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  • Author: Nuno P. Monteiro, Alexandre Debs
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What causes nuclear proliferation? What role do security threats play in driving states to acquire nuclear weapons? Intuitively, security is the most important factor driving nuclear acquisition. Yet existing security theories of proliferation, while accounting for why some states with grave security concerns have developed nuclear weapons, are unable to explain why others have not. Today only nine states have the bomb, a number much lower than the pessimistic predictions made by early security-based arguments on the causes of proliferation. Clearly, the view that "security is the only necessary and sufficient cause of nuclear proliferation" is not borne out by the history of the nuclear age. This limitation of existing security theories has exposed them to criticism on several fronts. Initially, a burgeoning scholarship emerged focusing on the nonsecurity "sources of the political demand for nuclear weapons." More recently, "supply-side" arguments on proliferation view states' demand for nuclear weapons (for security or other reasons) as largely irrelevant, claiming instead that the odds of nuclear acquisition depend on the availability of international nuclear assistance.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Adam P. Liff
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the post–Cold War period, scholars have considered the Asia Pacific to be ripe for military competition and conflict. Developments over the past decade have deepened these expectations. Across the region, rising military spending and efforts of various states to bolster their military capabilities appear to have created an increasingly volatile climate, along with potentially vicious cycles of mutual arming and rearming. In this context, claims that China's rapid economic growth and surging military spending are fomenting destabilizing arms races and security dilemmas are widespread. Such claims make for catchy headlines, yet they are rarely subject to rigorous empirical tests. Whether patterns of military competition in the Asia Pacific are in fact attributable to a security dilemma–based logic has important implications for international relations theory and foreign policy. The answer has direct consequences for how leaders can maximize the likelihood that peace and stability will prevail in this economically and strategically vital region. A systematic empirical test derived from influential theoretical scholarship on the security dilemma concept assesses the drivers of bilateral and multilateral frictions and military competition under way in the Asia Pacific. Security dilemma–driven competition appears to be an important contributor, yet the outcome is not structurally determined. Although this military competition could grow significantly in the near future, there are a number of available measures that could help to ameliorate or manage some of its worst aspects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jon R. Lindsay, Lucas Kello
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Jon R. Lindsay responds to Lucas Kello's fall 2013 International Security article, "The Meaning of the Cyber Revolution: Perils to Theory and Statecraft."
  • Topic: Security
  • Author: Jon R. Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The ubiquity and interconnectedness of computers in global commerce, civil society, and military affairs create crosscutting challenges for policy and conceptual confusion for theory. The challenges and confusion in cybersecurity are particularly acute in the case of China, which has one of the world's fastest growing internet economies and one of its most active cyber operations programs. In 2013 U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon singled out Chinese cyber intrusions as “not solely a national security concern or a concern of the U.S. government,” but also a major problem for firms suffering from “sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies . . . emanating from China on an unprecedented scale.” One U.S. congressman alleged that China has “established cyber war military units and laced the U.S. infrastructure with logic bombs.” He suggested that “America is under attack by digital bombs.” The discourse on China and cybersecurity routinely conflates issues as different as political censorship, unfair competition, assaults on infrastructure, and internet governance, even as all loom large for practical cyber policy. Although they involve similar information technologies, there is little reason to expect different political economic problems to obey the same strategic logic, nor should one necessarily expect China to enjoy relative advantage in all spheres.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Can great powers reach confident conclusions about the intentions of their peers? The answer to this question has important implications for U.S. national security policy. According to one popular view, the United States and China are destined to compete unless they can figure out each other's designs. A recent Brookings Institution report warns that although “Beijing and Washington seek to build a constructive partnership for the long run,” they may be headed for trouble given their “mutual distrust of [the other's] long-term intentions.” Similarly, foreign policy experts James Steinberg and Michael O'Hanlon argue that “trust in both capitals...remains scarce, and the possibility of an accidental or even intentional conflict between the United States and China seems to be growing.” Reversing this logic, many analysts believe that U.S.-China relations may improve if the two sides clarify their intentions. Thus the Pentagon's latest strategic guidance document declares that if China wants to “avoid causing friction” in East Asia, then its military growth must be “accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions.” Meanwhile China scholars Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell recommend that even as the United States builds up its capabilities and alliances, it should “reassure Beijing that these moves are intended to create a balance of common interests rather than to threaten China.”
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Aisha Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many intractable civil wars take place in countries with large Muslim populations. In these protracted conflicts, Islamists are often just one of many actors fighting in a complex landscape of ethnic, tribal, and political violence. Yet, certain Islamist groups compete exceptionally well in these conflicts. Why do Islamists sometimes gain power out of civil war stalemates? Although much of the existing research points to either ethnic or religious motivations, I argue that there are also hard economic reasons behind the rise of Islamist power. In this article, I offer a micro-political economy model of Islamist success in civil war that highlights the role of an important, but often-overlooked, class: the local business community.
  • Topic: Security, Islam
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Todd H. Hall, Jia Ian Chong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A century has passed since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion a chain of events that would eventually convulse Europe in war. Possibly no conflict has been the focus of more scholarly attention. The questions of how and why European states came to abandon peaceful coexistence for four years of armed hostilities—ending tens of millions of lives and several imperial dynasties—have captivated historians and international relations scholars alike.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Etel Solingen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The sources of World War I are numerous and widely studied. Some scholars have argued that they are underdetermining individually but overdetermining collectively. The purpose of this article is not to fuel the battle among theories claiming complete explanatory power, but rather to examine some lessons for contemporary international relations. Much of the recent commentary on the war's centenary evokes similarities between Germany in 1914 and China in 2014, and between globalization then and now. There are crucial differences on both accounts, however.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: China, Germany
  • Author: Jack Snyder
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One reason why Europe went to war in 1914 is that all of the continental great powers judged it a favorable moment for a fight, and all were pessimistic about postponing the fight until later. On its face, this explanation constitutes a paradox. Still, each power had a superficially plausible reason for thinking this was true.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tanisha M. Fazel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Several recent books argue that war is on the decline. In Winning the War on War, for example, Joshua Goldstein lauds the recent successes of the peacemaking community in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast. In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker writes that not only war but violence in general has become much less common, as the civilizing forces of literacy and modern government have tempered our baser instincts and allowed our "better angels" to prevail.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Jerry Mark Long, Alex S. WIlner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Al-Qaida has established a metanarrative that enables it to recruit militants and supporters. The United States and its allies can challenge its ability to do so by delegitimizing the ideological motivations that inform that metanarrative.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Liam Anderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Critics of ethnofederalism— a political system in which federal subunits reflect ethnic groups' territorial distribution—argue that it facilitates secession and state collapse. An examination of post-1945 ethnofederal states, however, shows that ethnofederalism has succeeded more often than not.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: David Ekbladh
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Security studies is commonly thought to have emerged as a response to the Cold War, but its roots reach much further back. Historian Edward Mead Earle and his colleagues first addressed the problem of security to cope with the unraveling of the international order in the 1930s. Earle was instrumental in paving the way for security studies as it exists today, laying the foundations for an important discipline that seeks to combine history, economics, and political science to build bridges between the government and academia and use scientific inquiry to inform policy and guide grand strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: 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: M.E. Sarotte
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: For the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), erasing the memory of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square massacre remains a full-time job. The party aggressively monitors and restricts media and internet commentary about the event. As Sinologist Jean-Philippe Béja has put it, during the last two decades it has not been possible "even so much as to mention the conjoined Chinese characters for 6 and 4" in web searches, so dissident postings refer instead to the imaginary date of May 35. Party censors make it "inconceivable for scholars to access Chinese archival sources" on Tiananmen, according to historian Chen Jian, and do not permit schoolchildren to study the topic; 1989 remains a "'forbidden zone' in the press, scholarship, and classroom teaching." The party still detains some of those who took part in the protest and does not allow others to leave the country. And every June 4, the CCP seeks to prevent any form of remembrance with detentions and a show of force by the pervasive Chinese security apparatus. The result, according to expert Perry Link, is that in to-day's People's Republic of China (PRC), "Most young people have barely heard about the events of 1989."
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Davide Fiammenghi
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Realist scholars have long debated the question of how much power states need to feel secure. Offensive realists claim that states should constantly seek to increase their power. Defensive realists argue that accumulating too much power can be self-defeating. Proponents of hegemonic stability theory contend that the accumulation of capabilities in one state can exert a stabilizing effect on the system. The three schools describe different points along the power continuum. When a state is weak, accumulating power increases its security. This is approximately the situation described by offensive realists. A state that continues to accumulate capabilities will eventually triggers a balancing reaction that puts its security at risk. This scenario accords with defensive realist assumptions. Finally, when the state becomes too powerful to balance, its opponents bandwagon with it, and the state's security begins to increase again. This is the situation described by hegemonic stability theory. These three stages delineate a modified parabolic relationship between power and security. As a state moves along the power continuum, its security increases up to a point, then decreases, and finally increases again. This modified parabolic relationship allows scholars to synthesize previous realist theories into a single framework.
  • Topic: Security
  • Author: Monica Duffy Toft, Laurie Nathan
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Laurie Nathan responds to Monica Duffy Toft's spring 2010 International Security article, "Ending Civil Wars: A Case for Rebel Victory?"
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Author: Andrew B. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why did India merely flirt with nuclear weapons in the 1960s and 1970s only to emerge as a nuclear power in the 1990s? Although a variety of factors informed India's prolonged restraint and subsequent breakthrough, new evidence indicates that India's “nuclear odyssey” can be understood as a function of Indian leaders' ability to secure their country through nonmilitary means, particularly implicit nuclear umbrellas and international institutions. In the 1960s and 1970s, India was relatively successful in this regard as it sought and received implicit support from the superpowers against China. This success, in turn, made acquiring the bomb a less pressing question. At the end of the Cold War, however, nonmilitary measures ceased to be viable for India. In the late 1980s, waning Soviet support and the failure of Rajiv Gandhi's diplomatic initiatives led to the creation of India's de facto nuclear arsenal. In the 1990s, India developed a more overt capability, not simply because the pro-bomb Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, but also because its external backing had vanished and because its efforts to improve its security through diplomacy proved unsuccessful.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: China, India, Soviet Union
  • Author: C. Christine Fair, Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Islamist militancy in Pakistan has long stood atop the international security agenda, yet there is almost no systematic evidence about why individual Pakistanis support Islamist militant organizations. An analysis of data from a nationally representative survey of urban Pakistanis refutes four influential conventional wisdoms about why Pakistanis support Islamic militancy. First, there is no clear relationship between poverty and support for militancy. If anything, support for militant organizations is increasing in terms of both subjective economic well-being and community economic performance. Second, personal religiosity and support for sharia law are poor predictors of support for Islamist militant organizations. Third, support for political goals espoused by legal Islamist parties is a weak indicator of support for militant organizations. Fourth, those who support core democratic principles or have faith in Pakistan's democratic process are not less supportive of militancy. Taken together, these results suggest that commonly prescribed solutions to Islamist militancy-economic development, democratization, and the like-may be irrelevant at best and might even be counterproductive. For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914. For Academic Citation: Jacob N. Shapiro and C. Christine Fair. "Understanding Support for Islamist Militancy in Pakistan." International Security 34, no. 3 (Winter 2009/10): 79-118.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: 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