CIAO DATE: 12/02
Spring 2001 (Volume 25 Issue 4)
Posing Problems without Catching Up by Thomas J. Christensen
Thomas Christensen of MIT reflects on whether China will present a security threat to the United States and its East Asian allies in the next several decades. Christensen argues that simple realist notions about the importance of power in international politics have limited utility in assessing this threat. China need not catch up to the United States 'by an overall measure of national military power or technology' to pose a significant challenge to U.S. interests in the region. Were China to acquire certain weapons capabilities and adopt coercive tactics, Beijing elites might conclude that a cross-strait conflict involving Taiwan, and even the United States, could serve China's interests.
Why NATO Enlargement Does Not Spread Democracy by Dan Reiter
Supporters of NATO enlargement contend that it will promote the spread of democracy, which in turn will lead to greater stability in Europe. Dan Reiter of Emory University disagrees. Reiter maintains that the historical record - during and after the Cold War - fails to establish any correlation between NATO membership and the expansion of democracy. He also suggests that the costs and risks of NATO enlargement greatly exceed the potential benefits. Adding new members will only exacerbate tensions with Russia and diminish the likelihood of cooperation on a host of pressing security issues, including arms control and peacekeeping.
Democracy Assistance and Political Transition in Russia by Sarah E. Mendelson
Sarah Mendelson of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy explores the success of Western nongovernmental organizations in fostering democratic institutional development in Russia. Mendelson's assessment is decidedly mixed. Although Western NGOs have contributed to the establishment of local-level democratic institutions and election practices, these achievements have been limited by nondemocratic practices and human rights abuses. Mendelson concludes with some suggestions for how local activists and Western NGOs can promote democratic activity at the national level.
Let Us Now Praise Great Men by Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack
Daniel Byman of RAND and Kenneth Pollack of the National Defense University challenge scholars to reconsider the role of individuals in international relations. Asserting that the time has come 'to rescue men and women, as individuals, from the oblivion to which political scientists have consigned them,' Byman and Pollack use five case studies to debunk standard explanations for why individuals do not 'matter' in international affairs.
Problems of Preparedness by Richard A. Falkenrath
Richard Falkenrath, on leave from Harvard University, discusses the evolution of the United States' domestic preparedness program since the mid-1990s. The program, designed to prepare the country for a domestic terrorist attack with chemical or biological weapons, suffers from a variety of difficulties. Falkenrath traces one of the program's largest problems - a lack of integration - to its origins as a series of multiple, loosely related programs that developed through 'a fragmented,often chaotic policymaking and budgetary process,' rather than a coherent national strategy. He concludes with several recommendations for addressing this situation.
Correspondence: The Dynamics of Internal Conflict by Anna Simmons and John Mueller
Correspondence: Responding to Chemical and Biological Threats by Susan B. Martin and Scott D. Sagan