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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