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  • Author: Alastair Iain Johnston
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many scholars and policymakers in the United States accept the narrative that China is a revisionist state challenging the U.S.-dominated international liberal order. The narrative assumes that there is a singular liberal order and that it is obvious what constitutes a challenge to it. The concepts of order and challenge are, however, poorly operationalized. There are at least four plausible operationalizations of order, three of which are explicitly or implicitly embodied in the dominant narrative. These tend to assume, ahistorically, that U.S. interests and the content of the liberal order are almost identical. The fourth operationalization views order as an emergent property of the interaction of multiple state, substate, nonstate, and international actors. As a result, there are at least eight “issue-specific orders” (e.g., military, trade, information, and political development). Some of these China accepts; some it rejects; and some it is willing to live with. Given these multiple orders and varying levels of challenge, the narrative of a U.S.-dominated liberal international order being challenged by a revisionist China makes little conceptual or empirical sense. The findings point to the need to develop more generalizable ways of observing orders and compliance.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Hegemony, Military Affairs, Information Age, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Fiona S. Cunningham, M. Taylor Fravel
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Chinese views of nuclear escalation are key to assessing the potential for nuclear escalation in a crisis or armed conflict between the United States and China, but they have not been examined systematically. A review of original Chinese-language sources and interviews with members of China's strategic community suggest that China is skeptical that nuclear escalation could be controlled once nuclear weapons are used and, thus, leaders would be restrained from pursuing even limited use. These views are reflected in China's nuclear operational doctrine (which outlines plans for retaliatory strikes only and lacks any clear plans for limited nuclear use) and its force structure (which lacks tactical nuclear weapons). The long-standing decoupling of Chinese nuclear and conventional strategy, organizational biases within China's strategic community, and the availability of space, cyber, and conventional missile weapons as alternative sources of strategic leverage best explain Chinese views toward nuclear escalation. China's confidence that a U.S.-China conflict would not escalate to the use of nuclear weapons may hamper its ability to identify nuclear escalation risks in such a scenario. Meanwhile, U.S. scholars and policymakers emphasize the risk of inadvertent escalation in a conflict with China, but they are more confident than their Chinese counterparts that the use of nuclear weapons could remain limited. When combined, these contrasting views could create pressure for a U.S.-China conflict to escalate rapidly into an unlimited nuclear war.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth N. Saunders
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When and how do domestic politics influence a state's nuclear choices? Recent scholarship on nuclear security develops many domestic-political explanations for different nuclear decisions. These explanations are partly the result of two welcome trends: first, scholars have expanded the nuclear timeline, examining state behavior before and after nuclear proliferation; and second, scholars have moved beyond blunt distinctions between democracies and autocracies to more fine-grained understandings of domestic constraints. But without linkages between them, new domestic-political findings could be dismissed as a laundry list of factors that do not explain significant variation in nuclear decisions. This review essay assesses recent research on domestic politics and nuclear security, and develops a framework that illuminates when and how domestic-political mechanisms are likely to affect nuclear choices. In contrast to most previous domestic arguments, many of the newer domestic-political mechanisms posited in the literature are in some way top-down; that is, they show leaders deliberately maintaining or loosening control over nuclear choices. Two dimensions govern the extent and nature of domestic-political influence on nuclear choices: the degree of threat uncertainty and the costs and benefits to leaders of expanding the circle of domestic actors involved in a nuclear decision. The framework developed in this review essay helps make sense of several cases explored in the recent nuclear security literature. It also has implications for understanding when and how domestic-political arguments might diverge from the predictions of security-based analyses.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Domestic politics, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iran, North Korea
  • Author: M.E. Sarotte
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Newly available sources show how the 1993–95 debate over the best means of expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization unfolded inside the Clinton administration. This evidence comes from documents recently declassified by the Clinton Presidential Library, the Defense Department, and the State Department because of appeals by the author. As President Bill Clinton repeatedly remarked, the two key questions about enlargement were when and how. The sources make apparent that, during a critical decisionmaking period twenty-five years ago, supporters of a relatively swift conferral of full membership to a narrow range of countries outmaneuvered proponents of a slower, phased conferral of limited membership to a wide range of states. Pleas from Central and Eastern European leaders, missteps by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and victory by the pro-expansion Republican Party in the 1994 U.S. congressional election all helped advocates of full-membership enlargement to win. The documents also reveal the surprising impact of Ukrainian politics on this debate and the complex roles played by both Strobe Talbott, a U.S. ambassador and later deputy secretary of state, and Andrei Kozyrev, the Russian foreign minister. Finally, the sources suggest ways in which the debate's outcome remains significant for transatlantic and U.S.-Russian relations today.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security, Clinton Administration
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Henry Farrell, Abraham L. Newman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Liberals claim that globalization has led to fragmentation and decentralized networks of power relations. This does not explain how states increasingly “weaponize interdependence” by leveraging global networks of informational and financial exchange for strategic advantage. The theoretical literature on network topography shows how standard models predict that many networks grow asymmetrically so that some nodes are far more connected than others. This model nicely describes several key global economic networks, centering on the United States and a few other states. Highly asymmetric networks allow states with (1) effective jurisdiction over the central economic nodes and (2) appropriate domestic institutions and norms to weaponize these structural advantages for coercive ends. In particular, two mechanisms can be identified. First, states can employ the “panopticon effect” to gather strategically valuable information. Second, they can employ the “chokepoint effect” to deny network access to adversaries. Tests of the plausibility of these arguments across two extended case studies that provide variation both in the extent of U.S. jurisdiction and in the presence of domestic institutions—the SWIFT financial messaging system and the internet—confirm the framework's expectations. A better understanding of the policy implications of the use and potential overuse of these tools, as well as the response strategies of targeted states, will recast scholarly debates on the relationship between economic globalization and state coercion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, Information Age, Global Security, Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Mousseau
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Permanent world peace is beginning to emerge. States with developed market-oriented economies have foremost interests in the principle of self-determination of all states as the foundation for a robust global marketplace. War among these states, even making preparations for war, is not possible, because they are in a natural alliance to preserve and protect the global order. Among other states, weaker powers, fearing those that are stronger, tend to bandwagon with the relatively benign market-oriented powers. The result is a powerful liberal global hierarchy that is unwittingly, but systematically, buttressing states' embrace of market norms and values, moving the world toward perpetual peace. Analysis of voting preferences of members of the United Nations General Assembly from 1946 to 2010 corroborates the influence of the liberal global hierarchy: states with weak internal markets tend to disagree with the foreign policy preferences of the largest market power (i.e., the United States), but more so if they have stronger rather than weaker military and economic capabilities. Market-oriented states, in contrast, align with the market leader regardless of their capabilities. Barring some dark force that brings about the collapse of the global economy (such as climate change), the world is now in the endgame of a five-century-long trajectory toward permanent peace and prosperity.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, War, Hegemony, Peacekeeping, Global Security, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: John J. Mearsheimer
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The liberal international order, erected after the Cold War, was crumbling by 2019. It was flawed from the start and thus destined to fail. The spread of liberal democracy around the globe—essential for building that order—faced strong resistance because of nationalism, which emphasizes self-determination. Some targeted states also resisted U.S. efforts to promote liberal democracy for security-related reasons. Additionally, problems arose because a liberal order calls for states to delegate substantial decisionmaking authority to international institutions and to allow refugees and immigrants to move easily across borders. Modern nation-states privilege sovereignty and national identity, however, which guarantees trouble when institutions become powerful and borders porous. Furthermore, the hyperglobalization that is integral to the liberal order creates economic problems among the lower and middle classes within the liberal democracies, fueling a backlash against that order. Finally, the liberal order accelerated China's rise, which helped transform the system from unipolar to multipolar. A liberal international order is possible only in unipolarity. The new multipolar world will feature three realist orders: a thin international order that facilitates cooperation, and two bounded orders—one dominated by China, the other by the United States—poised for waging security competition between them.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Relations Theory, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Charles L. Glaser
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Well before President Donald Trump began rhetorically attacking U.S. allies and the open international trading system, policy analysts worried about challenges to the liberal international order (LIO). A more fundamental issue, however, has received little attention: the analytic value of framing U.S. security in terms of the LIO. Systematic examination shows that this framing creates far more confusion than insight. Even worse, the LIO framing could lead the United States to adopt overly competitive policies and unnecessarily resist change in the face of China's growing power. The “LIO concept”—the logics that proponents identify as underpinning the LIO—is focused inward, leaving it ill equipped to address interactions between members of the LIO and states that lie outside the LIO. In addition, the LIO concept suffers theoretical flaws that further undermine its explanatory value. The behavior that the LIO concept claims to explain—including cooperation under anarchy, effective Western balancing against the Soviet Union, the Cold War peace, and the lack of balancing against the United States following the Cold War—is better explained by other theories, most importantly, defensive realism. Analysis of U.S. international policy would be improved by dropping the LIO terminology entirely and reframing analysis in terms of grand strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Grand Strategy, International Relations Theory, Liberal Order, Trump
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Eliza Gheorghe
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The evolution of the nuclear market explains why there are only nine members of the nuclear club, not twenty-five or more, as some analysts predicted. In the absence of a supplier cartel that can regulate nuclear transfers, the more suppliers there are, the more intense their competition will be, as they vie for market share. This commercial rivalry makes it easier for nuclear technology to spread, because buyers can play suppliers off against each other. The ensuing transfers help countries either acquire nuclear weapons or become hedgers. The great powers (China, Russia, and the United States) seek to thwart proliferation by limiting transfers and putting safeguards on potentially dangerous nuclear technologies. Their success depends on two structural factors: the global distribution of power and the intensity of the security rivalry among them. Thwarters are most likely to stem proliferation when the system is unipolar and least likely when it is multipolar. In bipolarity, their prospects fall somewhere in between. In addition, the more intense the rivalry among the great powers in bipolarity and multipolarity, the less effective they will be at curbing proliferation. Given the potential for intense security rivalry among today's great powers, the shift from unipolarity to multipolarity does not portend well for checking proliferation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Marina Henke
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many countries serving in multilateral military coalitions are “paid” to do so, either in cash or in concessions relating to other international issues. An examination of hundreds of declassified archival sources as well as elite interviews relating to the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization operation in Afghanistan, the United Nations–African Union operation in Darfur, and the African Union operation in Somalia reveals that these payment practices follow a systematic pattern: pivotal states provide the means to cover such payments. These states reason that rewarding third parties to serve in multilateral coalitions holds important political benefits. Moreover, two distinct types of payment schemes exist: deployment subsidies and political side deals. Three types of states are most likely to receive such payments: (1) states that are inadequately resourced to deploy; (2) states that are perceived by the pivotal states as critical contributors to the coalition endeavor; and (3) opportunistic states that perceive a coalition deployment as an opportunity to negotiate a quid pro quo. These findings provide a novel perspective on what international burden sharing looks like in practice. Moreover, they raise important questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of such payment practices in multilateral military deployments.
  • Topic: Security, National Security, Regional Cooperation, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Kuwait, Vietnam, Korea, Somalia
  • Author: J.C. Sharman
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The making of the international system from c. 1500 reflected distinctively maritime dynamics, especially “gunboat diplomacy,” or the use of naval force for commercial gain. Comparisons between civilizations and across time show, first, that gunboat diplomacy was peculiarly European and, second, that it evolved through stages. For the majority of the modern era, violence was central to the commercial strategies of European state, private, and hybrid actors alike in the wider world. In contrast, large and small non-Western polities almost never sought to advance mercantile aims through naval coercion. European exceptionalism reflected a structural trade deficit, regional systemic dynamics favoring armed trade, and mercantilist beliefs. Changes in international norms later restricted the practice of gunboat diplomacy to states, as private navies became illegitimate. More generally, a maritime perspective suggests the need for a reappraisal of fundamental conceptual divisions and shows how the capital- and technology-intensive nature of naval war allowed relatively small European powers to be global players. It also explains how European expansion and the creation of the first global international system was built on dominance at sea centuries before Europeans’ general military superiority on land.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Navy, Law of the Sea, Maritime
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Deborah Jordan Brooks, Stephen G. Brooks, Brian D. Greenhill, Mark L. Haas
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The world is experiencing a period of unprecedented demographic change. For the first time in human history, marked disparities in age structures exist across the globe. Around 40 percent of the world's population lives in countries with significant numbers of elderly citizens. In contrast, the majority of the world's people live in developing countries with very large numbers of young people as a proportion of the total population. Yet, demographically, most of the world's states with young populations are aging, and many are doing so quickly. This first-of-its kind systematic theoretical and empirical examination of how these demographic transitions influence the likelihood of interstate conflict shows that countries with a large number of young people as a proportion of the total population are the most prone to international conflict, whereas states with the oldest populations are the most peaceful. Although societal aging is likely to serve as a force for enhanced stability in most, and perhaps all, regions of the world over the long term, the road to a “demographic peace” is likely to be bumpy in many parts of the world in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, International Security, Democracy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Andrea Gilli, Mauro Gilli
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Can countries easily imitate the United States' advanced weapon systems and thus erode its military-technological superiority? Scholarship in international relations theory generally assumes that rising states benefit from the “advantage of backwardness.” That is, by free riding on the research and technology of the most advanced countries, less developed states can allegedly close the military-technological gap with their rivals relatively easily and quickly. More recent works maintain that globalization, the emergence of dual-use components, and advances in communications have facilitated this process. This literature is built on shaky theoretical foundations, however, and its claims lack empirical support. In particular, it largely ignores one of the most important changes to have occurred in the realm of weapons development since the second industrial revolution: the exponential increase in the complexity of military technology. This increase in complexity has promoted a change in the system of production that has made the imitation and replication of the performance of state-of-the-art weapon systems harder—so much so as to offset the diffusing effects of globalization and advances in communications. An examination of the British-German naval rivalry (1890–1915) and China's efforts to imitate U.S. stealth fighters supports these findings.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Cybersecurity, Information Age
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, China, Germany
  • 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: 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: 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
  • 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
  • Author: Michael Beckley
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A large literature assumes that alliances entangle the United States in military conflicts that it might otherwise avoid. Since 1945, however, there have been only five cases of what might be characterized as U.S. entanglement—the 1954 and 1995–96 Taiwan Strait crises, the Vietnam War, and the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s—and even these cases are far from clear-cut. U.S. entanglement is rare because the United States, as a superpower with many allies, is capable of exploiting loopholes in alliance agreements, sidestepping commitments that seriously imperil U.S. interests, playing the demands of various allies off of each other, and using alliances to deter adversaries and allies from initiating or escalating conflicts.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Bosnia, Vietnam, Kosovo
  • Author: Charles L. Glaser
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite the intense focus on China's rise, the United States has yet to confront the most challenging question posed by this power shift: Should it pursue a strategy of limited geopolitical accommodation to avoid conflict? U.S. policy continues to focus almost entirely on preserving the geopolitical status quo in Northeast Asia. Given the shifting power balance in Asia, however, there are strong theoretical rationales for considering whether significant changes to the status quo could increase U.S. security. A possibility designed to provide the benefits of accommodation while reducing its risks is a grand bargain in which the United States ends its commitment to defend Taiwan and, in turn, China peacefully resolves its maritime disputes in the South China and East China Seas and officially accepts the United States' long-term military security role in East Asia. In broad terms, the United States has three other options—unilateral accommodation, a concert of Asian powers, and the current U.S. rebalance to Asia. Unilateral accommodation and the rebalance have advantages that make the choice a close call, but all things considered, a grand bargain is currently the United States' best bet.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Cooperation, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Gene Gerzhoy
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When does a nuclear-armed state's provision of security guarantees to a militarily threatened ally inhibit the ally's nuclear weapons ambitions? Although the established security model of nuclear proliferation posits that clients will prefer to depend on a patron's extended nuclear deterrent, this proposition overlooks how military threats and doubts about the patron's intentions encourage clients to seek nuclear weapons of their own. To resolve this indeterminacy in the security model's explanation of nuclear restraint, it is necessary to account for the patron's use of alliance coercion, a strategy consisting of conditional threats of military abandonment to obtain compliance with the patron's demands. This strategy succeeds when the client is militarily dependent on the patron and when the patron provides assurances that threats of abandonment are conditional on the client's nuclear choices. Historical evidence from West Germany's nuclear decisionmaking provides a test of this logic. Contrary to the common belief among nonproliferation scholars, German leaders persistently doubted the credibility and durability of U.S. security guarantees and sought to acquire an independent nuclear deterrent. Rather than preferring to renounce nuclear armament, Germany was compelled to do so by U.S. threats of military abandonment, contradicting the established logic of the security model and affirming the logic of alliance coercion.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, West Germany
  • Author: Galen Jackson
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How influential are domestic politics on U.S. foreign affairs? With regard to Middle East policy, how important a role do ethnic lobbies, Congress, and public opinion play in influencing U.S. strategy? Answering these questions requires the use of archival records and other primary documents, which provide an undistorted view of U.S. policymakers' motivations. The Ford administration's 1975 reassessment of its approach to Arab-Israeli statecraft offers an excellent case for the examination of these issues in light of this type of historical evidence. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided, in large part because of the looming 1976 presidential election, to avoid a confrontation with Israel in the spring and summer of 1975 by choosing to negotiate a second disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel rather than a comprehensive settlement. Nevertheless, domestic constraints on the White House's freedom of action were not insurmountable and, had they had no other option, Ford and Kissinger would have been willing to engage in a showdown with Israel over the Middle East conflict's most fundamental aspects. The administration's concern that a major clash with Israel might stoke an outbreak of anti-Semitism in the United States likely contributed to its decision to back down.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, International Affairs, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Max Paul Friedman, Tom Long
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, scholars of international relations debated how to best characterize the rising tide of global opposition. The concept of “soft balancing” emerged as an influential, though contested, explanation of a new phenomenon in a unipolar world: states seeking to constrain the ability of the United States to deploy military force by using multinational organizations, international law, and coalition building. Soft balancing can also be observed in regional unipolar systems. Multinational archival research reveals how Argentina, Mexico, and other Latin American countries responded to expanding U.S. power and military assertiveness in the early twentieth century through coordinated diplomatic maneuvering that provides a strong example of soft balancing. Examination of this earlier case makes an empirical contribution to the emerging soft-balancing literature and suggests that soft balancing need not lead to hard balancing or open conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Imperialism, Post Colonialism, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Francis Gavin
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The United States has gone to extraordinary lengths since the beginning of the nuclear age to inhibit—that is, to slow, halt, and reverse—the spread of nuclear weapons and, when unsuccessful, to mitigate the consequences. To accomplish this end, the United States has developed and implemented a wide range of tools, applied in a variety of combinations. These “strategies of inhibition” employ different policies rarely seen as connected to one another, from treaties and norms to alliances and security guarantees, to sanctions and preventive military action. The United States has applied these measures to friend and foe alike, often regardless of political orientation, economic system, or alliance status, to secure protection from nuclear attack and maintain freedom of action. Collectively, these linked strategies of inhibition have been an independent and driving feature of U.S. national security policy for more than seven decades, to an extent rarely documented or fully understood. The strategies of inhibition make sense of puzzles that neither containment nor openness strategies can explain, while providing critical insights into post–World War II history, theory, the causes of nuclear proliferation, and debates over the past, present, and future trajectory of U.S. grand strategy.
  • Topic: National Security, Nuclear Weapons, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Soviet Union, Germany
  • Author: Mark S. Bell
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What happens to the foreign policies of states when they acquire nuclear weapons? Despite its importance, this question has not been answered satisfactorily. Nuclear weapons can facilitate six conceptually distinct foreign policy behaviors: aggression, expansion, independence, bolstering, steadfastness, and compromise. This typology of foreign policy behaviors enables scholars to move beyond simple claims of “nuclear emboldenment,” and allows for more nuanced examination of the ways in which nuclear weapons affect the foreign policies of current and future nuclear states. The typology also sheds light on Great Britain's response to nuclear acquisition. Britain used nuclear weapons to engage in greater levels of steadfastness in responding to challenges, bolstering junior allies, and demonstrating independence from the United States, but it did not engage in greater levels of aggression, expansion, or compromise. The typology and the British case demonstrate the value of distinguishing among different effects of nuclear weapons acquisition, have implications for scholars' and policymakers' understanding of the role of nuclear weapons in international politics, and suggest avenues for future research.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ron E. Hassner, Jason Wittenberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Fortified boundaries are asymmetrical, physical barriers placed along borders. These boundaries are more formidable in structure than conventional boundary lines, but less robust than militarized boundaries. Their goal is to impose costs on infiltrators and in so doing deter or impede infiltration. A novel dataset of all such boundaries worldwide shows that states are constructing these barriers at an accelerating rate. More than half of barrier builders are Muslim-majority states, and so are the vast majority of targets. A multivariate analysis demonstrates that, contrary to conventional wisdom, states that construct such barriers do not tend to suffer disproportionately from terrorism, nor are they apt to be involved in a significant number of territorial disputes. Instead, differences in state wealth and migration rates are the best predictors of barrier construction. Qualitative case studies suggest that the most effective fortified boundaries are found where the initiating state controls the territory beyond a boundary that blocks the only access route into the state.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Global Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union, Mexico
  • Author: Joseph M. Parent, Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Does neorealism offer a convincing account of great power balancing behavior? Many scholars argue that it does not. This conclusion rests on a misunderstanding of neorealist theory and an erroneous reading of the evidence. Properly specified, neorealism holds that great powers place an overriding emphasis on the need for self-help. This means that they rely relentlessly both on arming and on imitating the successful military practices of their peers to ensure their security. At the same time, they rarely resort to alliances and treat them with skepticism. There is abundant historical evidence to support these claims. Since 1816, great powers have routinely achieved an effective balance in military capabilities with their relevant competitors and promptly copied the major military innovations of the period. Case studies show that these outcomes are the product of states' efforts to ensure security against increasingly capable rivals. Meanwhile, the diplomatic record yields almost no examples of firm peacetime balancing coalitions over the past 200 years. When alliances have formed, great powers have generally doubted the reliability of their allies and of their opponents' allies. Thus neorealism provides a solid foundation for explaining great power balancing behavior.
  • Topic: International Relations, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Prussia, Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Bessner, Nicolas Guilhot
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Neorealism is one of the most influential theories of international relations, and its first theorist, Kenneth Waltz, a giant of the discipline. But why did Waltz move from a rather traditional form of classical realist political theory in the 1950s to neorealism in the 1970s? A possible answer is that Waltz's Theory of International Politics was his attempt to reconceive classical realism in a liberal form. Classical realism paid a great deal of attention to decisionmaking and statesmanship, and concomitantly asserted a nostalgic, anti-liberal political ideology. Neorealism, by contrast, dismissed the issue of foreign policymaking and decisionmaking. This shift reflected Waltz's desire to reconcile his acceptance of classical realism's tenets with his political commitment to liberalism. To do so, Waltz incorporated cybernetics and systems theory into Theory of International Politics, which allowed him to develop a theory of international relations no longer burdened with the problem of decisionmaking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, War, Grand Strategy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Or Rabinowitz, Nicholas L. Miller
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many accounts suggest that the United States did little to prevent Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa from developing nuclear weapons. These accounts are flawed, however. The United States did attempt to stop all three countries from acquiring the bomb and, when those efforts failed, to halt additional proliferation measures such as further testing and weaponization.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Israel, South Africa
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
  • 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
  • Author: Jack S. Levy, William R. Thompson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War and the emergence of the “unipolar moment” have generated considerable debate about how to explain the absence of a great-power balancing coalition against the United States. The proposition that near-hegemonic concentrations of power in the system nearly always trigger a counterbalancing coalition of the other great powers has long been regarded as an “iron law” by balance of power theorists, who often invoke the examples of Spain under Philip II, France under Louis XIV and then under Napoleon, and Germany under Wilhelm II and then under Adolf Hitler. That the United States, which is generally regarded as the “greatest superpower ever,” has not provoked such a balancing coalition is widely regarded as a puzzle for balance of power theory. Fareed Zakaria asks, “Why is no one ganging up against the United States?” G. John Ikenberry asks why, despite the unprecedented concentration of U.S. power, “other great powers have not yet responded in a way anticipated by balance-of-power theory.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Byman, Jennifer Lind
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the early 1990s, many observers predicted that Kim Il-sung's regime would not survive the cessation of Russian aid and the resulting downward spiral of North Korea's economy. Speculation about regime collapse intensified when the less charismatic Kim Jong-il succeeded his father in 1994, and again after the 1996–97 famine that killed upwards of a million North Koreans. Gen. Gary Luck, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, declared in 1997 that North Korea would “dis - integrate.” That same year, a U.S. government and outside team of experts predicted regime collapse within five years. Another decade brought more prognostications: in 2000 Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet warned that “sudden, radical, and possibly dangerous change remains a real possibility in North Korea, and that change could come at any time.” Three years later, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said that North Korea was “teetering on the edge of economic collapse.” Contemporary accounts warn that the regime is threatened by the growing flow of information into the country or by popular outcry touched off by the government's 2009 bungling of currency reform.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea
  • Author: Stephen Chaudoin, Helen V. Milner, Dustin H. Tingley
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Recent research, including an article by Charles Kupchan and Peter Trubowitz in this journal, has argued that the United States' long-standing foreign policy orientation of liberal internationalism has been in serious decline because of rising domestic partisan divisions. A reanalysis of the theoretical logic driving these arguments and the empirical evidence used to support them suggests a different conclusion. Extant evidence on congressional roll call voting and public opinion surveys, which is often used to support the claim that liberal internationalism has declined, as well as new evidence about partisan divisions in Congress using policy gridlock and cosponsorship data from other studies of American politics do not demonstrate the decline in bipartisanship in foreign policy that conventional wisdom suggests. The data also do not show evidence of a Vietnam War or a post-Cold War effect on domestic partisan divisions on foreign policy. Contrary to the claims of recent literature, the data show that growing domestic political divisions over foreign policy have not made liberal internationalism impossible. It persists as a possible grand strategy for the United States in part because of globalization pressures. For Academic Citation: Stephen Chaudoin, Helen V. Milner, and Dustin H. Tingley. "The Center Still Holds: Liberal Internationalism Survives." International Security 35, no. 1 (Summer 2010): 75-94.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles A. Kupchan, Peter L. Trubowitz
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the past two decades, political polarization has shaken the domestic foundations of U.S. grand strategy, sorely testing bipartisan support for liberal internationalism. Stephen Chaudoin, Helen Milner, and Dustin Tingley take issue with this interpretation, contending that liberal internationalism in the United States is alive and well. Their arguments, however, do not stand up to careful scrutiny. Their analysis of congressional voting and public opinion fails to demonstrate the persistence of bipartisanship on foreign policy. Indeed, the partisan gap that widened during George W. Bush's administration has continued during the presidency of Barack Obama, confirming that a structural change has taken place in the domestic bases of U.S. foreign policy. President Obama now faces the unenviable challenge of conducting U.S. statecraft during an era when consensus will be as elusive at home as it is globally. For Academic Citation: Charles A. Kupchan and Peter L. Trubowitz. "The Illusion of Liberal Internationalism's Revival." International Security 35, no. 1 (Summer 2010): 95-109.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mary Elise Sarotte
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Washington and Bonn pursued a shared strategy of perpetuating U.S. preeminence in European security after the end of the Cold War. As multilingual evidence shows, they did so primarily by shielding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from potential competitors during an era of dramatic change in Europe. In particular, the United States and West Germany made skillful use in 1990 of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's political weakness and his willingness to prioritize his country's financial woes over security concerns. Washington and Bonn decided "to bribe the Soviets out," as then Deputy National Security Adviser Robert Gates phrased it, and to move NATO eastward. The goal was to establish NATO as the main post-Cold War security institution before alternative structures could arise and potentially diminish U.S. influence. Admirers of a muscular U.S. foreign policy and of NATO will view this strategy as sound; critics will note that it alienated Russia and made NATO's later expansion possible. Either way, this finding challenges the scholarly view that the United States sought to integrate its former superpower enemy into postconflict structures after the end of the Cold War. For Academic Citation: Mary Elise Sarotte. "Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence: The 1990 Deals to "Bribe the Soviets Out" and Move NATO In." International Security 35, no. 1 (Summer 2010): 110-137.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Miroslav Nincic
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Positive inducements as a strategy for dealing with regimes that challenge core norms of international behavior and the national interests of the United States ("renegade regimes") contain both promises and pitfalls. Such inducements, which include policy concessions and economic favors, can serve two main purposes: (1) arranging a beneficial quid pro quo with the other side, and (2) catalyzing, via positive engagement, a restructuring of interests and preferences within the other side's politico-economic system (such that quid pro quos become less and less necessary). The conditions for progress toward either purpose can vary, as can the requirements for sufficient and credible concessions on both sides and the obstacles in the way of such concessions. For renegade regimes, a primary consideration involves the domestic purposes that internationally objectionable behavior can serve. An examination of the cases of North Korea, Iran, and Libya finds that negative pressures have been relatively ineffective, suggesting that more attention should be given to the potential for positive inducements to produce better outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, North Korea, Libya
  • Author: Michael S. Gerson
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A persistent theme in U.S. nuclear weapons policy is that the United States has always retained the option to use nuclear weapons first in conflict. The threat of nuclear first use played a key role in NATO's military strategy throughout the Cold War, and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, successive U.S. administrations have retained—implicitly or explicitly—the first-use option. Yet, in a speech in Prague on April 5, 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to “put an end to Cold War thinking” and to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.” This commitment, coupled with President Obama's embrace of the vision of a nuclear weapons–free world, appeared to foreshadow important changes in U.S. nuclear policy— especially declaratory policy—in the administration's much-anticipated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: M. Taylor Fravel, Evan S. Medeiros
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On October 16, 1964, China exploded its first nuclear weapon at the Lop Nor test facility in Xinjiang. China's subsequent development of its nuclear strategy and force structure presents a puzzle for scholars and policymakers alike. Following its initial development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities, China built a small, unsophisticated, and, arguably, highly vulnerable nu - clear force. In addition, for more than three decades, the pace of China's nuclear modernization efforts was slow and gradual despite the continued vulnerability of its force. In relative terms, China's nuclear forces were far smaller and less diverse than those of the United States or the Soviet Union both during and after the Cold War. At the same time, China did not develop detailed operational doctrine for overcoming its relative inferiority, let alone for the effective use of its arsenal. Such a nuclear posture called into question the credibility of China's ability to deter states with much larger arsenals, more refined doctrines, and more powerful conventional military forces. In retrospect, the degree of vulnerability that China was willing to accept after developing nuclear weapons is striking.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Yasuhiro Izumikawa
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the late 1990s, Japan has sent increasing numbers of its military forces overseas. It has also assumed a more active military role in the U.S.-Japan alliance. Neither conventional constructivist nor realist approaches in international relations theory can adequately explain these changes or, more generally, changes in Japan's security policy since the end of World War II. Instead, Japan's postwar security policy has been driven by the country's powerful antimilitarism, which reflects the following normative and realist factors: pacifism, antitraditionalism, and fear of entrapment. An understanding of the influence of these three factors makes it possible to explain both Japan's past reluctance to play a military role overseas and its increasing activism over the last decade. Four case studies-the revision of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty in 1960, the anti-Vietnam War period, increases in U.S.-Japan military cooperation during détente, and actions taken during the administration of Junichiro Koizumi to enhance Japan's security profile-illustrate the role of antimilitarism in Japan's security policy. Only through a theoretical approach based on analytical eclecticism-a research strategy that considers factors from different paradigms-can scholars explain specific puzzles in international politics.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Vietnam
  • Author: Phillip C. Saunders, Michael A. Glosny
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Michael Glosny and Phillip Saunders respond to Robert Ross's Fall 2009 International Security article, "China's Naval Nationalism: Sources, Prospects, and the U.S. Response."
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: David A. Lake
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Iraq war has been one of the most significant events in world politics since the end of the Cold War. One of the first preventive wars in history, it cost trillions of dollars, resulted in more than 4,500 U.S. and coalition casualties (to date), caused enormous suffering in Iraq, and may have spurred greater anti-Americanism in the Middle East even while reducing potential threats to the United States and its allies. Yet, despite its profound importance, the causes of the war have received little sustained analysis from scholars of international relations. Al-though there have been many descriptions of the lead-up to the war, the fighting, and the occupation, these largely journalistic accounts explain how but not why the war occurred.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: James McAllister
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Scholars have long argued about why the United States pursued a conventional military strategy during the Vietnam War rather than one based on counterinsurgency principles. A recent article in this journal by Jonathan Caverley presents a bold challenge to the historiography of the Vietnam War. Rejecting the standard historical focus on the organizational culture and strategic perspective of Gen. William Westmoreland and the U.S. Army, Caverley argues that the roots of the United States' strategy in Vietnam can be traced to the direct influence of civilian leaders and the strong constraint of public opinion. Caverley's main arguments are a welcome challenge to the established wisdom, but they are not supported by the historical evidence.
  • Topic: Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan D. Caverley
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Cost distribution theory suggests that the costs to the median voter in a democracy of fighting an insurgency with firepower are relatively low compared to a more labor-intensive approach. Therefore, this voter will favor a capital intensive counterinsurgency campaign despite the resulting diminished prospects of victory. Primary and secondary sources show that President Lyndon Johnson and his civilian aides were very much aware that, although they considered a main force-focused and firepower-intensive strategy to be largely ineffective against the insurgency in South Vietnam, it was politically more popular in the United States.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Evan Resnick
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite the ubiquity of the term "alliance of convenience," the dynamics of these especially tenuous alliances have not been systematically explored by scholars or policymakers. An alliance of convenience is the initiation of security cooperation between ideological and geopolitical adversaries in response to an overarching third-party threat; they are conceptually different from other types of alliances. Neorealist, two-level games, and neoclassical realist theories all seek to explain the outcome of intra-alliance bargaining between the United States and allies of convenience since 1945.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Phillip C. Saunders, Scott L. Kastner
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: After eight years of cross-strait tensions, the decisive 2008 Taiwan election victories by the Kuomintang (KMT, or Nationalist Party) and KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou provide a major opportunity to improve relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party welcomed Ma's victory as reducing the threat of Taiwan independence and creating an atmosphere for resumed dialogue and closer ties. Recognizing that final resolution of Taiwan's status is currently impossible, leaders on both sides have raised the possibility of negotiating a peace agreement that might stabilize the cross-strait situation. If successful, an agreement might greatly reduce the chance of a crisis that could draw the United States and China into a military conflict. Such an agreement could also provide a positive example that might apply to other cases of long-term political or ethnic conflict. This article examines what a China-Taiwan peace agreement might look like and whether it could be effective in managing tensions and reducing the risk of war.
  • Topic: War, Water
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Jeremy Pressman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The administration of President George W. Bush was deeply involved in the Middle East, but its efforts did not advance U.S. national security. In the realms of counterterrorism, democracy promotion, and nonconventional proliferation, the Bush administration failed to achieve its objectives. Although the United States did not suffer a second direct attack after September 11, 2001, the terrorism situation worsened as many other countries came under attack and a new generation of terrorists trained in Iraq. Large regional powers such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia did not become more democratic, with no new leaders subject to popular mandate. The model used in Iraq of democratization by military force is risky, costly, and not replicable. Bush's policy exacerbated the problem of nuclear proliferation, expending tremendous resources on a nonexistent program in Iraq while bolstering Iran's geopolitical position. The administration failed because it relied too heavily on military force and too little on diplomacy, disregarded empiricism, and did not address long-standing policy contradictions. The case of the Bush administration makes clear that material power does not automatically translate into international influence.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Elizabeth A. Stanley
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Throughout history, shifts in governing coalitions have critically affected war termination. For example, the execution of the Athenian democratic ruler Cleophon and the ascendancy of the pro-Spartan oligarchs in B.C. 404 led to Athens' surrender to Sparta and ended the twenty-seven-year Second Peloponnesian War. Similarly, the death of Russian Empress Elizabeth in January 1762 led her Prussophile successor, Peter III, to immediately recall Russian armies that were occupying Berlin and conclude the Treaty of Saint Petersburg by May—ending the fighting between Russia and Prussia in the Seven Years' War. During World War I, riots in Germany ushered in a new government that then negotiated the final war armistice, as Kaiser Wilhelm II fied to Holland. Likewise, during World War II, France and Italy surrendered shortly after changes in their governing coalitions, in 1940 and 1943, respectively. Most recently, on his first full day in office, U.S. President Barack Obama summoned senior officials to the White House to begin fulfilling his campaign promise to pull combat forces out of the war in Iraq.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, France, Germany, Korea, Prussia
  • Author: Bruce M. Sugden
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Should the United States deploy conventional ballistic missiles (CBMs) in support of the prompt global strike (PGS) mission? Most important, do the political-military benefits outweigh the risks of CBM deployment? The United States, if it works to mitigate the risk of misperception and an inadvertent nuclear response, should deploy near-term CBMs in support of the PGS mission. The prompt response of CBMs would likely be sufficient to defeat many time-sensitive, soft targets, provided actionable intelligence was available. Near-term CBMs, those options capable of being deployed prior to 2013, would have the required attributes to defeat their targets: payload flexibility, throw weight, and accuracy. More specifically, the U.S. Navy's Conventional Trident Modification is a cost-effective, near-term PGS option that would mitigate the concerns of CBM opponents. The large-scale use of midterm and long-term CBMs against mobile targets and hard and deeply buried targets, however, will require a wider range of technologies that have yet to mature. Thus, the United States should continue investing in research and development for a broad portfolio of PGS options to cover the emerging target set.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher Layne
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the next two decades, international politics will be shaped by whether the international system remains unipolar or is transformed into a multipolar system. Can the United States sustain its primacy? Or will the emergence of new great powers reorder the distribution of power in the international system? If U.S. power is waning, will power transition dynamics result in security competitions and an increased possibility of war? In particular, what are the implications of China's rapid ascent to great power status? If the United States is unable to preserve its hegemonic role, what will happen to the security and economic frameworks that it took the lead in creating after the end of World War II and that have provided the foundation for the international order ever since? In a world no longer defined by U.S. hegemony, what would become of globalization and the open international economic system that the United established after World War II and expanded after the Cold War ended? This essay reviews five publications that grapple with these questions: Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy; Parag Khanna, The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order; Kishore Mahbubani, The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East; National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World; and Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Daniel W. Drezner
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: China has challenged the United States on multiple policy fronts since the beginning of 2009. On the security dimension, Chinese ships have engaged in multiple skirmishes with U.S. surveillance vessels in an effort to hinder American efforts to collect naval intelligence. China has also pressed the United States on the economic policy front. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told reporters that he was concerned about China's investments in the United States: “We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” The head of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, followed up with a white paper suggesting a shift away from the dollar as the world's reserve currency. China's government has issued repeated calls for a greater voice in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. To bolster this call, Beijing helped to organize a summit of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) to better articulate this message.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Government, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: Robert Ross
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Recent developments in Chinese politics and defense policy indicate that China will soon embark on an ambitious maritime policy that will include construction of a power-projection navy centered on an aircraft carrier. But just as nationalism and the pursuit of status encouraged past land powers to seek great power maritime capabilities, widespread nationalism, growing social instability, and the leadership's concern for its political legitimacy drive China's naval ambition. China's maritime power, however, will be limited by the constraints experienced by all land powers: enduring challenges to Chinese territorial security and a corresponding commitment to a large ground force capability will constrain China's naval capabilities and its potential challenge to U.S. maritime security. Nonetheless, China's naval nationalism will challenge U.S.-China cooperation. It will likely elicit increased U.S. naval spending and deployments, as well as politicization of China policy in the United States, challenging the United States to develop policy to manage U.S.-China naval competition to allow for continued political cooperation.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In 2001 approximately 100 Central Intelligence Agency officers, 350 U.S. Special Forces soldiers, and 15,000 Afghans overthrew the Taliban regime in less than three months while suffering only a dozen U.S. fatalities. They were supported by as many as 100 U.S. combat sorties per day. Some individuals involved in the operation argued that it revitalized the American way of war. This initial success, however, transitioned into an insurgency, as the Taliban and other insurgent groups began a sustained effort to overthrow the Afghan government. The fighting, which began in 2002, had developed into a full-blown insurgency by 2006. During this period, the number of insurgent-initiated attacks rose by 400 percent, and the number of deaths from these attacks by more than 800 percent. The increase in violence was particularly acute between 2005 and 2006, when the number of suicide attacks quintupled from 27 to 139; remotely detonated bombings more than doubled from 783 to 1,677; and armed attacks nearly tripled from 1,558 to 4,542. Insurgent-initiated attacks rose another 27 percent between 2006 and 2007. The result was a lack of security for Afghans and foreigners.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Thomas H. Johnson, M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: By 1932, British troops had been waging war of varying intensity with a group of intractable tribes along and beyond the northwestern frontier of India for nearly a century. That year, in summarizing a typical skirmish, one British veteran noted laconically, “Probably no sign till the burst of fire, and then the swift rush with knives, the stripping of the dead, and the unhurried mutilation of the infidels.” It was a savage, cruel, and peculiar kind of mountain warfare, frequently driven by religious zealotry on the tribal side, and it was singularly unforgiving of tactical error, momentary inattention, or cultural ignorance. It still is. The Pakistan- Afghanistan border region has experienced turbulence for centuries. Today a portion of it constitutes a significant threat to U.S. national security interests. The unique underlying factors that create this threat are little understood by most policymakers in Washington.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Asia