on the democratizing effect of foreign-imposed regime change has overemphasized the characteristics of the intervener and underemphasized the existing preconditions for democracy in the state targeted for intervention. Rather than the FIRC itself, it is these preconditions, Downes and Monten suggest, that explain whether a given state will or will not democratize. That is, their argument posits that targets of FIRC that democratize would have done so independently of the foreign intervention.
  • Topic: Regime Change
  • 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: Etel Solingen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The sources of World War I are numerous and widely studied. Some scholars have argued that they are underdetermining individually but overdetermining collectively. The purpose of this article is not to fuel the battle among theories claiming complete explanatory power, but rather to examine some lessons for contemporary international relations. Much of the recent commentary on the war's centenary evokes similarities between Germany in 1914 and China in 2014, and between globalization then and now. There are crucial differences on both accounts, however.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: China, Germany
  • 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: Tanisha M. Fazel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Several recent books argue that war is on the decline. In Winning the War on War, for example, Joshua Goldstein lauds the recent successes of the peacemaking community in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast. In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker writes that not only war but violence in general has become much less common, as the civilizing forces of literacy and modern government have tempered our baser instincts and allowed our "better angels" to prevail.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Jerry Mark Long, Alex S. WIlner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Al-Qaida has established a metanarrative that enables it to recruit militants and supporters. The United States and its allies can challenge its ability to do so by delegitimizing the ideological motivations that inform that metanarrative.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Liam Anderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Critics of ethnofederalism— a political system in which federal subunits reflect ethnic groups' territorial distribution—argue that it facilitates secession and state collapse. An examination of post-1945 ethnofederal states, however, shows that ethnofederalism has succeeded more often than not.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Jerry Mark Long, Alex S. WIlner
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Deterring terrorism is no longer a provocative idea. Whereas U.S. President George W. Bush was emphatic that "unlike the Soviet Union the terrorist enemies... cannot be deterred," the emerging consensus among both academics and policy practitioners today is that under certain conditions deterrence theory can be applied to terrorists and terrorism. Scholars have begun to propose, test, and refine a variety of theories for influencing terrorist behavior, and core elements of these new approaches have found their way into U.S. strategic doctrine, evident in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report , the 2010 Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review Report , and the 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism . Thus, despite some initial skepticism, the logic of coercion is being used to shape the behavior of terrorists, insurgents, and other violent nonstate actors.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Liam Anderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Whether it is termed ethno-, ethnic, plurinational, or multinational federalism, the design of federal subunit boundaries to conform to the territorial distribution of ethnic groups continues to generate controversy among scholars of institutional design.For some, it is an effective means of alleviating deep ethnic divisions that can help to hold together the common state; for others, it is an insidious institutional recipe for the inevitable disintegration of the common state.The vitality of the debate between advocates and critics of this form of federal arrangement should not obscure the fact that hostility toward ethnic federalism is generally more widespread than is sympathy for it. Philip Roeder, for example, finds the enthusiasm on the part of nongovernmental organizations and practitioners for "ethnofederalism" as a solution to conflicts "remarkable," given that it runs "headlong into a substantial body of prior expert opinion warning against this." For Roeder, at least, the "imprudence" of ethnofederal arrangements is beyond dispute. Precisely why the collective wisdom of scholars conflicts with practitioners on this point is an important question, because it implies a worrying disconnect between academics and practitioners that has serious real-world implications. It is, of course, possible that practitioners are systematically ignorant of the contents of political science journals, but it is also possible that the "substantial body of prior expert opinion" referred to by Roeder is less substantial than it first appears.
29. Summaries
  • Author: Keren Yarhi-Milo
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How do policymakers infer the long-term political intentions of their states' adversaries? A new approach to answering this question, the “selective attention thesis,” posits that individual perceptual biases and organizational interests and practices influence which types of indicators a state's political leaders and its intelligence community regard as credible signals of an adversary's intentions. Policymakers often base their interpretations on their own theories, expectations, and needs, sometimes ignoring costly signals and paying more attention to information that, though less costly, is more vivid (i.e., personalized and emotionally involving). In contrast, intelligence organizations typically prioritize the collection and analysis of data on the adversary's military inventory. Over time, these organizations develop substantial knowledge on these material indicators that they then use to make predictions about an adversary's intentions. An examination of three cases based on 30,000 archival documents and intelligence reports shows strong support for the selective attention thesis and mixed support for two other approaches in international relations theory aimed at understanding how observers are likely to infer adversaries' political intentions: the behavior thesis and the capabilities thesis. The three cases are assessments by President Jimmy Carter and officials in his administration of Soviet intentions during the collapse of détente; assessments by President Ronald Reagan and administration officials of Soviet intentions during the end of the Cold War; and British assessments of Nazi Germany before World War II.
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Keren Yarhi-Milo
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How do policymakers infer the long-term political intentions of their states' adversaries? This question has important theoretical, historical, and political significance. If British decisionmakers had understood the scope of Nazi Germany's intentions for Europe during the 1930s, the twentieth century might have looked very different. More recently, a Brookings report observes that “[t]he issue of mutual distrust of long-term intentions . . . has become a central concern in U.S.-China relations.” Statements by U.S. and Chinese officials confirm this suspicion. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke noted “a concern, a question mark, by people all around the world and governments all around the world as to what China's intentions are.” Chinese officials, similarly, have indicated that Beijing regards recent U.S. policies as a “sophisticated ploy to frustrate China's growth.”
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Daniel W. Dresner
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The 2008 financial crisis dramatically worsened the fiscal future of the United States. In the first five years of the Great Recession, the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of the United States more than doubled, and multiple bond-ratings agencies downgraded U.S. federal government debt. The inevitable debate in Washington is where and how much to cut federal spending. The national security budget is a natural target for fiscal conservatives. Their logic is clear-cut: defense and war expenditures are not the primary culprits for the parlous fiscal state of the United States, but they acted as accessories. For the 2013 fiscal year, the U.S. federal government has budgeted more than $685 billion in defense expenditures. Tacking on budgeting for intelligence and nuclear forces raises that figure to more than $725 billion. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down and al-Qaida's top leadership decimated, the security threats to the United States have also declined. At the same time, the country possesses an unparalleled lead in defense assets and expenditures. Given its unchallenged military supremacy, targeting cuts toward defense spending after a decade of dramatic budgetary increases is a natural ambition.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Keir A. Lieber, Daryl G. Press
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, U.S. leaders have focused on the possibility of nuclear terrorism as a serious threat to the United States. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, those fears grew even more acute. In his State of the Union Address four months after the attacks, President George W. Bush warned a worried nation that rogue states “could provide [weapons of mass destruction] to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.” Both Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice amplified the president's warning in order to justify the war against Iraq. According to Rice, “Terrorists might acquire such weapons from [Saddam Hussein's] regime, to mount a future attack far beyond the scale of 9/11. This terrible prospect could not be ignored or wished away.” Such fears continue to shape policy debates today: in particular, advocates of bombing Iran's nuclear facilities often justify a strike based on the idea that Iran might give nu-clear weapons to terrorist groups. Even President Barack Obama, who as a senator opposed the war against Iraq, declared, “The American people face no greater or more urgent danger than a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon.” For U.S. leaders, the sum of all fears is that an enemy might give nuclear weapons to terrorists. But are those fears well founded?
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran
  • Author: Alan J. Kuperman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On March 17, 2011, the United Nations authorized military intervention in Libya to protect the country's civilians. The Security Council was reacting to violence between Libyan government forces and domestic opponents that had erupted the preceding month. Two days after the authorization, NATO initiated the intervention, including establishing a no-fiy zone and launching aerial attacks on government forces. After seven months, Libyan rebel forces conquered the country and killed the former authoritarian ruler, Muammar al-Qadda, in October 2011. Western media and politicians praised the intervention as a humanitarian success for averting a bloodbath in Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, and helping replace the dictatorial Qadda regime with a transitional council pledged to democracy. Based on this ostensible success, many experts now cite Libya as a model for implementing the humanitarian principle known as the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). Before such conclusions are embraced, however, a more rigorous assessment of the net humanitarian impact of NATO's intervention in Libya is warranted.
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Aidan Hehir
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The United Nations Security Council–sanctioned intervention in Libya in March 2011 was heralded by many observers as evidence of the efficacy of the responsibility to protect (R2P). According to Gareth Evans, the intervention constituted “a textbook case of the R2P norm working exactly as it was supposed to.” This ostensibly “unprecedented moment” led many to predict the dawn of a “new era.” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon summed up the mood: “By now it should be clear to all that the Responsibility to Protect has arrived.”
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Michael L. Gross, Jerome Slater, Davis Brown, Tamar Meisels
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Jerome Slater's normative treatment of Israel in the 2008–09 Gaza War spotlights an often misunderstood domain of the security studies field: just war theory. This is a largely understudied area, given its normative framework of analysis in a field that historically is largely devoid of norms. My sense is that this journal may be becoming a forum for the reintroduction of this framework to the field, thanks to Slater's article and Robert Pape's call for a revised standard for humanitarian intervention. As a student of the ethics of war, I welcome this development. But precisely because just war theory is understudied, it is still highly prone to oversimplification and abuse. Slater regrettably engages in both in his attempt to apply it to the conduct of Israel in the Gaza War.
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Paul R. Pillar, James K. Sebenius, Michael K. Singh, Robert Reardon
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: James Sebenius and Michael Singh are to be commended for advocating rigor in the analysis of international negotiations such as the one involving Iran's nuclear program. Although they describe their offering as a neutral framework for analyzing any negotiation, they are not at all neutral regarding the negotiations with Iran; and they present conclusions that derive directly from specific substantive assumptions, especially about Iranian objectives. The authors repeatedly describe their assumptions as “mainstream,” implying that they are uncontroversial and that any differing ones are too extreme to be worth considering. For an assumption to reside within the mainstream of popular and political discourse about Iran, however, does not make it correct. Sebenius and Singh do something similar with assumptions about U.S. interests, while sliding silently between the descriptive and the prescriptive in a way that fails to contrast actual policies with possible ones that would be consistent with those interests. Many readers' principal takeaway from their article will be that a zone of possible agreement probably did not exist as of the time of their writing and probably will not exist unless the United States takes steps toward going to war with Iran. That answer, however, given the questionable assumptions on which it is based, is very likely wrong.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: From April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, International Security received 275 article manuscripts. International Security relies heavily on the evaluations and advice of external reviewers in making its editorial decisions. The editors thank the reviewers listed below for their invaluable assistance. As in previous years, we are recognizing outstanding reviewers for the exceptional quality, quantity, and timeliness of their reviews. Outstanding reviewers are denoted with an asterisk.
  • Author: Lucas Kello
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Security policy in the information age faces formidable challenges. Chief among these is to evaluate correctly the impact of cyberweapons on strategy: Does the new technology require a revolution in how scholars and policymakers think about force and conflict? Practitioners confront a predicament in addressing this question: the cyber revolution gives rise to novel threats and opportunities requiring immediate policy responses; yet understanding its nature and its consequences for security is a slow learning process. Interpretation of cyber phenomena involves analysis of a new body of experience that existing theories may be unable to clarify. It presupposes, moreover, a technical understanding of a transforming technology, whose implications require time to master because of its scientific complexity.
  • Author: Erik Gartzke
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Ablitz of media, punditry, and official pronouncements raise the specter of war on the internet. Future conflicts may well take place in cyberspace, where victory or defeat could be determined in mere "nanoseconds." Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has even warned of a "cyber-Pearl Harbor." Nor are fears of cyberwar abstract speculation. Events such as the denial of service attacks against Estonian and Georgian government websites, the Stuxnet worm designed to disable Iranian nuclear centrifuges, and the recent hacking of U.S. military computer networks seem to indicate that the era of cyberwar has already arrived.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David A. Lake
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The United States has maintained extensive international hierarchies over states on the Caribbean littoral for more than a century and over Western Europe for nearly seven decades. More recently, it has extended similar hierarchies over states in the Middle East, especially the Persian Gulf. International hierarchy is based on authority relations between states; once they took the form of empires but today are restricted to informal political relationships such as spheres of influence and de facto protectorates. Authority, in turn, is a form of legitimate power that entails a right to command by the dominant state and an obligation or duty to comply by the subordinate. This raises a series of key questions. How does the United States build and sustain legitimacy for itself in subordinate countries? In this postcolonial age, the dominant state must rule indirectly through client regimes. How does the United States ensure legitimacy for such collaborationist regimes? Most important, how does the United States sustain this "double game" of legitimating both its rule and that of its clients, given norms of the sovereign equality of states and, increasingly, of popular sovereignty and democracy? How one answers these questions is relevant not only to theories of international relations but also to current policy debates, especially those on the role of the United States in the Middle East. If the United States cannot legitimate its role in the region, as I argue it cannot for reasons explained below, it should consider following its imperial forefather and withdraw "East of Suez."
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central America
  • Author: Charles Glaser
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Scholars and policy-makers in the United States commonly worry that a lack of "energy security" is hurting U.S. national security, yet little of their analysis actually links energy requirements with the probability of military conflict. Energy security is usually defined as "the reliable and affordable supply of energy," and most analyses focus on the physical security of oil supplies, the increasing price of oil, and the economic costs of oil disruptions. Their key recommendations call for the United States to reduce oil imports, decrease its vulnerability to oil supply disruptions, and prepare strategies for managing available supplies when disruptions occur. Not linking these energy issues directly to possibilities for international conflict leaves an important gap in our analysis. International conflict lies at the heart of standard conceptions of U.S. national security. Issues that are judged to engage U.S. national security are typically granted top priority on the national agenda, are given entitlement to U.S. resources, and are frequently thought to warrant the use of military force. Thus, without exploring the links between energy requirements and military conflict, we risk conflating U.S. national security with U.S. prosperity, and misjudging the nature of the challenges facing the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What roles do oil and energy play in international conflict? In public debates, the issue often provokes significant controversy. Critics of the two U.S.-led wars against Iraq (in 1991 and 2003) charged that they traded "blood for oil," and that they formed a part of an American neo-imperialist agenda to control oil in the Middle East. The U.S. government, on the other hand, explicitly denied that the wars were about oil, especially in 2003. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld argued that the war "has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil," a theme echoed by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Justin Logan, Campbell Craig, Brendan Rittenhouse Greenspan, Stephen Brooks, G. John Inkenberry, William Wohlforth
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In making their case for maintaining the United States' policy of "deep engagement," Stephen Brooks, John Ikenberry, and William Wohlforth stress that the U.S. security commitment to states in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, together with the formidable specter of American preponderance, stifles regional rivalries and hinders the resurgence of a dangerous era of multipolar power politics. The authors contend that a policy of U.S. retrenchment could spark the "return of insecurity and conflict among Eurasian powers," whereas a continuing policy of deep engagement, by "supplying re- assurance, deterrence, and active management . lowers security competition in the world's key regions, thereby preventing the emergence of a hothouse atmosphere for growing new military capabilities." In short, they suggest, deep engagement reduces the chances of a major Eurasian war; a new strategy of retrenchment would increase them.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Alex Bellamy, Robert Pape
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In a recently published piece, Robert Pape makes some misleading and erroneous comments on my published work. First, Pape writes, "Alex Bellamy, a staunch advocate of R2P [the responsibility to protect initiative], catalogues episodes of mass atrocities to clarify 'R2P's preventive agenda,' with a total of twenty-one qualifying for intervention from 1990 to 2010". Pape provides no reference to support this statement. In truth, I have never produced a list of "cases" that "qualified" for intervention. The datasets that I have produced relate to cases where the lowest casualty estimates suggest that at least 5,000 noncombatants were intentionally killed. Nowhere have I suggested that this "qualifies" these cases for intervention. Actually, I have been generally critical of abstract talk about criteria and thresholds for armed intervention, as well as the pervasive and erroneous tendency to treat R2P as synonymous with humanitarian intervention, both of which I believe to be disconnected from political realities. Since I began working on R2P a decade ago, I have repeatedly expressed caution about the use of force for protection purposes for reasons similar to those aired by Pape last year. In my first book on R2P, I concluded that "non-consensual force is a highly unreliable form of protection."
  • Author: Nuno P. Monteiro
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, the United States has been the world's sole great power. It maintains a military that is one order of magnitude more powerful than any other; defense spending close to half of global military expenditures; a blue-water navy superior to all others combined; a chance at a splendid nuclear first strike over its erstwhile foe, Russia; a defense research and development budget that is 80 percent of the total defense expenditures of its most obvious future competitor, China; and unmatched global power-projection capabilities. The post-Cold War international system is thus unipolar.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Michael Beckley
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: According to the Global Language Monitor, which tracks the top 50,000 media sources throughout the world, the "rise of China" has been the most read-about news story of the twenty-first century, surpassing the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Iraq War, the election of Barack Obama, and the British royal wedding. One reason for the story's popularity, presumably, is that the rise of China entails the decline of the United States. While China's economy grows at 9 percent annually, the United States reels from economic recession, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and massive budget deficits. This divergence in fortunes has produced two pieces of conventional wisdom in U.S. and Chinese foreign policy debates. First, the United States is in decline relative to China. Second, much of this decline is the result of globalization-the integration of national economies and resultant diffusion of technology from developed to developing countries-and the hegemonic burdens the United States bears to sustain globalization.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, America
  • Author: Ole Theisen, Helge Holtermann, Halvard Buhaug
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Climate change will most likely impose great hardships on Africa's agrarian societies in the coming years, but new research suggests that, despite current thought, it will not increase the likelihood of civil war. The concern that scarcity will breed conflict is understandable, but the data show that civil war is more highly correlated with other factors, such as high infant mortality, proximity to international borders, and high local population density. Climate shocks are certain to increase the suffering of marginalized societies in other ways, which makes it all the more important that we do not militarize the issue lest fear limit immigration and relief efforts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: David Ekbladh
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Security studies is commonly thought to have emerged as a response to the Cold War, but its roots reach much further back. Historian Edward Mead Earle and his colleagues first addressed the problem of security to cope with the unraveling of the international order in the 1930s. Earle was instrumental in paving the way for security studies as it exists today, laying the foundations for an important discipline that seeks to combine history, economics, and political science to build bridges between the government and academia and use scientific inquiry to inform policy and guide grand strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The motivations of North Korea's leaders and people have long been a mystery, frustrating policymakers who must decide whether to pursue a relationship with the government or attempt to isolate the rogue state, but new literature reveals that the North Korean people and their government operate more normally than most people think. This literature also suggests that policies designed to minimize North Korea's military threat may hurt efforts to improve the lives of its citizens and vice versa. Given this difficulty and the recent regime change, efforts to understand North Korea before making and implementing policy decisions are more important than ever.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Bryan Rice
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Late in the evening of May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced to the nation that Osama bin Laden was dead. Earlier that day, the president had ordered a team of elite military forces deep into Pakistan to kill the mastermind behind the September 11 terrorist attacks, which had shocked the country and the world nearly ten years before. During his speech, President Obama said that he had told his new director of central intelligence, Leon Panetta, that getting bin Laden was the number one priority in the United States' counterterrorism strategy against al-Qaida. Upon hearing of bin Laden's death, Americans broke out in spontaneous celebration, and pundits immediately began speculating about its symbolic and operational importance. But what does bin Laden's death mean, if anything, for the future of al-Qaida? More broadly, what does it mean when terrorist groups experience leadership decapitation.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Patrick Johnston
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Targeting of militant leaders is central to many states' national security strategies, but does it work? What should policymakers expect when armed forces capture or kill militant leaders? Is leadership decapitation more likely to succeed or fail under certain conditions? These questions have never been more pressing than after the May 2011 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. As relevant as these questions are to current U.S. policy and strategy, they are also fundamental questions of asymmetric warfare. They matter because almost all policies of "high-value" targeting require difficult judgments concerning both the potential consequences and the opportunity costs of targeting militant leaders. The decision to target enemy leaders requires that policymakers adjudicate among numerous difficult, and potentially contradictory, choices. Leadership targeting strategies affect how states allocate scarce military, intelligence, and economic resources; how they construct their counterinsurgency or counterterrorism postures; and how interested foreign and domestic audiences react to their behavior.
  • Topic: Economics, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sonia Ouagrahm-Gormley
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Bioweapons knowledge may be less transferable than many scholars and analysts have thought. A new look at past weapons programs reveals that intangible factors, such as work organization, program management, structural organization, and social environment, can affect a program's success rate. Because these intangible factors are especially restrictive for clandestine organizations such as terrorist groups, they should be considered carefully both in terms of threat assessment and the development of more effective counterproliferation strategies.
  • Author: Erik Gartzke, Yonatan Lupu
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A close look at the events leading up to World War I reveals that the war was not a failure of economic integration as many scholars have claimed. The conflict began in a weakly integrated portion of Europe, and the more integrated powers were roped in through their alliances. Before the war, the interdependent powers were able to resolve crises without bloodshed, but they were also incentivized to increase their commitment to the less interdependent powers. Had globalization pervaded Eastern Europe, or if the rest of Europe had been less locked into events in the east, Europe might have avoided a “Great War.”
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Avey
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: U.S. policy during the early Cold War is better explained by balance of power logic than ideology. Not only did the United States initially seek to cooperate with the Soviet Union, shifting toward a confrontational approach only when the balance of power tilted in the Soviet Union's favor, but it later sought to engage communist groups that promised to undermine Soviet power. Given the vast differences between U.S. and Soviet ideology, the United States' willingness to put ideology aside in these instances suggests that relative power concerns are more important in generating and shaping confrontational foreign policies than is ideology.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Stephen Biddle, Jacob N. Shapiro, Jeffrey A. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: From 2004 to mid- 2007, Iraq was extremely violent: civilian fatalities averaged more than 1,500 a month by August 2006, and by late fall, the U.S. military was suffering a monthly toll of almost 100 dead and 700 wounded. Then something changed. By the end of 2007, U.S. military fatalities had declined from their wartime monthly peak of 126 in May of that year to just 23 by December. From June 2008 to June 2011, monthly U.S. military fatalities averaged fewer than 11, a rate less than 15 percent of the 2004 through mid-2007 average and an order of magnitude smaller than their maximum. Monthly civilian fatalities fell from more than 1,700 in May 2007 to around 500 by December; from June 2008 to June 2011, these averaged around 200, or about one-tenth of the rate for the last half of 2006.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Robert A. Pape
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On March 18, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. government's commitment to an international military intervention in Libya, declaring, "We're protecting innocent civilians within Libya" from Muammar Qaddafi's forces to prevent "a humanitarian crisis." Within days, an international coalition of Western and Arab states launched air strikes that halted the Libyan government forces' offensive against the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and the roughly 2 million people living in the eastern region of the country. Within weeks, major international economic resources began ºowing to rebel-controlled areas to help strengthen their ability to remain independent from Qaddafi's control. Within months, Qaddafi's grip on the western portions of the country crumbled. Now, many policymakers and scholars recognize the Libyan mission as a significant success for international humanitarian intervention according to the main yardstick of saving many lives with no loss of life among the interveners.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya
  • Author: John Mueller, Mark G. Stewart
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, a deluded little man with grandiose visions of his own importance, managed, largely because of luck, to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Since then, many people have contended that such a monumental event could not have been accomplished by such a trivial person. Some of these disbelievers have undertaken elaborate efforts to uncover a bigger conspiracy behind the deed.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Sumit Ganguly, S. Paul Kapur
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Islamist militants based in Pakistan have repeatedly been involved in major terrorist incidents throughout the world, such as the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington and the 2005 London subway bombings. They regularly strike government, coalition, and civilian targets in Afghanistan, hampering efforts to stabilize the country. Also, they frequently target India, threatening to incite an Indo-Pakistani conflict that could potentially escalate to the nuclear level. Pakistan-based militancy thus severely undermines regional and international security.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, New York, South Asia, Washington
  • Author: Paul Staniland
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How do material resources influence the behavior of insurgent groups? Do diamonds, drugs, state sponsors, and diasporas turn insurgents into fractious, loot-seeking thugs? Or do they help insurgents build disciplined and cohesive organizations? These questions have occupied a central focus in recent research, but no consensus has emerged on the answers to any of them. Some cases suggest that resource wealth encourages the degeneration of armed groups into greed and criminality. For instance, right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone are clear examples of large-scale resources being associated with indiscipline or civilian victimization. Other evidence, however, shows that external sponsorship and criminal activity can help leaders build organizations in the face of state repression. The Taliban in Afghanistan, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) forged, and indeed improved, their organizational effectiveness while relying heavily on external support and illicit economic gain.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Sudan, Asia, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Angola
  • Author: Ulrich Krotz, Jean-Yves Haine, Norrin M. Ripsman, Sebastian Rosato, Richard Maher, David M. McCourt, Andrew Glencross, Mark S. Sheetz
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In "Europe's Troubles," Sebastian Rosato argues that the high water mark of European integration has passed and that the fate of the European Union (EU) is increasingly uncertain. The European project, he claims, had a geostrategic imperative during the Cold War: unable to match Soviet power individually, the small and medium powers of Western Europe sought to balance the Soviet Union through economic integration. The Soviet collapse and the end of the Cold War removed the strategic rationale for preserving the community that European governments had built over many decades. At best, according to Rosato, Europe will continue to muddle along. At worst, the entire European project will collapse.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Brendan Rittenhouse Green
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Realist, liberal, constructivist, and hybrid theories of international relations agree that the United States made historic commitments to the defense of Europe shortly after World War II. These commitments, however, were neither as intense nor as sweeping as many claim. Initially, Washington sought withdrawal from Europe through a strategy of buck-passing.Only after a decade and a half did it adopt the familiar balancing grand strategy providing for a permanent presence in Europe. This shift suggests the need for a new theory to explain U.S. grand strategy, both past and present.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Robert Jervis
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since 2009, the International Security Studies Forum (ISSF) has presented online roundtables and reviews of books and articles in the field of international security studies. It has promoted communication and lively debate among scholars and analysts in the field. The many contributions to the forum are emailed to ISSF subscribers.
  • Author: Jerome Slater
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Scholars and policymakers regard the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the most serious and intractable conflicts in today's world. In particular, there continues to be fierce controversy over the most recent large-scale Israeli military action in that conflict: the three-week attack on Gaza that began on December 27, 2008.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Benjamin S. Lambeth
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Assessing major combat experiences to help rectify errors made in the planning and conduct of operations has enjoyed a long and well-established tradition in the fields of military history and security studies. In particular, since Operation Desert Storm against Saddam Hussein's Iraq by U.S. and coalition forces in 1991, the pursuit of "lessons learned" from major combat has been a virtual cottage industry within the defense establishments of the United States and its principal allies around the world.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Israel
  • Author: Omar Shahabudin McDoom
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The power of security threats to mobilize social groups against each other is well known. Distrust and fear characterize relations between large segments of identity groups that have engaged in ethnic conflicts in diverse regions of the world: Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka; Serbs and Bosniaks in the former Yugoslavia; Arabs and Jews in Palestine; Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda. But why are security threats so powerful? How exactly do they work to polarize societies? And when do they lead to intergroup violence?
  • Political Geography: Sri Lanka, Palestine, Arabia
  • 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: Karthika Sasikumar, Andrew B. Kennedy, Gaurav Kampani, Jason Stone
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In his article, Andrew Kennedy attributes India's nuclear restraint from 1964 to 1989 to (1) implicit nuclear umbrellas extended by the two superpowers and (2) the normative beliefs of Indian leaders. Using newly available declassified documents, he argues that India's apparent absence of nuclear balancing against China and Pakistan until the 1980s was a distortion of reality, because the balancing occurred in secret. Its means were implicit nuclear umbrellas, first extended against China in the mid-1960s by both superpowers and then from 1970 to 1991 by the former Soviet Union. As Soviet power in the mid-1980s waned, India resorted to internal balancing by developing an independent nuclear arsenal (pp. 151-152). Kennedy further claims that Indian leaders first sought security through international disarmament institutions. Only when that quest failed did they proceed with nuclear acquisition (pp. 144-146).
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, India
  • Author: Aaron Rapport
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why did the administration of George W. Bush hold so many mistaken beliefs about the costs of establishing a transformed Iraqi state after the removal of Saddam Hussein? Relatedly, why did the president and senior officials devote so little attention to plans for the postconflict phase of the war, referred to as Phase IV? According to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), the administration had "no established plans to manage the increasing chaos" in Iraq, adding "when Iraq's withering post-invasion reality superseded [officials'] expectations, there was no well-defined 'Plan B' as a fallback and no existing government structures or resources to support a quick response." Numerous analyses of the administration's assumptions and preparations for the postwar phase of the conflict have argued that leadership in the White House and the Department of Defense grossly underestimated the cost of securing peace in Iraq. President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and other key administration figures failed to foresee the rise of sectarian violence and ignored officials working on potential postwar problems or left them under - resourced, without the necessary time or guidance necessary to plan effectively.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Jeffrey W. Knopf
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Is there a connection between nuclear weapon states' policies on nuclear disarmament and the likelihood of nuclear proliferation? Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) calls for good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons. This has led some commentators to suggest that, unless the NPT-recognized nuclear weapon states are perceived to be seriously committed to and making progress toward disarmament, the nonproliferation regime will unravel. Other observers, in contrast, contend that nuclear weapon state actions on disarmament have no bearing on the factors that might lead to the further spread of nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Author: James K. Sebenius, Michael K. Singh
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since assuming the presidency of the United States in January 2009, Barack Obama has tried both outreach and sanctions in an effort to halt Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapons capability. Yet neither President Obama's personal diplomacy nor several rounds of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council-China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States-plus Germany (the "P5 1") nor escalating sanctions have deterred Tehran. Iran has not only continued but accelerated its nuclear progress, accumulating sufficient low-enriched uranium that, if further enriched, would be sufficient for five nuclear weapons. Consequently, as Iran makes major advances in its nuclear capabilities, speculation has increased that Israel or a United States-led coalition may be nearing the decision to conduct a military strike to disable Iran's nuclear program.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, France
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, William C. Wohlforth, Stephen G. Brooks
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Confronting a punishing budget crisis, an exhausted military, balky allies, and a public whose appetite for global engagement is waning, the United States faces a critical question. After sixty-five years of pursuing a globally engaged grand strategy- nearly a third of which transpired without a peer great power rival-has the time finally come for retrenchment? According to many of the most prominent security studies scholars-and indeed most scholars who write on the future of U.S. grand strategy-the answer is an unambiguous yes. Even as U.S. political leaders almost uniformly assert their commitment to global leadership, over the past decade a very different opinion has swept through the academy: that the United States should scale back its global commitments and pursue retrenchment. More specifically, it should curtail or eliminate its overseas military presence, eliminate or dramatically reduce its global security commitments, and minimize or eschew its efforts to foster and lead the liberal institutional order.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Michael Beckley, Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Michael Beckley's article deserves attention for challenging the view that the United States is declining because China is rising. Its ambiguous definition of decline, how - ever, sends the wrong impression about the distribution of economic and military power between the United States and China. Without being explicit, Beckley implies that the United States is not declining because the absolute difference of economic, military, and technological capabilities between the United States and China is growing. In contrast, both theory and history suggest that it is more important that the relative distribution of economic and military capabilities between the United States and China is falling: as I propose below, decline is best defined as a decrease in the ratio of economic and military capabilities between two great powers. As a result, even if the United States maintains a large advantage in absolute capabilities, the fact that U.S. capabilities are decreasing relative to China's means that China will find it easier to advance its interests where U.S. and Chinese goals diverge, while the United States' ability to pursue its own interests in world affairs will be increasingly constrained by Chinese power.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Paul MacDonald, Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How do great powers respond to acute decline? The erosion of the relative power of the United States has scholars and policymakers reexamining this question. The central issue is whether prompt retrenchment is desirable or probable. Some pessimists counsel that retrenchment is a dangerous policy, because it shows weakness and invites attack. Robert Kagan, for example, warns, “A reduction in defense spending . . . would unnerve American allies and undercut efforts to gain greater cooperation. There is already a sense around the world, fed by irresponsible pundits here at home, that the United States is in terminal decline. Many fear that the economic crisis will cause the United States to pull back from overseas commitments. The announcement of a defense cutback would be taken by the world as evidence that the American retreat has begun.” Robert Kaplan likewise argues, “Husbanding our power in an effort to slow America's decline in a post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan world would mean avoiding debilitating land entanglements and focusing instead on being more of an offshore balancer.... While this may be in America's interest, the very signaling of such an aloof intention may encourage regional bullies.... [L]essening our engagement with the world would have devastating consequences for humanity. The disruptions we witness today are but a taste of what is to come should our country flinch from its international responsibilties.” The consequences of these views are clear: retrenchment should be avoided and forward defenses maintained into the indefinite future.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: For a decade after the end of the Cold War, observers were profoundly optimistic about the state of the European Community (EC). Most endorsed Andrew Moravcsik's claim that the establishment of the single market and currency marked the EC as “the most ambitious and most successful example of peaceful international co - operation in world history.” Both arrangements, which went into effect in the 1990s, were widely regarded as the “finishing touches on the construction of a European economic zone.” Indeed, many people thought that economic integration would soon lead to political and military integration. Germany's minister for Europe, Günter Verheugen, declared, “[N]ormally a single currency is the final step in a process of political integration. This time the single currency isn't the final step but the beginning.” Meanwhile, U.S. defense planners feared that the Europeans might create “a separate 'EU' army.” In short, the common view was that the EC had been a great success and had a bright future.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Peter D. Feaver
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On January 10, 2007, President George W. Bush announced in a televised prime-time address to the nation a bold, even risky, new strategy in the Iraq War. The United States' military and political fortunes in the war had eroded so sharply over the preceding year that President Bush had authorized a thorough internal review to deter - mine why the current strategy was not succeeding and what, if anything, could be done about it. The review had concluded that the United States was on a trajectory that would end in defeat unless the president authorized a new strategy and committed new resources to it. Bush used the televised address to describe in broad strokes the results of the review and the new strategy, which the media quickly dubbed the “surge strategy,” because its most controversial provision involved sending have new brigade combat teams (BCTs) to Iraq, a commitment that grew to a total of nearly 30,000 additional troops—this at a time when public support for the Iraq War was strained to the breaking point.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Davide Fiammenghi
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Realist scholars have long debated the question of how much power states need to feel secure. Offensive realists claim that states should constantly seek to increase their power. Defensive realists argue that accumulating too much power can be self-defeating. Proponents of hegemonic stability theory contend that the accumulation of capabilities in one state can exert a stabilizing effect on the system. The three schools describe different points along the power continuum. When a state is weak, accumulating power increases its security. This is approximately the situation described by offensive realists. A state that continues to accumulate capabilities will eventually triggers a balancing reaction that puts its security at risk. This scenario accords with defensive realist assumptions. Finally, when the state becomes too powerful to balance, its opponents bandwagon with it, and the state's security begins to increase again. This is the situation described by hegemonic stability theory. These three stages delineate a modified parabolic relationship between power and security. As a state moves along the power continuum, its security increases up to a point, then decreases, and finally increases again. This modified parabolic relationship allows scholars to synthesize previous realist theories into a single framework.
  • Topic: Security
  • Author: Timothy Crawford
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: States use wedge strategies to prevent hostile alliances from forming or to disperse those that have formed. These strategies can cause power alignments that are otherwise unlikely to occur, and thus have significant consequences for international politics. How do such strategies work and what conditions promote their success? The wedge strategies that are likely to have significant effects use selective accommodation—concessions, compensations, and other inducements—to detach and neutralize potential adversaries. These kinds of strategies play important roles in the statecraft of both defensive and offensive powers. Defenders use selective accommodation to balance against a primary threat by neutralizing lesser ones that might ally with it. Expansionists use selective accommodation to prevent or break up blocking coalitions, isolating opposing states by inducing potential balancers to buck-pass, bandwagon, or hide. Two cases—Great Britain's defensive attempts to accommodate Italy in the late 1930s and Germany's offensive efforts to accommodate the Soviet Union in 1939—help to demonstrate these arguments. By paying attention to these dynamics, international relations scholars can better understand how balancing works in specific cases, how it manifests more broadly in international politics, and why it sometimes fails in situations where it ought to work well.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Soviet Union, Germany
  • Author: Dominic Tierney, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar halted his army on the banks of the Rubicon River in northern Italy. According to Suetonius, he paused in momentary hesitation, before sweeping across the waters toward Rome with the immortal phrase Alae iacta est (The die has been cast). By violating an ancient Roman law forbidding any general to cross the Rubicon with an army, Caesar's decision made war inevitable. Ever since, “crossing the Rubicon” has come to symbolize a point of no return, when the time for deliberation is over and action is at hand.
  • Topic: International Relations, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Germany, Romania
  • Author: Randall Schweller, Xiaoyu Pu
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The emerging transition from unipolarity to a more multipolar distribution of global power presents a unique and unappreciated problem that largely explains why, contrary to the expectations of balance of power theory, a counterbalancing reaction to U.S. primacy has not yet taken place. The problem is that, under unipolarity and only unipolarity, balancing is a revisionist, not a status quo, behavior: its purpose is to replace the existing unbalanced unipolar structure with a balance of power system. Thus, any state that seeks to restore a global balance of power will be labeled a revisionist aggressor. To overcome this ideational hurdle to balancing behavior, a rising power must delegitimize the unipole's global authority and order through discursive and cost-imposing practices of resistance that pave the way for the next phase of full-fledged balancing and global contestation. The type of international order that emerges on the other side of the transition out of unipolarity depends on whether the emerging powers assume the role of supporters, spoilers, or shirkers. As the most viable peer competitor to U.S. power, China will play an especially important role in determining the future shape of international politics. At this relatively early stage in its development, however, China does not yet have a fixed blueprint for a new world order. Instead, competing Chinese visions of order map on to various delegitimation strategies and scenarios about how the transition from unipolarity to a restored global balance of power will develop.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Charles A. Duelfer, Stephen Benedict Dyson
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why did the United States and Iraq and themselves in full-scale conflict with each other in 1990–91 and 2003, and in almost constant low-level hostilities during the years in- between? We suggest that the situation was neither inevitable nor one that either side, in full possession of all the relevant information about the other, would have purposely engineered: in short, a classic instance of chronic misperception. Combining the psychological literature on perception and its pathologies with the almost unique firsthand access of one of the authors— Charles Duelfer—to the decisionmakers on both sides, we isolate the perceptions that the United States and Iraq held of each other, as well as the biases, mistakes, and intelligence failures of which these images were, at different points in time, both cause and effect.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Soviet Union
  • Author: Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Thirty years after the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor in June 1981 the consequences for Iraq's nuclear weapons program remain hotly debated. A new history of this program, based on several new Iraqi sources, yields a net assessment of the impact of the Israeli attack that differs from prevailing accounts. The attack had mixed effects: it triggered a covert nuclear weapons program that did not previously exist, while necessitating a more difficult and time consuming technical route to developing nuclear weapons. Notwithstanding gross inefficiencies in the ensuing program, a decade later Iraq stood on the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability. This case suggests that preventive attacks can increase the long-term proliferation risk posed by the targeted state.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Israel
  • Author: Hal Brands, David Palkki
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Efforts to understand Saddam Hussein's strategic thought have long been hampered by the opacity and secrecy of the Baathist regime. Newly available, high-level Iraqi archival documentation demonstrates that in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Saddam viewed nuclear weapons through a fundamentally coercive, revisionist lens. He had long hoped to wage a grinding war of attrition against the Israeli state, and he believed that Iraqi acquisition of the bomb would neutralize Israeli nuclear threats, force the Jewish state to fight at the conventional level, and thereby allow Iraq and its Arab allies (with their larger economic and population base) to prosecute a prolonged war that would displace Israel from the territories occupied in 1967. These findings have implications for the existing theoretical literature on the causes and consequences of nuclear proliferation, as well as for the growing body of work on “nuclear alarmism.” The Iraqi case undermines the thesis that states proliferate primarily because of defensive concerns. Saddam certainly viewed possession of the bomb as a means of enhancing Iraq's security, but his attraction to nuclear weapons revolved around offensive objectives. Saddam hoped to exploit the deterrent balance with Israel to initiate a bloody conventional war that would have likely been immensely destructive and destabilizing for the Middle East as a whole. In other words, though Saddam never obtained nuclear weapons, his views on their potential utility give good cause for both pessimism and alarm.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, Miranda Priebe
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The United States and its Persian Gulf allies have been increasingly concerned with the growing size and complexity of Iran's ballistic missile programs. At a time when the United States and its allies remain locked in a standoff with Iran over the latter's nuclear program, states around the Persian Gulf fear that Iran would retaliate for an attack on its nuclear program by launching missiles at regional oil installations and other strategic targets. An examination of the threat posed by Iran's missiles to Saudi Arabian oil installations, based on an assessment of Iran's missile capabilities, a detailed analysis of Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure, and a simulated missile campaign against the network using known Iranian weapons, finds no evidence of a significant Iranian missile threat to Saudi infrastructure. These findings cast doubt on one aspect of the Iranian threat to Persian Gulf oil while offering an analytic framework for understanding developments in the Iranian missile arsenal and the vulnerability of oil infrastructure to conventional attack.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Persia
  • Author: Monica Duffy Toft, Laurie Nathan
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Laurie Nathan responds to Monica Duffy Toft's spring 2010 International Security article, "Ending Civil Wars: A Case for Rebel Victory?"
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Author: Risa Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Are Muslims born or living in the United States increasingly inclined to engage in terrorist attacks within the country's borders? For much of the post-September 11 era, the answer to that question was largely no. Unlike its European counterparts, the United States was viewed as being relatively immune to terrorism committed by its residents and citizens-what is commonly referred to as "homegrown" terrorism-because of the social status and degree of assimilation evinced by American Muslims. In 2006, in the long shadow cast by the Madrid 2004 and London 2005 attacks perpetrated by European homegrown terrorists, there was a perceptible shift in the characterization of the threat posed by American Muslims. Public officials began to speak more regularly and assertively about the potential threat of some Muslims taking up terrorism, elevating it in their discussions alongside threats from foreign operatives and transnational terrorist organizations. By 2009, in part catalyzed by a surge in terrorist-related arrests and concerns that they could portend a growing radicalization of the American Muslim population, policymakers and terrorist analysts seemed increasingly worried about homegrown terrorism. When U.S. Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011, some members of Congress and other commentators argued that the threat of homegrown terrorism would become even more important.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Rose McDermott, Anthony C. Lopez, Michael Bang Peterson
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The use of evolutionary models to examine political behavior in international relations has been the subject of much debate, but serious scholarly work has generally been lacking, in part because the causal mechanisms have not always been clearly explicated. An evolutionary psychological framework can correct this deficit and benefit research in at least three major areas of international relations: (1) how political groups such as states are perceived and represented by individuals and groups; (2) how coalitional action is facilitated among states; and (3) sex differences in coalitional behavior. Hypotheses are offered in each of these areas to more clearly demonstrate the psychological mechanisms that are the bridge between evolutionary theory and political behavior in the international system. The social and political landscape of the ancestral environments in which humans evolved strongly suggests that the psychological architecture of humans possesses specialized design for coalitional living that continues to guide behavior in the modern political world. These evolved mechanisms structure human motivation and engagement in areas including leadership and war.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, War
  • Author: Jennifer Lind, Bruce W. Bennett
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many signs suggest that Kim Jong-il's regime in North Korea is entering a difficult stage in which its future may be in doubt. Although the historical record shows, and many scholars have noted, that authoritarian regimes can repress their populations and retain power for decades, the Kim regime is embarking on the most difficult challenge that such regimes face: succession. The last time power changed hands in Pyongyang, Kim Il-sung spent fifteen years preparing for the transfer, carefully consolidating support for his son Kim Jong-il. By contrast, Kim Jong-il, who suffered a stroke in 2008, has only recently anointed his inexperienced, twenty-seven-year-old third son, Kim Jong-un, as his heir. Kim Jong-il's sudden death or incapacitation could trigger a power struggle and government collapse in North Korea. As previous revolutions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe demonstrate, the transition from apparent stability to collapse can be swift.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Andrew B. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why did India merely flirt with nuclear weapons in the 1960s and 1970s only to emerge as a nuclear power in the 1990s? Although a variety of factors informed India's prolonged restraint and subsequent breakthrough, new evidence indicates that India's “nuclear odyssey” can be understood as a function of Indian leaders' ability to secure their country through nonmilitary means, particularly implicit nuclear umbrellas and international institutions. In the 1960s and 1970s, India was relatively successful in this regard as it sought and received implicit support from the superpowers against China. This success, in turn, made acquiring the bomb a less pressing question. At the end of the Cold War, however, nonmilitary measures ceased to be viable for India. In the late 1980s, waning Soviet support and the failure of Rajiv Gandhi's diplomatic initiatives led to the creation of India's de facto nuclear arsenal. In the 1990s, India developed a more overt capability, not simply because the pro-bomb Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, but also because its external backing had vanished and because its efforts to improve its security through diplomacy proved unsuccessful.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: China, India, Soviet Union
  • Author: Jacques E.C. Hymans
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Early research on nuclear proliferation typically asserted that states' decisions to acquire nuclear weapons were a simple function of their international security needs, assuming adequate technical capacity to act on those needs. Starting in the mid-1980s, however, scholars started to notice that the causes of states' nuclear weapons choices were not so straightforward. Today, the overwhelming majority of scholarly work on nuclear proliferation argues that states do not directly respond to the international environment in making their nuclear weapons choices, but rather that they "filter security challenges through one or more domestic prisms." The particular "domestic prisms" noted by scholars include top state leaders' national identity conceptions, the economic interests of their core political support bases, the empire-building desires of state bureaucracies, and wider societal norms.
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Jack S. Levy, William R. Thompson, David Blagden
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: David W. Blagden responds to Jack S. Levy and William R. Thompson's summer 2010 International Security article, "Balancing on Land and at Sea: Do States Ally against the Leading Global Power?"
  • Author: Francis Gavin
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many scholars and practitioners share the view that nuclear proliferation and its effect on U.S. national security interests constitutes the gravest threat facing the United States, that it is worse than ever before, and that new, more effective policies are needed to confront the problem. At the same time, the history of nuclear proliferation—in particular, the history of the Cold War—reveals little about contemporary nuclear dangers and possible policy solutions. According to this view, the so-called Long Peace offers few meaningful lessons that can be applied to the complex and dangerous world we face today.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vipin Narang
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On November 26, 2008, terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba—a group historically supported by the Pakistani state—launched a daring sea assault from Karachi, Pakistan, and laid siege to India's economic hub, Mumbai, crippling the city for three days and taking at least 163 lives. The world sat on edge as yet another crisis between South Asia's two nuclear-armed states erupted with the looming risk of armed conºict. But India's response was restrained; it did not mobilize its military forces to retaliate against either Pakistan or Lashkar camps operating there. A former Indian chief of Army Staff, Gen. Shankar Roychowdhury, bluntly stated that Pakistan's threat of nuclear use deterred India from seriously considering conventional military strikes. 1 Yet, India's nuclear weapons capability failed to deter subconventional attacks in Mumbai and Delhi, as well as Pakistan's conventional aggression in the 1999 Kargil War. Why are these two neighbors able to achieve such different levels of deterrence with their nuclear weapons capabilities? Do differences in how these states operationalize their nuclear capabilities—their nuclear postures—have differential effects on dispute dynamics?
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia, India, Mumbai
  • Author: C. Christine Fair, Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Islamist militancy in Pakistan has long stood atop the international security agenda, yet there is almost no systematic evidence about why individual Pakistanis support Islamist militant organizations. An analysis of data from a nationally representative survey of urban Pakistanis refutes four influential conventional wisdoms about why Pakistanis support Islamic militancy. First, there is no clear relationship between poverty and support for militancy. If anything, support for militant organizations is increasing in terms of both subjective economic well-being and community economic performance. Second, personal religiosity and support for sharia law are poor predictors of support for Islamist militant organizations. Third, support for political goals espoused by legal Islamist parties is a weak indicator of support for militant organizations. Fourth, those who support core democratic principles or have faith in Pakistan's democratic process are not less supportive of militancy. Taken together, these results suggest that commonly prescribed solutions to Islamist militancy-economic development, democratization, and the like-may be irrelevant at best and might even be counterproductive. For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914. For Academic Citation: Jacob N. Shapiro and C. Christine Fair. "Understanding Support for Islamist Militancy in Pakistan." International Security 34, no. 3 (Winter 2009/10): 79-118.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Jonathan D. Caverley
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A capital- and firepower-intensive military doctrine is, in general, poorly suited for combating an insurgency. It is therefore puzzling that democracies, particularly the United States, tenaciously pursue such a suboptimal strategy over long periods of time and in successive conflicts. This tendency poses an empirical challenge to the argument that democracies tend to win the conflicts they enter. This apparently nonstrategic behavior results from a condition of moral hazard owing to the shifting of costs away from the average voter. The voter supports the use of a capital-intensive doctrine in conflicts where its effectiveness is low because the decreased likelihood of winning is outweighed by the lower costs of fighting. This theory better explains the development of the United States' counterinsurgency strategy in Vietnam during Lyndon Johnson's administration compared to the dominant interpretation, which blames the U.S. military's myopic bureaucracy and culture for its counterproductive focus on firepower and conventional warfare.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Vietnam
  • 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: Monica Duffy Toft
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the end of World War II, policymakers have shown a marked preference for settling civil wars through negotiated settlements. The core recommendation of this policy is to employ third-party resources—primarily in the form of economic incentives and good offices—to halt the violence and preserve the combatants. Scholars of civil wars, for their part, have devoted the bulk of their analyses to exploring how best to achieve negotiated settlements. In recent years, however, other scholars have introduced a counterargument. Supporters of this “give war a chance” option advocate allowing belligerents to continue fighting until one side achieves a military victory. A survey of the literature on civil war termination makes clear that, of the two groups, the negotiated settlements camp is far more pervasive and influential than the “give war a chance” camp.
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Valerie M. Hudson, Bradley Thayer
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Theoretical insights from evolutionary psychology and biology can help academics and policymakers better understand both deep and proximate causes of Islamic suicide terrorism. The life sciences can contribute explanations that probe the influence of the following forces on the phenomenon of Islamic suicide terrorism: high levels of gender differentiation, the prevalence of polygyny, and the obstruction of marriage markets delaying marriage for young adult men in the modern Middle East. The influence of these forces has been left virtually unexplored in the social sciences, despite their presumptive application in this case. Life science explanations should be integrated with more conventional social science explanations, which include international anarchy, U.S. hegemony and presence in the Middle East, and culturally molded discourse sanctioning suicide terrorism in the Islamic context. Such a consilient approach, melding the explanatory power of the social and life sciences, offers greater insight into the causal context of Islamic fundamentalist suicide terrorism, the motivation of suicide terrorists, and effective approaches to subvert this form of terrorism.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Deborah Welch Larson, Alexei Shevchenko
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, scholars and foreign policy analysts have debated the type of world order that the United States should strive to create—a hegemonic system, a multilateral institutional system, or a great power concert. Initially, a major issue was whether attempts to maintain U.S. primacy would stimulate counter - balancing from other states. But since the 2003 Iraq War, a new consideration has emerged—how to persuade other states to cooperate with U.S. global governance. States that do not oppose efforts by the United States to maintain stability may nonetheless decline to follow its leadership. This is a matter for concern because although the United States can act alone, it cannot succeed on such issues as controlling terrorism, curbing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), rebuilding failed states, or maintaining economic stability without help from other states.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq
  • Author: Gregory Koblentz
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Advances in science and technology, the rise of globalization, the emergence of new diseases, and the changing nature of conflict have increased the risks posed by naturally occurring and man-made biological threats. A growing acceptance of a broader definition of security since the end of the Cold War has facilitated the rise of biosecurity issues on the international security agenda. Developing strategies to counter biological threats is complicated by the lack of agreement on the definition of biosecurity, the diverse range of biological threats, and competing perspectives on the most pressing biological threats. A comprehensive definition of biosecurity that encompasses naturally occurring, accidental, and deliberate disease outbreaks can help to further research, analysis, and policymaking. Operationalizing this broad conception of biosecurity requires a taxonomy of biological threats based on a levels-of-analysis approach that identifies which types of actors are potential sources of biological threats and the groups most at risk from these threats. A biosecurity taxonomy can provide a common framework for the multidisciplinary research and analysis necessary to assess and manage these risks. It also has implications for how to prevent and respond to biological threats, as well as for the future of biosecurity research.
  • Topic: Cold War, Globalization
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When do leaders resort to deception to sell wars to their publics? Dan Reiter and Allan Stam have advanced a "selection effects" explanation for why democracies win the wars they initiate: leaders, because they must secure public consent first, "select" into those wars they expect to win handily. In some cases, however, the "selection effect" breaks down. In these cases, leaders, for realist reasons, are drawn toward wars where an easy victory is anything but assured. Leaders resort to deception in such cases to preempt what is sure to be a contentious debate over whether the use of force is justified by shifting blame for hostilities onto the adversary. The events surrounding the United States' entry into World War II is useful in assessing the plausibility of this argument. President Franklin Roosevelt welcomed U.S. entry into the war by the fall of 1941 and attempted to manufacture events accordingly. An important implication from this finding is that deception may sometimes be in the national interest.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States